N C R   S T O R I E S


Deadly diesel
CSE wants check on diesel mania,
says fumes are lethal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has come out strongly against the rising number of diesel cars, demanding the government take steps to make them expensive to check the rising risks from diesel fumes, which could even cause cancer.

In a study, which highlights the harmful effects of diesel fumes, CSE has attacked the rising sales of diesel cars and accused the government of adopting policies, which encourage it.

“After surveying vehicle registrations done by the Capital’s State Transport Authority, the CSE has unearthed a shocking and deadly trend: An increasing numbers of Delhi residents are buying diesel cars. And these cars can kill. Recent disclosures about cancer risk from diesel fumes are alarming”, the report says.

It said there had been a shattering 106 per cent annual incremental increase in diesel passenger car registration in Delhi since 1998-99, as against 12 per cent for petrol cars. “The enticing gap in the prices of diesel and petrol is the lure. Delhi, with the highest per capita income among all the metros, has the lowest diesel prices. The government refuses to correct this distortion,’’ the report points out.

It further says that the share of diesel cars, which was a mere four per cent of the total new car registration in 1999, had climbed to 16 per cent in 2003. The bigger jeeps or SUVs, taken separately, had shown a growth rate of 18 per cent.

“While public transport buses, three-wheelers and most taxis in Delhi have been effectively kept away from dirty diesel, it is the personal car segment which is riding high on the cheap and toxic fuel”.

CSE termed the trend as very disturbing “because deadly facts about diesel toxicity and evidence of the acute cancer-causing potential of diesel pollutants are pouring in from around the world”.

“Diesel fumes have been found to bear a lot more particles than petrol exhaust and are several times more toxic. Most of the recent studies emanate from the US and Europe that have superior diesel fuels and technology,’’ says Anumita Roychowdhury, Associate Director, who is co-ordinating the Right To Clean Air campaign at CSE. It criticised the government for not taking any effective steps to tackle the trend. ‘’Our government, of course, remains oblivious to these reports and concerns. It is obsessed instead with giving sops, such as tax cuts for three consecutive years, to the car industry.

‘’This, along with cheap diesel prices, has led to this deadly dieselisation of the small and medium car segment,’’ Ms Roychowdhury added.

The CSE said even as the ‘’diesel mania’’ hits the high road, the Indian regulators flag Euro-II standards as adequate safeguard against the high health costs associated with diesel. ‘’They also swear by steps such as a combination of reduced sulphur levels (500 ppm to 350 ppm) and oxidation catalysts, ignoring the fact that these are likely to enhance the health risk from diesel emissions.

‘’These would oxidise almost all fuel sulphur. Even at the 350 ppm level, emissions of deadlier and more toxic sulphates would increase. This could be worse than diesel vehicles with oxidation catalysts. Sulphate emissions from the young, expanding fleet would be a large part of the total PM emissions, closely linked to the fuel’s sulphur content.’’

It said even as the Indian government adhered to European emission standards like Euro-II and Euro-III, they forgot to take into account the inconsistencies of European norms, which were lenient on diesel. ‘’Diesel vehicles are legally allowed to emit more NOx and PM compared to petrol vehicles and this is the most serious of our worries.

‘’Euro-II norms allow diesel cars to emit 40 per cent more nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbon than corresponding petrol cars. Euro-IV norms allow diesel cars to emit three times more NOx than their petrol counterparts. As PM emissions from petrol cars are negligible, it is not regulated.’’

It demanded that cities, which had moved to Euro II standards and were witnessing rising diesel car sales, must implement Euro IV standards and 50 ppm sulphur fuels without delay. ‘’Also, they should implement the recommendations of the Raja Chelliah committee set up by the ministry of environment and forests immediately that seeks to eliminate cost advantages of diesel cars.

It wants the regulator to levy a tax based on average costs that emissions from diesel vehicles inflict on the society. ‘’Further, it has proposed an excise duty on diesel cars to neutralise its price advantage and an additional annual emission tax,’’ the CSE added.


Gurgaon writer drags Khakee director to court
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, January 23
A local court has issued notices to the producer of Bollywood film, Khakee, for February 10, in response to a petition charging the producer with indulging in irregularities and illegalities in the production of the film.

The suit has been instituted by a resident here, Mr Brijan Gaur, a writer, against Mr Raj Kumar Santoshi, the film writer and director, and Mr Keshu Ramsey, the producer of Khakee. The third defendant in the suit is the manager of DT Theatre, where the film in question is scheduled to be released today.

Mr Gaur’s case is that he gave a script of a story titled ‘Zokhim,’ based on a police subject, to Mr Santoshi on the latter’s persuasion and demand in October 1991.

The cause of action by Mr Gaur stems from the alleged similarity of the story of film Khakee and the story scripted by him under the title Zokhim. He has specifically mentioned that the opening of the film Khakee is practically the same as that of Zokhim.

