N C R   S T O R I E S


Hooligans take over people’s stir
* Trains held up for hrs * MNC factories stoned * Vandalism in colleges
Parmindar Singh

Noida, January 17
The law and order has been the first casualty of the dissolution of the Gautam Budh Nagar district. The events in Noida took a turn for the worse today with a rail roko stir being launched. Two important trains – the Delhi-Howrah-Rajdhani and the Delhi-Lucknow-Shatabdi Express — were stopped near Dadri at 7 am today. Till 2 p.m. the trains were not allowed to leave. The Railway officials said that it would take them another hour to clear the tracks, which had been obstructed at more than one place..

The trains were stopped by the activists of Dehat Morcha, Shiv Sena and the BJP: they had placed huge wooden logs on the track. The Union Minister, Mr Ashok Pradhan, also sat on the railway track for some time in the forenoon.

Eleven rioters were arrested in Tughalpur while about a dozen persons sustained injuries in a lathi charge at Surajpur; the police also fired in the air. Truckloads of garbage and earth were offloaded on the highway and the main arteries. At some points, trucks, tempos and other vehicles were parked across the road.

Chaos seemed to reign as rowdy elements took over the command in various towns and villages of Gautam Budh Nagar, targeting multinational factories, shops and educational institutions. The government vehicles were also damaged.

The girls of a hostel had to take refuge in a canteen, when rowdies with sticks and brickbats entered the hostel; they even managed to enter the rooms of some of the inmates. Incidents of vandalism were witnessed in engineering colleges and educational institutions. Apart from window panes, the equipment in these institutions, especially computers, were smashed.

The DPS, Greater Noida, was the first target of the rowdies. The Ishan Institute, Ramesh Institute of Education and the I.I.C Engineering College were also attacked.

The mob hurled stones at the factory gates of Honda Seal, LG, Escorts Yamaha, Samsung etc. Later, the rioters forcibly placed a padlock on their main gates.

Many companies have decided to stop production from today. On seeing the Circle Officer of Kasna, Bulandshahar, people turned violent and torched the station officer’s jeep. The vehicles of Bulandshahr deputy collector and tehsildar’s were stoned.

Traffic was jammed at a number of places and dozens of private and personal vehicles were damaged. On Friday, road blocks and traffic jams had continued till late in the evening.

The Ghaziabad Administration and the SSP have washed their hands of any responsibility. These areas are under six police stations, which stand merged with Bulandshahr district now. So, it is the responsibility of Bulandshahr administration, they contend. An ADM, Dr.Shiv Prasad, claimed things will return to normal in a day or two.

All schools and colleges have been closed in the district till January 21.


Statehood is Sheila’s recipe for solving housing woes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today demanded that the Union Government get the Bill pertaining to statehood for Delhi cleared by Parliament urgently and also clear the pending Co-operative Bill passed by the Delhi Legislative Assembly as soon as possible.

Addressing a felicitation function organised by the Delhi State Co-operative Union, Dikshit said it was essential for the duly-elected government of NCT of Delhi to fulfil hopes and aspirations of the people of the Capital.

She said that in the absence of control over land, planning and DDA the government’s hands were tied and it could not do anything whatsoever to solve the ever-increasing problem of housing, especially for the not so well-off sections of the society.

Linking statehood with the pending Co-operative Bill, the chief minister said these two steps would ensure that a comprehensive plan for rehabilitation of slums and low cost self-finance housing could be put in place.

She said co-operatives could provide a long-term solution to the problem of housing, but without statehood and consequent control over land such plans could not take shape. She emphasised that the Government of NCT of Delhi had a comprehensive and well thought of plan for vertical construction, aimed at accommodating maximum number of people without using much of land and it was only possible if statehood was brought about.

Reiterating her government’s commitment to the cause of co-operative movement, Dikshit requested that the pending Co-operative Bill be cleared urgently by the Union Government. She also gave away certificates of acknowledgement to various co-operative organisations for their work in co-operative sector.

On this occasion, newly elected MLAs having links with the Co-operative Movement – Bijender Singh and Vijay Lochav – were also felicitated.


BJP insists its agitation is peaceful
Our Correspondent

Noida, January 17
In the last decade, Noida has carved a niche for itself, within the country and outside, as a centre of industrial production, a model of growth and an ultra modern township.

The district had been contributing Rs.1,300 crore to the State exchequer annually and had excelled in many areas: auto industries, software technology, telecommunications etc. The town’s excellent ambience included a world class golf course.

This was underscored by Union Minister of State for Telecom, Mr Ashok Pradhan, yesterday. He bemoaned the fact that mischievous and criminal elements had taken advantage of the ongoing people’s agitation. (Incidents of violence and arson have taken place in Dankaur, Javer, Banghel etc.)