Mr Gaur has contended that Mr Santoshi sold his script of Zokhim to Mr Ramsey, who in turn produced the film Khakee. His stand is that the original script was allegedly sold without his knowledge as a result of which Mr Santoshi and Mr Ramsey have also committed several criminal acts punishable under the various provisions of Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Section 420,in dishonestly producing Khakee.

According to Mr Jangvir Singh, counsel for Mr Gaur, the local court was chosen for the suit as the cause of action arose here. The film Khakee is to be released in DT Theatre here, which is under the territorial jurisdiction of the court. Moreover, the script/story of the film was allegedly written at Gurgaon, and the plaintiff is also residing here.


In a nutshell
Shalimar Express has narrow escape
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, January 23
The railway line behind Kela Bhatti, between Ghaziabad Junction and Hindon river, suddenly gave in while Shalimar Express was passing over it. The train had left Ghaziabad station at 11.45 am and was passing over track no 3.

A big chunk of the track fell aside with a bang, disturbing the level of the track. This breach was noticed by the Railway Protection Force personnel and all subsequent trains were diverted.

According to railway officials, had the information of the breach not been given in time, it could have resulted in a serious disaster. The track, railway engineers believe, gave in under seasonal pressures.

Head Constable Prem Shankar and Constable Tejpal of RPF, who were patrolling near the track, informed the railway authorities on wireless about the breach. Soon, an RPF inspector and engineer reached the spot and carried out the repairs on the affected track.

MASKED ARMED INTRUDERS STAB YOUTH TO DEATH: Three armed and masked criminals barged into a house under Kotwali police station, Ghaziabad, and stabbed a youth to death on Wednesday night.

When his wife, Sarita, raised the alarm, she was also stabbed. Fighting for her life in the hospital, she is not even aware that her husband is no more. Before fleeing, the assailants had also stabbed two neighbours who came to the victims’ rescue.

Brijesh Mishra lived in Punjab lines Railway Colony with wife and two kids. Brijesh, who was employed in Shubam Dye and Chemicals in Old Delhi, was alone at home with his family. The landlord and his son, a railway guard, were not at home.

At 9.30 p.m. three youth knocked at the main gate. When Brijesh opened the gate, the intruders said they wanted to meet the landlord. Without waiting for a response, they tried to overpower Brijesh who raised an alarm. His wife Sarita also came out of the house. But intruders put a revolver at Brijesh’s temple and told them to be quiet. The miscreants also deprived Sarita of her ornaments and told her to hand over all cash and valuables to them. Hearing the alarm, Bachu, Bagirath and Sohanlal came to the rescue of their neighbour. At this, the intruders stabbed Brijesh and Sarita; when Brijesh tried to overpower one of the his assailants, the latter stabbed Brijesh repeatedly, who fell down in a pool of blood. The neighbours were also attacked by the fleeing criminals. No arrests have been made so far.

Immolation bid of congmen Thwarted: Congress Party activists, who tried to immolate themselves at Atta Chowk in support of a separate Gautam Budh Nagar district, as per their programme, were taken into custody by the police.

The former MLA of Agra and State Vice-President of Congress (Meerut zone), Azad Kumar Kardam, and State General Secretary Naseeb Pathan were arrested along with a batch of 18 volunteers at Noida’s entrance. The group was taken to the city magistrate’s court, where they were left off after they gave it in writing that they will not disturb peace.

Earlier Azad had, in a press statement, said that if GB Nagar district was not restored by January 21 he, along with a batch of Congressmen, would commit immolation in Noida’s Atta Chowk.

Before their arrest, Azad Kumar Kadam and his group were welcomed and garlanded by local Congress Vice-President Jugal Kisore Vaid and others.

But as soon as they stepped into Noida, they were arrested by DSP SR Yadav, SO Sector-20, Santosh Kumar, and SO Sector-39, RK Paliwal.


Jhajjar: A town that literally stinks

Jhajjar, January 23
The small town of Jhajjar, though a district headquarters with a population of around 40,000, virtually stinks. The town is divided into 15 wards, but the municipal committee is unable to keep the streets and roads clean. Mounds of garbage can be spotted in almost every open apace.

The problem has persisted for so long that no governmental agency is able to deal with it. The local body and the residents are perpetually engaged in a blame-game. While the residents keep accusing the MC of not taking interest in the cleanliness and sanitation of the town, the local body and the district officials maintain that the residents lack basic civic sense and don’t bother about the upkeep of the town. Even household remains are thrown by the residents outside their houses, disregarding the health hazard such practices pose, point out officials.

The officials keep bemoaning the shortage of sweepers and required funds for keeping the town clean on a regular basis. The MC sources told this correspondent that 40 sweepers have been employed for cleaning the entire town, which is woeful. Even though the NCR Development Board funds the cleanliness projects and the committee has installed garbage bins at various points in the town, the scheme has proved to be a damp squib. This is primarily due to the lack of civic sense among the residents, who are not prepared to use the bins for disposing of the trash, these officials maintain.

Recently some three-wheelers had been purchased for lifting the debris. However, it remains to be seen what difference these vehicles will make in the prevailing dirty conditions.

A survey has exposed the stinking reality of the town, where even the councilors are feel helpless in clearing the garbage dumps lying along their houses. The worst hit is the Kila colony. It is a constant refrain in this locality that all the streets are kutcha and without drainage, regular water supply, sewerage and other basic civic amenities.

They told this correspondent that since all streets are below the level of the main road, rainwater flows back into their houses. A similar situation prevails in ward No 7, Naiyonwala mohalla, Ghosian mohalla and other colonies situated on the periphery of the town. In the interior, where sewerage and water supply is available and the streets are made of concrete, the municipal staff does not clear the garbage for days. The streets are so narrow and in such inaccessible parts of the town that the trash accumulates here for days. The councilors have expressed their helplessness in finding a solution to the problem. They allege that the development works are carried out on whim and they have no say in the functioning of the local body. The erstwhile Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Khemka, had fixed the responsibility of cleanliness of the wards on the representatives.


Marathon of Hope 
For some there is no finishing line…
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
The Canadian High Commission will host its annual Terry Fox Run on Sunday, February 8, 2004. The run will be flagged off by the High Commissioner, Ms Lucie Edwards, at 10 am from the front lawns of the High Commission.

The registration will start at 9 am.

The non-competitive event held throughout the world in memory of Terry Fox, a brave Canadian hero, to raise funds for cancer research, will have a 5-km route, beginning and ending at the main gate of the Canadian High Commission. The participants can walk, run, jog, roller skate, bike, or choose whatever means of non-motorized transport they desire to cover the route.

Also present with the High Commissioner will be several celebrities to kick off the run. Many corporate houses, non-governmental organizations, schools and individuals already have pledged support in terms of funds and participation. As a run up to the February 8 event, the E Club has organized a golf tournament on January 30 at Jaypee Greens, the proceeds from which will go to the Terry Fox Foundation.

This tournament is being sponsored by Scorpio of Mahindra and Mahindra.

It is significant to note that funds raised remain in the country of the run to support local research efforts.

All donations for the run are voluntary and exempt from tax under the Indian laws. In the past several years, the Cancer Foundation Institute, the Rotary Cancer Hospital and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences have been the recipients Of the donations in Delhi. Dr Vinod Kochupillai, who heads the research programme, has often reiterated how valuable these funds have been for research into some indigenous forms of cancer that are more prevalent in India.

The Terry Fox Run has become an annual event across Canada and around the world in honor of Terry Fox, who at the age of eighteen was diagnosed with bone cancer. As a result, his right leg was amputated above the knee. Terry was so deeply moved by the pain and despair of other cancer patients that he decided to run across Canada, a distance of more than 8,000 km, to raise funds for research. He invited every Canadian to be a part of his “Marathon of Hope”. Terry’s fierce determination resulted in his running an average of 42 km every day for 143 days. The Marathon of Hope took place in 1980.

Terry was forced to end his marathon due to the spread of cancer to his lungs. Ten months later, Terry died at the age of 22, in June 1981.

The Terry Fox Run is the largest single-day fund-raiser for cancer research in the world. All funds support innovative cancer research and are distributed by The National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) through a strict scientific review process.


Bansi’s son feels the pulse of Sonepat voters
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 23
Even as the Haryana Vikas Party’s supremo and former Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal, is doing his best to capture power in the state in the coming Assembly elections, his son
Mr Surinder Singh has also entered the fray by extensively touring
the state in general and the Sonepat Parliamentary constituency in particular.

According to a report, Mr Surinder Singh, former MP and secretary-general of the HVP along with Mr Rajiv Jain, general secretary of the state unit has completed his one-month tour of this constituency to feel the pulse in the area.

Both the leaders, it may be recalled, had been able to mobilise the people in favour of the party and as a result, they had participated in large number in January 18 rally held on the premises of the Subhash Stadium in this city.

The turnout of the people in this rally was beyond expectations and it was estimated that more than 50,000 people had participated in it.

On seeing the mammoth gathering, Mr Bansi Lal who addressed this meeting, was the most jubilant leader and he criticised the ruling party, particularly Mr Om Prakash Chautala who had adopted ‘anti-people, anti-farmer, anti-farmer, anti-worker and anti-trader’ policies during his regime of four years.

According to the political observers, this rally was the show of strength of the party in this constituency. It seems that the HVP has an edge over the ruling INLD and the Congress.

Meanwhile, the BJP and the ruling INLD as well as the Congress leaders were in a fix after the success of the January 18 rally of the HVP and they were now frightened from the massive people’s support to the HVP.

Now Mr Surinder Singh is visiting this city on January 28 for addressing the meeting of the party workers and congratulating them on the success of the January 18 rally in Sonepat.