Mr. Pradhan clarified that BJP’s campaign was peaceful and none of its cadre was indulging in hooliganism and vandalism. “That is why I have told the police to deal with such incidents with an iron hand. All mischief-makers should be arrested and sent to jail. Nobody should be allowed to damage public property “.

BJP MLA Nawab Singh Nagar is in the vanguard of the agitation. He plans to raise the issue in the UP Assembly, for which he has already tendered a written request to the Speaker. Mr Pradhan said he was trying to get an appointment with Prime Minister, so that a delegation of respectable people from all walks of life could personally acquaint the latter with the situation.

The Union minister alleged that Samajwadi Party, Choudhary Ajit Singh and the Congress were all involved in the conspiracy to scrap Gautam Budh Nagar district. The purpose was to punish the public, because they had not elected any candidate belonging to these parties in the last election. The real estate prices in Noida and Greater Noida were the highest in the world – higher than that in Manhattan, he claimed. In the last three days, land prices have plummeted by Rs.10000 per sq. meter. A few multinationals were reportedly considering stopping their production.

While other chief ministers were trying to woo foreign investments, the UP Chief Minister was trying to create conditions to the contrary, he added. Mr Pradhan asserted: “Come what may, we shall succeed in retrieving our district which has been unjustly scrapped.


Alwar’s NCR link chugs along at 25 kmph
Cecil Victor

New Delhi, January 17
Even before planners decide to bring Alwar in Rajasthan within the ambit of the National Capital Region, there has been a connectivity retained by the oldest steam engine in the world – the Fairy Queen — which makes a two-day round trip to the game sanctuary in Sariska during the tourist season.

On January 24, fog permitting, the 149-year-old steam engine (attested by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the oldest working locomotive) will resume an old-world mode of communication, refurbished and with a more attractive tariff to fill its 60-passenger chair car. Chugging along at 25 kmph, it will cover the 143-km distance in six hours with ten-minute stopovers at Garhi Harsaru, Pataudi Road, Rewari, Ajarkha and Khairthal for refills of coal and water. Dragged along will be two cream-coloured vestibule coaches swaying to the 
clangour of metal wheels on steel rails that gives to steam-power railway travel an aura of angst and ennui that is fast being lost in the headlong rush to urban connectivity.

The first coach will be, hopefully, full of passengers in 60 reclining chairs. The 
second will be a pantry car for onboard refreshments. An air-conditioner and braking equipment are the latest concessions to modernity, the latter replacing the handbrake that the driver had to yank when the Fairy Queen made the 121-km run from Howrah to Ranigunj from 1855 to 1908 as the flagship of the East Indian Railway (EIR).
For 88 years after it was retired it remained a museum piece till the Railways decided to refit it and convert it into a tourism showpiece between Delhi and the wildlife resort in Sariska near Alwar in 1997.

The Fairy Queen will make the trip every second and fourth Saturday from January 2004 to February 2005. It will leave Delhi Cantonment railway station on Saturday morning and reach Alwar in six hours.

Passengers will be taken by air-conditioned coaches to Hotel Tiger Den in Sariska, where a campfire treat and cultural jamboree will be laid out. In the morning the visitors will visit the tiger reserve before returning on Sunday evening.

The round trip package is now priced at Rs 7,500 for adults and Rs 3,750 for children between five and 12 years of age, because of the fall in the number of tourists caused by international terrorism.

But this year tourism is picking up, going by the number of those who visited Jammu and Kashmir to enjoy the snowfall this winter.

If and when Alwar is included among the satellite towns that make up the National Capital Region, the Fairy Queen will remain a reminder of the more sedate pace of yesteryears.


‘Speed’ finance racket busted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
With the arrest of four persons, the Crime Branch sleuths claim to have busted a racket in loans, secured from banks and financial institutions by furnishing fake documents and bank statements. The sleuths have recovered computers, scanners, printers, mobile phones, fake driving licences, PAN cards, press identity cards and fake bank statements along with other incriminating documents.

Based on a tip-off that some people were involved in facilitating bank loans by arranging fake documents in the Khajuri Khas area in East Delhi, the sleuths sent a decoy customer and raided a premises in the Surya Kiran building in Geeta Colony. One person, Anil Kumar Vig, a resident of Geeta Colony, was arrested.

Based on the information provided by Anil, the sleuths arrested three of his associates — Hakesh Verma, a resident of Gandhi Nagar, Salim Ahmed, a resident of Khajuri Khas, and Ashok Sharma alias Sonu, resident of Muradabad..

Under interrogation, the accused revealed that they were in the racket for some time and had arranged loans worth Rs 30-40 lakh from the ICICI bank and American Express among others for at least 55 people.

The police also seized other applications and completed forms, which would have matured in the coming weeks. The amount involved was worth more than a crore.

They accused had put up posters and banners like ‘Speed Finance’ and `Loan-Hi-Loan,’ in the nearby areas. Besides, the accused were providing Tata and Reliance mobile phones on the basis of fake documents.

The main accused, Anil, had a printing press. Another accused, Harkesh, was working for Tata Indicom services and had some acquaintances, who helped them obtain phones with the help of fake documents.


Joshi wants IIM courses to be affordable
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
In a meeting with teachers from various universities, the Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr. M M Joshi, today said that management courses offered by government-run institutions should be affordable.

Dr. Joshi said the government would soon take a decision on the U R Rao committee recommendations for a drastic cut in the fee charged by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

“We are considering the report and will take a decision soon”, Dr. Joshi told reporters, after a delegation of teachers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University called on him to express support to the proposed fee cut.

Refusing to specify whether the fees would be brought down to the level of about Rs 6,000 a year, as recommended by the committee, Dr Joshi, however, said the present level of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh was on the higher side.

“Government-run institutions have a social responsibility and accountability. The courses should be affordable’’ to the students, he said.

Prof. Uttam Pati from JNU submitted a memorandum signed by about 700 students welcoming the move for reducing the fees for management courses in IIMs and IITs. The other members of the delegation included Dr Pradip Tandon, Prof Ehsanul Haq and Prof Sudesh Nagia (all from JNU) and Mr Manmohan Sharma from DU.

Dr Joshi said there was need to improve the quality of education at IITs for post-graduate and doctoral courses. The quality did not measure up to international standards, he regretted. The minister also refuted allegations that the government was interfering with the autonomy of educational institutions. He said these institutions enjoyed full freedom in the matters of curriculum, appointments and admissions.


SDMs directed to ensure completion of development works by March-end
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 17
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwan Singh, has directed the Sub-Divisional Magistrates of Sonepat, Gohana and Ganaur to monitor the on-going development works under the “Sarkar Aap Ke Dwar” programme and ensure their completion by March 31.

Addressing a monthly meeting of the district officials here today, he asked them to submit a detailed report about each and every development work so that it could be sent to the higher authorities. He also asked them to submit the estimates of such development works to the government for approval so that these could be executed on time. He also warned that stern action would be taken against those officials who failed to execute these works on time.

Referring to the small savings schemes, the Deputy Commissioner disclosed that a target of Rs 130 crore has been fixed for Sonepat district, which is to be completed by the end of the current financial year. He said that a sum of Rs 42.92 crore had been collected by the end of December 2003 for these schemes in this district. He asked the officials to speed up the work for the collection of funds under these schemes so that the target could be completed during the stipulated period.

The Deputy Commissioner took a serious note of the non-recovery of loans by the officials of the cooperative banks and asked the bank managers to take immediate and effective steps for recovering the amount of the loans and sought help from the district officials in this regard. He directed the officials of the Agriculture Department to ensure the supply of fertilisers, seeds and pesticides to the farmers and take steps to prevent the sale of sub-standard seeds, fertilisers and pesticides. He also directed them to collect samples of these articles and initiate action against the shopkeepers whose samples are found adulterated.

He also directed the officials of the Horticulture Department to mobilise the farmers to take to cultivation of herbal plants in lands.

The Deputy Commissioner directed the officials of the Sonepat Municipal Council and municipal committees of Ganaur, Gohana and Kharkhauda to take immediate and effective steps for the recovery of the house tax and other taxes and improve their financial structures.

In a significant move, he also directed them to recover the arrears of the house tax outstanding against various government departments. He also asked the heads of the departments to pay the amount of the arrears pending against their departments to the civic bodies concerned. He also directed them to launch special campaigns for removal of encroachments on municipal and public lands in their respective areas.

Reviewing the working of the Public Distribution System (PDS), the Deputy Commissioner directed the officials of the Food and Supplies Department to ensure proper distribution of rationed commodities to the BPL families and take stern action against the owners of the fair price shops found indulging in malpractices and irregularities.

They were asked to continue the inspection of petrol pumps and the LPG agencies and redress the grievances of the customers.


Police asked to pull up their socks for elections
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, January 17
In view of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, the Financial Commissioner, Principal Secretary and Administrative Secretary of Bhiwani district, Mr H C Disodia, has directed the police administration to keep strict vigil on the anti-social elements to maintain law and order in the district.

Addressing a meeting of the district officials to review the law and order at local PWD rest house here today, Mr Disodia asked the police department to increase ‘nakabandi’ on the entry points and night patrolling besides deploying police personnel outside women college and schools.

Stressing the need for complete coordination between the police and the civil administration, he directed the traffic department to contain vehicles plying without valid permit.

He was informed that a particular place had been selected to park the permit-holding vehicles whereas people were being educated about traffic rules through seminars and video cassettes.

Mr Disodia directed the revenue officials to ensure the recovery of outstandings by March 31 as per the guidelines of the Chief Minister.