Republic Day dress rehearsal as good as
the real thing
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
Except for the missing VIPs, the dress rehearsal for the Republic day parade, which took place here today, was a spectacular show of what the audience across the country will witness on the 26th of January.

The armed forces’ might, the armoury and the brave men marching in tandem, the music of pipes and drums, children putting the best foot forward, and the tableaux, one after the other, depicting the vibrant Indian culture. The rehearsals for the R-Day parade had the audience watching in glee.

The wet Friday morning was hardly a damper. Watching the parade without being jostled was incentive enough. Thousands of curious eyes followed the movement along the Rajpath as exciting and delightful events came one after the other. If the army dare devils atop a motorcycle took the breath away, the pleasing display of folk dances by school children evoked applause. The M-17 helicopters, which showered flower petals in an inverted Y formation, was also a treat.

While the skyline was dotted with the majestic T-90s and T-72s, Arjun tanks rolled down, followed by a display of Agni II and Prithvi missiles, the Tangshka air defence weapon system, a latest acquisition from Russia, and the Windy 505 multi-purpose all-terrain utility vehicle.

The display of Agni long-range missiles, Windy 505, which is in its trial stage, and the indigenous satellite communication vehicle, coupled with the pilotless target aircraft, Lakshya, the supersonic missile Brahmos and the medium range Akash missiles showcased the firepower of the Indian armed forces.

Adding colour to the annual extravaganza were the marching military columns, accompanied by impressive band teams, of the various regiments of the armed forces, paramilitary troops, Delhi police, Home Guard and the National Cadet Corps.

And while the crowd was cheering the parade, scores were honking their way through the congested roads. Major traffic jams led to chaos. 


Sonepat shivers in biting cold
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 23
Sonepat experienced another cold day today following the torrential rains throughout last night.

According to a report, the sky is still overcast with dark clouds and more rain is likely in the region.

According to the experts of the Agriculture Department, the rain is considered beneficial for the standing Rabi crops, particularly wheat. The prospects of the Rabi crops have brightened on account of the widespread rains, though unseasonal.

The continuous rain during the past 48 hours has intensified the cold and people prefer to stay indoors.

The attendance in most of the Government offices was reportedly thin thanks to the failure of the district authorities to check the late-comers and absentees. Even the heads of most departments did not reach on time. Many offices and government schools looked deserted.

Meanwhile, the movement of almost all the long-distance trains on the Delhi-Ambala-Kalka (DUK) section remained

disrupted today. The rail traffic was badly hit due to the late running of long-distance mail, express and superfast trains for hours. Some trains, including the Unchhar Express running between Allahabad and Ambala Cantt remained cancelled for the day. Among the trains rescheduled were Shan-e-Punjab bound for Amritsar. The Amritsar-bound Barauni Amritsar Express passed through Sonepat about five hours behind schedule.

The suburban trains running between Delhi and Panipat as well as Delhi and Kurukshetra passed through Sonepat behind schedule stranding thousands of passengers, mostly commuters at Sonepat and other railway stations. Many passengers remained at the platforms of the railway stations in the biting cold and waited for the trains.


Delhi Govt provides humanitarian aid to 4-yr-old rape victim
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
Following the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Delhi Government has given Rs. 50,000 in humanitarian relief to a four-year-old tribal girl, who had been allegedly raped by a truck driver here last year.

The commission took up the case following a request by social activist Prithvish Sain, who has sought that the victim be given relief on humanitarian grounds as her parents were not in a position to afford her medical treatment.

The 26-year-old truck driver, who allegedly committed the crime on March 17 last year, has been arrested and a case registered against him.

The commission was informed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Vasant Vihar, here that a cheque of Rs 50,000 in favour of the victim has been kept in a fixed deposit in her name for 14 years.

Her mother Kamla has been permitted to withdraw monthly interest for maintenance and medical treatment of the child and the amount on maturity of the deposit would be paid to the victim who would by then be an adult, the NHRC said in a press release today.

The commission has also commended the role played by NGO Prayas in the victim’s rehabilitation.


soya food
Dilli Haat visitors find a wealth of health in four-day festival
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
Consumers visiting Dilli Haat, today experienced an educative, unique, and informative Soy Food and Health festival. The event, sponsored by the American Soybean Association, was inaugurated by Mr Michael Riedel, Agricultural Attache, American Embassy.

The four-day festival highlighted the nutritional and therapeutic benefits of soy and its use in a wide variety of cuisine.

The festival is a step towards educating and sensitising people on the dietary needs of the human body and how soy with superior quality of protein can serve as a good source of complete protein.

Speaking on the occasion was Mr Michael Riedel, Agricultural Attache, US Embassy, “It gives me immense pleasure to know that various marketing efforts are being undertaken by the American Soybean Association and the Indian corporate sector to help promote soy, the benefits of which are indubitable.”

He added, “The Indian corporate sector in the past has made major breakthroughs in the processing and manufacturing of soy products. The fact that new and innovative soy products from tofu to nuggets to even soy ice creams are hitting the market, is a sureshot sign of soy being popularised among different age groups.”

Consumers enjoyed some of the exquisite soy recipes such as soy halwa, soy parantha, chatpati soy tikkis, soy manchurian, granule curry, which were not only nutritious, but also mouthwatering. Consumers were also informed on how soy could be used in one’s daily life for better health.

Different soy products such as soybeans, soy flour, and soybean oil can be added to variety of traditional foods.

Dr Kavitha Reddy, a nutritionist with a Master’s in Food and Nutrition and a Doctorate in Food Science was there to guide and help people with their health-related queries.

She informed that soy could also be added up to 20 per cent in dosas, pesarattu, dahi bhalla and vadas where whole legumes are added.


Rs 3-lakh compensation to accident victim’s family
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 23
The Additional Sessions Judge-cum-Judge of the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal of Sonepat, Mr J S Jangra, yesterday awarded a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the family of Sandeep, a mechanic of Haryana Sheet Glass Company and ordered the National Insurance Company to pay the amount of the compensation to the victim’s mother and wife.

According to the prosecution story, Sandeep was going on the Haryana Roadways bus on June 10, 2002 when it met with an accident on the way. Sandeep and other passengers sustained injuries and they were hospitalised. During the treatment, Sandeep succumbed to his injuries. Thereafter, the parents of Sandeep filed a suit in the court for seeking compensation from the insurance company.

Unclaimed bag causes panic

Panic prevailed among the passengers waiting for a Panipat-bound passenger train at platform No. 2 of the railway station here last evening, following the recovery of an unclaimed bag there.

According to a report, this caused a flutter and the passengers raised the alarm. On receipt of information, the officials of the Government Railway Police (GRP) reached there and seized it. In the meantime, a rumour about the planting of a bomb spread, causing a panic among the waiting passengers. Some of them started running towards the platform No. 1.

The officials of the GRP and the Railway Protection Forced opened the bag for a thorough search and found some clothes of the children.

They, however, heaved a sigh of relief when none of the explosive devices was found in it.


Sonia urged to suspend dowry-tainted Hooda
Tribune news service

New Delhi, January 23
The women wing of the Congress in Haryana, “Haryana Mahila Suraksha Samiti”, submitted a memorandum to the Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, demanding the suspension of primary membership of Bhupender Singh Hooda, Leader of Opposition in Haryana.

The activists of Samiti alleged that son of Mr Bhupender Singh was married to Dr Geeta a year ago.

Mr Hooda and his family members allegedly harassed the newly married girl for getting more dowry. She had lodged a complaint against her in-laws in Panchkula, the memorandum said.

The Congress worked hard for the uplift of women in the country and in the leadership of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the participation of women in politics has increased. If any senior leader of the party is involved in dowry case, it will have negative affect on the party’s image, the memorandum said.

The Samiti activists appealed to Mrs Sonia Gandhi to take this case seriously and suspend Mr Hooda from the party, the memorandum said.

Drug pusher held

The North district police today claimed to have arrested a notorious drug trafficker who was identified as Rajik. He was arrested from Inderlok railway station. The police had a secret information that the suspect would come by Metro rail from New Usmanpur to supply smack in Inderlok. The police searched all passengers at Inderlok railway station.

While the police were searching the suspect, around 50 gram smack was recovered from his person. During sustained interrogation, he disclosed that he used to bring the narcotic from Bareilly and supply it in different areas of the Capital.

Man stabbed to death

Khursheed (30) was reportedly stabbed to death by his associates whom he brought from Bulandshahr to rob Jagdish Sharma, a shop owner in Yamuna Vihar area of North East district.

According to police, Jagdish Sharma had a unit of repairing sewing machines on the ground floor and his residence was on the first floor. Khursheed’s relative worked with Jagdish. Yesterday Khursheed came to meet his relative in the shop. Just behind him, three others entered the shop. They tied Jagdish Sharma with rope and locked his wife and daughter in the kitchen and searched the complete house. They decamped with Rs 60, 000, a watch, mobile phone and jewellery. While decamping with the booty, the suspect stabbed Khursheed. He died from excess bleeding, the police said.

Held for stealing bag

North district police arrested, Satpal, a bag-lifter from ISBT. Police questioned him while he was running with a bag. When he did not respond properly, he was taken to police station where he said that he had stolen the bag from the ISBT. The police recovered a button-actuated knife from him.

Meet on Indian culture, science

A three-day national conference organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) began here today.

The conference is aimed at educating young scholars on history, philosophy, science, technology, Indology, Sanskrit and culture with a project, which is being undertaken to publish 77 volumes on History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture (PHISPC). More than 300 delegates, including 200 research scholars who are working on these subjects, have registered themselves for the conference, which will include eminent scholars, thinkers and experts from various fields.

Initiated by the ICPR in 1981 and developed under the auspices of the Centre for Studies in Civilisation (CSR), 29 of the planned 77 volumes have already been published and the remaining are expected to come out by 2010.