He ordered to allot the surplus land at the earliest when he was told that there was 125-acre land in surplus in the district and the entire revenue record should be computerised by next month.

He directed the consolidation officer to complete the work of consolidation at village Prem Nagar, Kakroli Hukmi, Kakroli Sardara, Tiwala and Kitlana by March 31 besides ‘girdawari’, ‘intkal’ and ‘jamaband’ tasks.

He said the municipal council should take effective steps to recover house tax, firetax, development fee etc.

He asked the block development and panchayat officers to remove encroachments from the ‘shamlati’ and the official lands.

He said special attention should be paid to complete the ongoing development projects in the district such as repair of chaupals, construction of community latrines and streets.

He said the public health department and the marketing board officials should ensure the repair of all roads within stipulated period.

Taking a serious note of the complaints of power theft, he directed the officers concerned to take effective steps to stop power theft and remove kundi connection so as line loss could be reduced.

He said that the shifting of dairies should be done immediately besides opening a model market in the town.


State-of-the-art Bank of Rajasthan inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Rewari, January 17
The Haryana Finance Minister, Prof Sampat Singh, inaugurated the computerized online branch of the Bank of Rajasthan at Rewari yesterday. This is the ninth branch of the bank in Haryana.

The other branches of the Bank of Rajasthan are located at Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal, Rohtak, Bal Samand , Sirsa, Faridabad and Gurgaon.

Lauding the good work done by the bank, Prof Sampat Singh said that it had carved a niche for itself among the various banks functioning in the country. He called upon the bank to promote sports in the state by adopting sportsmen.

He assured the bank authorities that the state government would provide all possible assistance in the smooth conduct of their banking business in Haryana. On the occasion, the chairman of the bank, Mr P.K. Tayal, said that the bank deposit had touched Rs 5,900 crore, while advances made had crossed Rs 2,030 crore. He also expressed the hope that the bank would achieve its target of opening 500 branches throughout the country by the end of 2004.

The Managing Director of the bank, Dr K.M. Bhattacharya, said that as many as 150 branches of the bank, including the Rewari branch, were equipped with the online facility. He also said that ATM, electronic fund transfer and other modernized banking facilities would be provided to the customers at the Rewari branch.

Military Polyclinic Established

A military polyclinic was established here under the Ex-servicemen’s Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS). The clinic, which has been temporarily housed in the old vacant office building of the Fisheries Department lying in the close vicinity of the Sainik Rest House here, formally started functioning here from January 15. Col. A. K. Chopra, Regional Director of ECHS, Col. K.S. Gehlawat (sub-area Ambala), Col. M.S. Ahluwalia (Station Headquarters), Dr. Col. V.K. Harit and several others were present here on this occasion.

Lt. Commander D. K. Yadav has been made officer-incharge of the polyclinic and has a medical officer, a nursing assistant and seven other medical staff. The polyclinic will provide holistic medical facilities to the Defence pensioners of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. Presently, there were about 80,000 ex-servicemen in South Haryana-comprising of the three districts of Rewari, Gurgaon and Mahendergarh.

Mr Randhir Singh Kapriwas, president of the ‘Jan Jagriti Manch’, a prominent voluntary organization of South Haryana, has provided a vehicle to render ambulance services for the polyclinic for the time being.

Memorandum submitted

A delegation of the Rewari unit of the ‘Haryana School Lecturers Association’ led by its district president, Mr. Anil Kumar Yadav, met the Haryana Finance Minister, Prof. Sampat Singh, here yesterday and submitted a memorandum for providing the status of a gazetted official to school lecturers.

They pointed out that like several other categories of employees of the Education Department, school lecturers too were entitled to the pay-scale of Rs 7500-12,000. They also pointed out that school lecturers, who had completed ten and twenty years service, were deprived of the benefits of time-bound senior pay-scale. They requested the Finance Minister to use his influence to get the above demands implemented expeditiously.

Representation sought

The Haryana unit of ‘Rashtriya Khatik Samaj Kalyan Parishad’ has demanded representation in the forthcoming elections. The state president of the parishad, Mr Mahesh Kumar Khinchhi, claimed that there were over ten lakh members of the ‘Khatik Samaj’ in Haryana.


Soy Food Festival: The zing thing for healthy lifestyle
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
Dilli Haat, the food and craft bazaar, situated in the heart of Delhi will host a unique Soy Food Festival for four days. The bazaar will hold the festival, promoting health among its customers on the occasion of the Republic Day. Starting January 23, the Soy Food Festival will see the participation of corporate houses engaged in the processing, manufacturing and marketing of soy products.

Sponsored by the American Soybean Association, this event is a step towards making the masses aware of the benefits of soy and how it can be incorporated in various recipes adding that extra bit for a healthy lifestyle.