Funded by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, the project begins with the dawn of the civilisation and describes various stages of development, growth and even periods of decline, reawakening and renaissance.



Sonepat civic services the pits
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 23
Sonepat, an industrial township and a district headquarters has become a byword for poor civic services with heaps of garbage, choked drains, sewers and to cap it, poor streetlighting in the interiors.

According to a report, things have come to such a pass that the residents of several neglected areas plan to approach the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, if their grievances are not redressed by the district and civic administration, they may even stage demonstrations and file the case in the court.

Almost the entire city is unhappy with the municipal council’s scavenging staff which does not bother to clean the streets for days together. Even grass and wild plants have appeared on many streets.

Whenever the sweepers are asked to pay attention to their duties, they start complaining and approach the Scheduled Caste legislators and councillors for intervention.

This apart, the inhabitants are pestered by flies and mosquitoes, particularly during night.

Educational institutions too have been hit by the civic neglect. Drain water overflows onto the streets and the rainwater collects whenever there is a downpour, causing all sorts of problems for the students.

The poor state of sewerage system has also led to the miseries of people. This system always collapsed due to poor maintenance and lack of control on the staff by the authorities concerned.

Almost all the areas in the city stink most of the time.

The sanitary supervisors remain indifferent towards the public complaints. They allegedly take bribe from the unscrupulous staff for overlooking their lapses.

Though the municipal council has the vehicles for sprinkling the water on the streets and the roads but the work is done only when a VIP visits
the city.

Unauthorised constructions and grabbing of footpaths are going on all over the city. But the civic authorities have failed to check the violations.

According to a report, the population of this city has crossed 2 lakh, but there are only 266 safai workers with the municipal council.

There are 4, 611 filth depots but these are cleaned occasionally.


Ncr briefs
BJP sets up district bodies

Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, January 23
District president of the Bharatiya Janata Party Tara Chand Agarwal announced new bodies of various cells of the party in the district. The new members are as following: Dr Ravi Kant—district president, Medical cell, Sukhpal Singh—Legal cell, Ram Avtar Sankrodia—Commercial cell, Laxman Thathera—Backward class cell president and general secretary, Laxmi Narain Dhanania—Traders cell, Sagar Mal Singhla Siwani—Industry cell and Sanjay Kamra—general secretary.

Capt Krishan Dev has been nominated as president of Sainik cell, Satish Chand Premi-Literature and publication, Narender Prabhakar—Intelligentsia cell, Murli Dhar Mehta—Local bodies cell, Gita Singh will be the president of Cultural cell.

Birth certificates to be dispatched

The birth and death registration office has prepared nearly 40,000 birth certificates in the district and it would start distributing them from February 1. The district coordinating officer of the census department, Mr Naresh Kumar Seth, said here today that the department would distribute the birth certificates to those children who were born after January 1994 and whose certificates could not be prepared due to some reasons.

He said that the state government had made birth certificate compulsory and admission would only be given on its production.

He said that the first registrar of birth certificate would be incharge of police station and so parents should get the birth certificate of their wards prepared before time. Mr Seth said that a national drive had been launched to distribute birth certificate and it would be completed in three phases.

In the first phase, birth certificates would be distributed to the children of the rural and urban areas who were born after 1994 even as the certificates would be prepared for those children who were residing in some other places. In the third phase, such children whose names had not been registered anywhere would be included, he said. Certificates for such children would only be made after registration under the general policy.

The coordinator said that the birth certificates would be distributed free to the children of rural areas whereas Rs 5 each would be charged from the children of the urban areas.

He said that these certificates would be delivered with the cooperation of multi-purpose health and Aanganwadi workers. Mr Seth said the drive was launched by the Governor on November 14 and would continue till March 31.

Seminar to promote safety in units

Faridabad: The Haryana Safety Council, a body set up by the state government to promote safety in the industrial and manufacturing units, recently held a state level function here. Although the council described the programme as a seminar, it seems that instead of going into the latest happenings in the field and discussing the more pressing problems on this front, the participants were handed over a folder having many booklets on the subject.

Going through the booklets, one did not come across any fresh information or developments. The booklets just had a brief syllabus of the topics.

For example, the booklet named as ‘Keynote on Industrial Safety’ has four pages devoted to the basic knowledge about the techniques in the industries, accident prevention methods, normally found in the books on the topic for any diploma or course provided at college level.

In the booklet titled “Safety movement-safety committees and trade unions”, a brief history of the movement has been given, including the historical development in some other countries, workers’ responsibilities of the trade unions.

Another booklet provides a note on the workers’ welfare aspect as provided in the Factories Act-1948. A participant said that he had expected to get something new in the annual seminar, but the organisers provided him with only bookish content. TNS





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.

According to a news report published in NCR Tribune (January 11), Prof J.S. Rajput, Director, NCERT, had condemned the Delhi Government for its decision to discontinue the use of NCERT textbooks for Classes 1 to VIII in government schools from the academic year 2004-05. This criticism by Prof Rajput does not fit his credentials of being an educationist and the head of an apex educational organisation of the country.