Co-sponsored by Ruchi Industries, Adani Wilmar, VSMD Enterprises, Olive Tree, and Radio Mirchi, the event will be inaugurated on January 23 by Michael Riedel Agricultural Attache from the US Embassy.

Other companies like Godrej Foods, Soy Vita, Marvick, Pro soy and Healthcare will be putting their products on display.

The event will see some special lip-smacking recipes made out of soy, which are highly nutritious and mouth-watering. Customers will get to experience the taste of soy in a variety of cuisine from Indian to Chinese, Continental, Italian and South Indian.

Silken Tofu with the Italian dressing for the public will also be made available. Not only this, snacks such as momos, tikka, cookies and patties will be prepared and sold.

The event will also bring into light the various soy products available in the market. What’s more! People could get some amazing soy recipes. Also present during the seminar will be Dr Kavitha Reddy, a nutritionist with a Master’s in Food

and Nutrition and a doctorate in Food Science who would be guiding people with their queries on health.

Speaking on the initiation of this programme was Dr Suresh Itapu, Technical Director, American Soybean Association. “We earlier believed that for soy to be accepted amongst the consumers, mass awareness on its nutritional benefits had to be created. However, today we feel that customers are not only well informed about soy but want to know more. Information on how soy is to be incorporated in our diets and in what quantity is what is lacking,”

He added, “We felt that showcasing soy in the right way to the right audience would make a significant impact and that is why the idea of holding this programme in Dilli Haat germinated. I hope through this educative and informative drive, we are able to get the message across.”

The festival will help educate and sensitise the people on the dietary needs of the body and how soy with superior quality of protein can serve as a good source of complete protein. Besides, soy protein provides a number of cures for diseases such as cancer, heart-related problems, osteoporosis, postmenopausal symptoms, diabetes and others.

On January 26, the festival would culminate with a cultural programme having soy as the theme.


Accountability, rule of law and society’s health

Joy, temperance and repose, slam the door on the doctor’s nose, wrote Longfellow a long time ago. In the ancient times, the sun and fresh air were considered good enough for ensuring health. But with the advent of civilization and urbanization, health services have become a vital ingredient in the health of any society.

The medical profession has been very much in the news, particularly in Kerala. Protests have been heard elsewhere against members of the profession, alleging unethical practices. Perhaps, as an answer, the Consumer Protection Act, passed by Parliament, was extended to the medical profession to mitigate some of the evils indulged in by unscrupulous elements.

In the West, the Hippocratic oath stands modified in view of some of the developments in modern medicine. Still, it is a fact that moral considerations alone had not prevented professionals from seeking to benefit from human misery and suffering. However, it is a moot question whether the imposition of the Consumer Act had made doctors more caring and compassionate. It has certainly led to adoption of multiplicity of tests and diagnostic procedures by doctors, scared at the prospect of litigation. The common man ends up paying more. He dreads the prospect of falling sick because of the skyrocketing costs of medical treatment. But for lawyers, the Act has come as a windfall.

Dr T Muralidharan, working with a district hospital in Kerala, has come out with a book, `Doctors and Consumer cases’, in which he raises several issues in the aftermath of a series of incidents involving doctors, patients and their relatives, particularly in Kerala, in recent times. He feels that the attempt to project the patient as consumer and the doctor as a trader under the Act had only harmed both sides.

Human rights activists and cultural bodies have often called for accountability and transparency in the case of doctors.

He points out that no one has ever said that a judge should be accountable or that there should be transparency in legal matters. Nobody considers the teacher accountable when students fail in examinations. When a student comes out with flying colours, it is attributed to the abilities of the teacher. When he fails, it is the fault of the student.

He makes a point when he says that doctors are not always the custodians of health, nor the terminators of illness. They do not defy nature, nor deny God.

Many a time they are confused as to why a certain thing should happen or a certain other thing should not. Such quaint situations in the practice of a doctor are legion. He also admits that doctors have the same weaknesses and temptations to which other members of the society are subjected.

The extension of the doctrine of ``crime and punishment’’ to doctor-patient relationship, which should be one of mutual trust, will not benefit either party. Setting them on a confrontationist path is no answer to problems.

In his 131-page book, published by Ratna Publications, Palakkad, he lists numerous cases in which hundreds of hospitals were ransacked, doctors beaten up like street dogs, valuable property looted, cars burnt and doctors’ wives and children subjected to mob fury. No one intervened. Very often the media chose to side with the perpetrators of the crime.

A sample of the risk a doctor is exposed to in a district hospital: a man walks into the casualty ward, alleging that he was bitten by a cobra and seeking treatment.

Unfortunately, there is no anti-snake venom injection in the hospital and he is advised by the duty doctor to rush to any other hospital.