Rather, it suggests as if he was a marketing manager of a commercial firm, who has a vested interest in selling his wares, the NCERT textbooks in this case, by hook or crook, notwithstanding the merit or otherwise of his wares. Teachers all over the country generally complain that the NCERT textbooks are sketchy, lack continuity and lucidity of exposition of subject matter, are difficult to comprehend and inflict unwarranted stress on the minds of school students.

They are instrumental in encouraging private tuition and lead to the use of unfair means in the examinations.

The teachers and parents force the students to buy NCERT books on account of their misapprehension that the question papers set in the examinations would be based on these books. Therefore, the sale figures of the NCERT books cannot be cited as a sign or symbol of their quality or standards. This is a vicious hype created by vested interests in the NCERT itself.

The case of the Hindi versions of the NCERT textbooks is all the more worse. The language-terminology used in them is unauthentic, non-standard and arbitrarily coined. This is leading to erroneous understanding or misunderstanding of various concepts in their fields of study, adversely affecting the educational interests of millions of students perpetually.

In this regard, the NCERT is violating the official language policy of the Union Government with impunity and highhandedness. The NCERT also needs to explain why its textbooks for Class XII have not been recommended or approved by the CBSE in 2003, when Class XII examination is to be held in March 2004.

The CBSE has to clarify its position vis-a-vis NCERT books. Why has the CBSE not recommended NCERT books? The NCERT and the so-called NCFSE, 2003, do not cater to the educational needs of the vast majority of students who offer Indian languages as their medium of study. The NCERT serves the elite, and is a tool in the hands of vested interests, the elite tribe.

S. K. KAPUR, Gurgaon

Aping Western culture

Some of the NRI’s attending the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conference, were dismayed to see the youths in the big cities copying the West and discarding Indian culture, customs, festivals, dress and outfits.

Most of the foreigners come to India to get a feel of the spiritual and cultural splendour that this country offers. However, they are surprised to see our neo-rich middle class and the younger generation, aping Western culture–from fashion to food to language. Why can’t we imbibe some of the positive aspects of the West, like their work culture, discipline and love for indigenous products?

ANUP KUMAR, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi

Ending the lottery menace

I was shocked to observe the advertisement of the Punjab State lotteries in the Tribune in its January 6 edition. It was given conspicuous importance with the photographs of the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amrinder Singh, and the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh.

Everybody knows that lotteries never sell easily. In fact, gambling and satta are supported in the garb of lotteries. Gambling is a cognizable offence. The state can never be a partaker in such a serious offence as this. Otherwise also, gambling/satta makes big holes in the pockets of the poor as well as the rich. The lottery business has ruined many homes. The poor people drain away their hard-earned money in the lottery business, which has proved to be a social menace. The family members of the victim also suffer, as they have to face the brunt of the effect of this menace.

Simple-minded youngsters are attracted to the prospect of earning easy money. However, they soon realise that there is no short cut to success.

The mafia involved in running such organized lottery bazaars are supported by the police. In effect, the image of the state is maligned.

The police authorities sometimes raid these gambling dens in order to show its concern over the growth of this menace.

But the vicious circle continuous uninterrupted because those arrested under the Gambling Act easily get bail by paying fines.

Punjab is a rich state, with diverse and vibrant culture. Therefore, it does not suit the Punjab Government to aid and abet such criminal acts. Even if revenue earning is the motive, the lottery business should not be encouraged.

One businessman told me an interesting anecdote about the lottery business. He said that he once saw a poor man with a billboard on his body trying to attract customers: “I am not a beggar. Help me to earn bread by purchasing lottery tickets.”

When will the state government shun this vicious business in the present form?


Disciplining private schools

This is with reference to the news report, ‘Haryana private school owners seek change in education rules’ (NCR Tribune, January 6).

It is stated in this report that the ‘Haryana State Private School Owners Association’ has sent a 19-point memorandum to the Haryana Chief Minister through the Deputy Commissioner, Sonepat, demanding amendments to the ‘New Education Rules, 2003’.

In this connection, I wish to say that most of the private public schools, run by resourceful societies, trust and individuals, hardly care for any government department or Education Board. They function arbitrarily to the extent that harass parents financially by imposing exorbitant tuition fees and all kinds of charges/funds.

It may also be pointed out here that Mr Rakesh Gupta, Secretary, the Haryana School Education Board, was reported to have said, that at least 50 per cent of the private schools, recognised by the Board, were involved in fraudulent practices. (NCR Tribune, September 20, 2003, ”HSEB does some soul searching, to arrest falling education standards).

In fact, most of the private public schools have become a law unto themselves. This defiance by the private schools forced the Education Department, Haryana, to promulgate the ‘Haryana School Education Rules, 2003’, which were published in the Haryana Government Gazette (extra), April 30, 2003.