Furious over the reply, he picks a live cobra from a bag he is carrying and flings it at the doctor. However, the snake crawls away, unwilling to get involved in a brawl between two
humans! .

The list also includes the dramatic incident of a lady doctor, who was mauled like a viper and garlanded with a string of chappals by members of an irate mob. The allegation was that she had taken a bribe from a patient who had come to the hospital for treatment. The shameful episode was telecast to audiences throughout the country, as if justifying the ``justice’’ meted out crudely by an irate mob. Parasurama, the embodiment of eternal vendetta, who, according to legends, created Kerala by ``flinging his axe into the sea, ‘’ cut many other roots—of sanctity, sanity and perseverance! Thus was born the land of ``Lotus Eaters,’’ where people ``destroy work, denounce work and debar work.’’

In ‘God’s own country’ no one less than God ``can tread its roads, travel in its buses, mingle with its people, understand sham logic or live in incarceration imposed by bandhs and hartals—the list is long.’’ Kerala is the most literate state and the most enlightened. And education has become the most profitable business in the state. But in higher education its record is poor; few qualify in civil services and other competitive examinations. As for literacy, most people only read periodicals portraying calf-love, black magic, detective stories and gossip. A telling commentary on the state’s literacy but not far from the mark.

The bane of development in any walk of life, according to the author, is trade unionism — the red variety. Militant trade unionism has already destroyed the agrarian sector. There is a dearth of workers in this sector, while 45 lakh remain unemployed.

The disinclination of people to work on farms (manual labour) has resulted in making fallow vast stretches of fertile land.

Pressure groups have succeeded in securing reservations and concessions from the government at the expense of the state exchequer. They include legislators, journalists, film artistes, the unemployed, tailors, barbers and artisans.

The doctor may not have made a fool-proof case for abandoning the Consumer Act; but he has raised profound issues on accountability in public life, professional conduct and the rule of law. The book questions several half-truths and encourages deeper thoughts into Kerala’s psyche.

MPK Kutty


Decomposed body of kidnapped taxi driver identified
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 17
The police found the decomposed body of a taxi driver, identified as Subhash of Rohat village (Sonepat), from a field at Fazalkpur village under the Baghpat Banoli (Uttar Pradesh) police station.

The police have registered a case of murder against the two unidentified youths who had hired the car, which was driven by the victim on December 5,2003.

According to a report, the duo had come to Subhash and hired his car on the pretext of distributing the marriage invitation cards at Budhana village in UP. Before leaving for Budhana village, the duo had told Subhash that they would like to visit Murthal for picking up a relative.

After the halt at Murthal, they reportedly drove away the car towards UP where they allegedly killed the driver with some sharp-edged weapons and threw the body in a sugarcane field there.

Later, the owner of the field informed the police about the body. The UP police arrived at Sonepat and succeeded in identifying the body with the help of the parents of the victim.

Officials absent from ‘Janata Darbar’

Apart from the officials of the UHBVN and the Food and Supplies Department, none of the officials of other departments failed to turn up at the ‘open darbar’ held at the

PWD (B and R), Rai, about 13 km from here yesterday. According to a report, even the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Rai, Mr Hari Singh Sheoran, who was to preside over this ‘Janata Darbar’, was conspicuous by his absence.

The people who had assembled to air their grievances returned disappointed after waiting for the officials. The complainants said that this was the second time that the officials had failed to turn up at the ‘darbar’. They demanded action against the absentee officials.

Train services disrupted

Train services on the Delhi-Ambala-Kalka (DUK) section continued to be disrupted today on account of dense fog engulfing the region.

According to a report, almost all the long-distance mail, express and superfast trains were running behind

Schedule. The Jammu Mail bound for Delhi was behind schedule by nine hours, whereas the Delhi-bound

Shan-e-Punjab was running behind schedule by 11 hours.

The Saryu-Yamuna Express and the Shaheed Express, running between Darbhanga (Bihar) and Amritsar were running late indefinitely. Thousands of passengers at Sonepat and other railway stations were stranded.

The late running of the long-distance and suburban trains on this section has caused resentment among the passengers. Meanwhile, the dense fog reduced visibility, affecting vehicular traffic on the National Highway No. 1 and other state highways. Almost all the main bazars and shopping centres looked deserted till 10 am.

HVP rally

The Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) supremo, Mr Bansi Lal, is expected to address a rally at the Subhash Stadium here tomorrow. According to a report, the rally is being organised to showcase its strength in this district.

Mr Surinder Singh, the secretary- general of the party and other leaders visited the villages in the Sonepat Parliamentary constituency to garner support for the rally.


Limestone deposits located for proposed SA cement plant
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 17
In a major achievement, the National Council For Cement and Building Materials (NCB), an enterprise of the Union Ministry of Industry and Commerce based here, has been able to establish prima facie suitability of the limestone deposits for the proposed one million tonne per annum (MTPA) capacity cement project in the North-West province of South Africa.

The company’s experts had been working on the project for the last two years along with their South African associates to identify the required deposit in the region.

The deposits have been located in the south of Mafikeng, a town in the North-West Province. As a follow-up to the initiatives, the NCB had taken up the job of consultancy through its authorised representative, Redsun Enterprises at Capetown, for establishing the cement project.

After conducting a series of indepth studies and discussions with the authorities there, the NCB was able to find the suitability of the limestone deposit for the proposed cement plant. Although the Council of Geoscience (COG) of South

Africa had also conducted its studies and later okayed the prospects, the groundwork was mainly done by us, claimed a company spokesperson.

The NCB’s technical team led by Mr S.K Gotecha, senior geologist, had visited the area and made technical presentations for taking up the exploration work there with help of the Redsun people.


Ajit Pathak elected to IPRA board
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
Dr Ajit Pathak, Senior Manager (Corporate Communications), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., has been elected to the Board of International Public Relations Association(IPRA) for a two-year term. IPRA is the international association for PR professionals with 986 members from 96 countries, and has introduced a global view of public relations to the business world.

Another PR practitioner inducted to the IPRA Board from India is Ms Prema Sagar, principal associate, Genesis PR and founding president of the Public Relations Consultants Association.

IPRA is the first professional organisation recognised by UN as “Official NGO”, and has a leading role in emerging markets for development of PR. IPRA initiated one of the first international awards programme.

Dr Pathak, the first to get Doctorate in PR in India, is presently national president of Public Relations Society of India (PRSI). Dr Pathak has over the two decades contributed to the field of mass communication as a cartoonist, feature writer, radio/tv newsreader and a Public relations practitioner. Presently working as senior manager (corporate communications) at the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.,—India’s only Fortune 500 company, he is involved in advertising, publicity and image building.


Free medical camp in Gohana Govt College
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 17
A one-day free medical check-up camp was organised on the premises of the Government College at Gohana town, 35 km from here yesterday.

According to a report, a team of specialists comprising Dr Manju, Dr Madhu, and Dr Om Parkash Dudeja, examined all the students of the college and treated them by giving free medicines to them.

The camp was organised by the Principal, Mr Desh Deepak, in coordination with the lecturers: Ms Saroj Malik, Miss Sangeeta Sapra, Ms Nirja Sangwan, Mr D.C. Sapah and Ms Madhusheweta, incharge of the Health Cell of the college.

This was the first-ever camp organised in the college and the students took keen interest in it.

Eight hurt in group clash

At least eight persons, including two women and a student were injured in the group clash that took place in Sonepat and nearby villages yesterday.

According to a report, the injured include a student Malik Vashisht of Khewra village and two women, Ms

Beermati and Rajbala of Qumashpur village. The injured were immediately hospitalised and stated to be out of danger. The police are investigating the cases.

Youth hospitalised after taking medicine

A youth Narinder was admitted to the Civil Hospital here last evening after he consumed a medicine whose date had expired. He took the medicine for pain in his house in Rajiv Nagar of the city.

According to a report, his condition is stated to be serious.

CR college students’ demo

Resentment prevails among the students of the C R State College of Engineering, Murthal, against the state government’s decision to hand over the charge of this college to a society.

According to a report, the irate students are holding gate meetings and demonstrations daily.


Make transport the centrepiece of development: L-G
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
Asserting that transport should be the centrepiece of development, Lieutenant-Governor Vijai Kapoor today advocated a mission approach in introducing technological innovations in the transport sector within a shortest timeframe and across the board.

“It is tenable that transport be the centrepiece of development and that the arteries of transport act as a corridor of development,” Mr Kapoor said while delivering the valedictory address at the two-day International Transport Conference here.

“The converse is also true.... If one has to shut out development, then transport is attacked first.”

He regretted that the introduction of information and communication technology in the transport sector had been rather slow and sporadic.

“‘What we need is a mission approach whereby technological innovations are introduced within a shortest timeframe and in all areas of the sector,” Mr Kapoor said. He also called for optimising development while going for road and rail projects.

There should be apportionment between direct commercial benefit and social benefit in the transport sector, he said.

“A road project should not mean just a construction of road but should also include warehouse construction and other utilities as part of promoting development,” the Lieutenant-Governor said.

Ascension Day today

The 35th Spiritual Ascension Day of the Founding Father of Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya will be observed by lakhs of inmates of the institution across the globe as “International Peace, Love and Meditation Day” tomorrow.

On January 18, 1969, Dada Lekhraj Kriplani, known as Pitashri Prajapita Brahma who was the corporeal founder of this global organisation left his body at 93 after 33 years of intense practice and extensive promotion of India’s ancient spiritual wisdom and human values.