The rules give adequate powers to the Director of School Education, Haryana, to rein in erring private schools indulging in commercialism, fraudulent practices and financial exploitation of parents.

In the above context, it is hoped that any pressure from the private schools to amend provisions of the ‘Education Rules’, will be strongly resisted by the Directorate of Education, Haryana.

O. P. SHARMA, Faridabad

Vulgarity in paintings

Apropos metro mix and spotlife (NCR, January 12, 2004), in which vulgar paintings are published very often. I really don’t find any valid reason behind these obscene painting being published for public viewing.

Rajiv Puri might be a well-known artist/painter, but why does he focus on nude female bodies only?

Is he lacking the confidence to paint the male body in the same manner? I don’t think NCR Tribune need obscene paintings to popularize its paper.

Even after 56 years of Independence, we are still unfair with our women. Why do we want to expose the modesty of our women? The artists can always have better poses of woman as the subject for his paintings.

The unfortunate truth is that India is still a male dominated nation, where women continue to be exploited in many ways. The question is: How long will women continue to be exploited to the extent that she feels downgraded?



Students beat up unobliging roadways staff
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 23
Angry college students beat up the driver and conductor of a Haryana Roadways bus plying on the Gohana-Panipat route near Shahpur village, about 45 km from here last evening.

According to a report, the trouble arose when the driver refused to accede to the demand of the students to stop the bus at Shahpur village since it had no local stoppage.

Thereupon, the angry students beat up the driver and conductor of the bus. Moreover, when some of the passengers opposed the behaviour of the students they were also roughed up.

During the scuffle, the driver and the conductor sustained injuries and were immediately hospitalised for treatment in the civil hospital. Thereafter, they lodged a complaint with the police against four students, namely Pawan, Sandeep, Jatinder and Jaggu.

On receiving information, a large number of the employees of the Haryana Roadways raised slogans against the police in protest against their failure to arrest the culprits.

They also threatened to launch an agitation if the police failed to apprehend the alleged culprits involved in the assault.

The bus was on its way to Rohtak from Dera Beas whereas the students belonged to the Government College at Israna in Panipat district.

According to another report, three workers of a brick-kiln sustained injuries when they were allegedly attacked by a group at Saidpur village, about 25 km from here last night.

All the injured persons were immediately hospitalised and were stated to be out of danger.

The alleged assailants, however, managed to escape.

Meanwhile, Mr Chandan Singh, a worker sustained injuries when he was attacked by three youths, at a brick kiln at Sehoti village, about 20 km from here last night.

They also roughed up other workers when they resisted their behaviour. The Kharkhauda police have registered the case and further investigations were in progress.

Mental ability test

As many as 98 students appeared in the mental ability test organised by the ‘Society of Mathematics’ at the Government College, Gohana, 35 km from here yesterday.

According to a report, the students were asked to answer 60 questions in 60 minutes. A student, Luxman Singh Verma (B A Part-I), bagged the first position, whereas Sunil Kumar of B A-II and Parmod Kumar of B.Sc-I won the second position. Bhupinder of B.Sc Part III came third.

Mr R.K. Dahiya, Head of the Mathematics Department, and Miss Sangeeta Sapra, in charge of the ‘Society of Mathematics’ monitored the test, which was aimed at helping students in their competitive examinations. Mr Jagdev Khas and Mr Jai Bhagwan were the supervisors.

The principal of the College, Mr Desh Deepak, praised the organisers for holding such a test for the benefit of the students at large.

Meanwhile, the college has achieved a number of success in the field of education, sports and cultural programmes.


Rungta felicitated
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, January 23
Former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Purushottam M Rungta was felicitated by the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when he visited the Ferozeshah Kotla ground on Friday.

DDCA vice-president C K Khanna, who is also the vice-president of the National Cricket Academy and Communication and Co-Ordination Committee of the BCCI, and sports secretary Sunil Dev accorded an endearing welcome to the veteran Board official, whose association with the Board spans more than 52 years. Mr Rungta had recently demited office as the treasurer of the Board after completing his full term.

LIC down Delhi Gym

Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) defeated Delhi Gymkhana by 26 runs in an A-I Division match of the DDCA League at the RSC ground. Scores: LIC: 207 all out in 39.4 overs (Raghuvir Singh 70, Rajesh Kumar 34, Arun Kumar 3 for 37).

Delhi Gymkhana: 181 all out in 36.4 overs (Saurabh Malik 79, P K Soni 2 for 36, Yogesh Joshi 2 for 34).

Pusa Youngsters defeated G G Dutt by two wickets in an A-I Division match at the Mohan Meakins ground.

Scores: GG Dutt: 166 all out in 40 overs (Amit Sharma 37, Kamal Bagga 27, Lalit Anand 3 for 31). Pusa Youngsters: 168 for 8 in 30.4 overs (Damanjeet Singh 36, Atul Brown 32, Surender Dayma 3 for 14).

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