Day-long silence, meditation, divine contemplation and discourses on the teachings and deeds of Pitashri Brahma will be held in about 7,000 Rajyoga meditation centres of the institution in India and 90 overseas countries in all continents. This is to commemorate Pitashri Brahma’s penance, austerity and contributions for the elimination of illiteracy, superstitions and social evils from society. The institution is also observing this year as the `Year of Compassion and Cooperation’.


DHBVN worker held for bribe
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 17
An Assistant Line Man (ALM) of the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) was caught red-handed today while taking a bribe of Rs 500 from a resident in A.C.Nagar here. The money had been demanded for resuming power supply to a connection.

As part of its ongoing drive in the town, the Nigam had replaced the old meters in the area. There is no charge for resuming the supply to a replaced meter, but the employee sought money for the job.

The ALM, identified as Parmod Kumar, presently working with the DHBVN’s Subdivision no. 1 in the NIT area here. He was arrested after a trap was laid for him, in response to the complaint lodged by one Shiv Kumar, a resident of the A.C. Nagar.

He had alleged that the ALM had demanded a graft of Rs 500 from him for starting the supply to his connection.

It is reported that the complainant had already paid his latest bill of Rs 2,659. The accused has been booked under Sections 7,13,49 and 88 of the Cr. Pc Act. The raid team included a DSP and a Tehsildar.

163 ticketless passengers caught

Sonepat: The checking staff of the Northern Railway, headed by the Railway Magistrate, Mr Vijay Singh, conducted a surprise checking of incoming and outgoing trains at the railway station here on Thursday and hauled up as many as 163 ticketless passengers.

According to a report, these include students, commuters, milk vendors and other passengers. The Railway Magistrate imposed a fine of Rs 300 on each ticketless student, Rs 1,800 on the passengers carrying more goods, Rs 600 on the commuters for non-renewal of monthly passes and between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,200 on the ordinary passengers found travelling in the mail and Express Trains.

The checking staff earned a revenue of Rs 20,402 and another amount of Rs 40,600 as penalty from the ticketless passengers on the spot. At least a dozen passengers who failed to pay the fare and penalty, were sent to the jail. OC

Hasya Kavi Sammelan

New Delhi: The Delhi Medical Association organised a “Hasya Ras Kavi Sammelan” on the occasion of the Republic Day celebrations at the DMA House, Daryaganj in association with the Hindi Academy. On this occasion, the DMA felicitated Shoaib Iqbal, MLA from Matia Mahal Assembly constituency who graced the occasion as chief guest. The MLA congratulated the ‘kavis’ and the DMA on organising the Kavi Sammelan which is an old tradition of the Walled City.

He assured the DMA of his support vis-s-vis their demands. The DMA will also organise a free ENT check-up camp on Sunday at the DMA House from 9 am to 1 pm in association with the Manzil-E-Rahat, an NGO. TNS


Youth held for rape, murder of child
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
The South district police have arrested a 24-year-old youth for allegedly committing rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in Ambedkar Nagar last night.

The body of the girl was found in the house of the accused Rajiv, alais Sonu, resident of Madan Gir last night following which Rajiv was taken in the custody. The victim’s parents reported to the police that the child had been missing since evening. The accused who is a neighbour of the victim reportedly allured the victim on some pretext and raped her. Since he was afraid that the victim would identify him, he allegedly killed her.

The police have registered a case and sent the victim’s body for post-mortem.

TSR driver stabbed to death

One TSR driver who used to supply woollen items was stabbed to death in the Ganga Mandir Marg area last night. The victim Mithilesh (22), resident of Kakrola Marg went along with his helper to deliver the goods in Shahdara.

When he went near the shop, one person identified as Kanhaiya, in his early thirties had some quarrel with the driver. After an exchange of heated arguments, Kanhaiya started stabbing him. The victim was rushed to the Lady Hardinge Hospital where he was declared brought dead.

The police have arrested the accused and registered a case of murder against him. The accused is a drug addict and has previous criminal history, said the police.


361 foreign prisoners lodged in Tihar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
The Director-General of Prisons, Mr Ajay Agarwal, said that there were a total of 361 foreign prisoners, of which 272 were Asians, 57 Africans, 28 Europeans, three North Americans and one Australian in the Tihar Jail.

Disclosing this in the Annual Press conference here on Friday, Mr Agarwal said among the Asians, 121 were Nepali nationals, 68 were Bangladeshis and 52 Pakistanis. Among the African countries, Nigeria topped the list with 38 prisoners.

He said the foreigners were kept with the Indian prisoners as per their first name alphabet and being given treatment at par with other prisoners.

A total of 12,172 prisoners were languishing at the prison, just 131 more than the figure last year. Of the total male convicts, 41.40 per cent were convicts of murder, followed by rape (9.53 per cent), dacoity (9.15 per cent), and others.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |