N C R   S T O R I E S


BJP, Cong close ranks to attend Maha Panchayat
Parmindar Singh

Noida, January 24
All roads led to the venue of the Maha Panchayat today. The panchayat was convened by the joint action committee of Gautam Budh Nagar district, which had been denotified by the UP Chief Minister, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, on January 13.

It was yet another evidence of the willingness of the people of Gautam Budh Nagar to close their ranks on the issue.

Among the parties which attended the Maha Panchayat were the BJP, the Congress, the Dehat Morcha, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Advocate’s Association, Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Association etc.

Those who addressed the Maha Panchayat included Union Minister Ashok Pradhan, Nawab Singh Nagar and Ravi Gautam (MLAs), R.P Raghuvanshi of Chetna Manch, Narender Bhatti, Yugraj Chauhan, Liaqat Ali, Advocate Sant Ram Bhatti, P.S. Jainandmany and many others.

The Maha Panchayat decided to carry on an indefinite struggle in which the next step will be a total bandh on January 29, when all markets, commercial establishments, factories and educational institutions will be closed. Even vehicles and trains will not be allowed to run in the district.

After this will start the final phase of Jail Baro, the Maha Panchayat decided. Over 20,000 people had thronged the venue of the Maha Panchayat, in the grounds adjacent to the collectorate premises in Greater Noida. They came from 70 villages and about a dozen towns in buses, tractors, trollies, jeeps, cars, tempos, two wheelers etc.

It was further decided that people should continue to write Gautam Budh Nagar as their district. An impassioned plea was made by all speakers to make January 29 bandh a historic one.

The district administration had deployed police and PAC personnel in adequate numbers.

On the orders of the Ghaziabad District Magistrate, Mr Santosh Yadav, five magistrates and five police circle officers (DSPs) were put on duty at each of the five routes leading to the venue.

The constant refrain was that Chief Minister Mulayam Singh had indulged in politics of vengeance by dissolving the nine districts created by his arch-rival Mayawati in May 1997.

Scrapping Gautam Budh Nagar was the worst example of a biased mind, it was felt. The district was a revenue grosser, had created a niche for its industry, IT and software technologies, export potential, a robust environment and world standard residential and sports infrastructure. It had been scrapped to spite the voters who had not elected an MLA or MP from the Samajwadi Party, it was pointed out.

But Mulayam Singh Yadav should understand that people of the area will not rest till their legitimate demand is met, warned one speaker after another. His decision had made a mockery of the rights of the people.

The chairman of the People’s Non-cooperation Committee for GB Nagar, farmer activist Ch. Bihari Singh, has threatened to stop the supply of milk to Delhi.

The date for this action will be decided in a meeting of milk vendors of Aligarh, Bulandshahr and Gautam Budh Nagar at Mari Pet.

Ch. Bihari Singh alleged that Gautam Budh Nagar district had been scrapped simply to benefit one industrial house of Haryana, because this formidable family had bought large tracts of land in Haryana.

Besides an influential person wanted to stand for Lok Sabha elections from Ghaziabad. This district had been scrapped to influence the electorate in Ghaziabad in his favour.

Ch. Bihari Singh said the agitation for restoring the status of GB Nagar was getting overwhelming support from the people – farmers, advocates and workers. However, Union minister Ashok Pradhan had thrown protocol to the winds by sitting on dharna on the railway track. The anti-social elements had been encouraged by this act of the Union minister and had damaged property in factories and schools.

He criticized BJP for taking over a people’s agitation. Ch Bihari Singh alleged that Ashok Pradhan had a hand in dissolution of the district, if one goes by the statement of Mulayam Singh Yadav in Delhi.


Main accused involved in attack on PCR staff held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
The North-East district police claims to have apprehended the main accused involved in the attack on PCR staff on November 24 in Uttam Nagar area, after a brief encounter near the Gokulpuri flyover on January 23. The police also claimed to have seized a Maruti car, a Chinese pistol along with five live cartridges from his possession.

The gang had attacked the PCR staff and seized their weapons when the latter found the gang members moving in suspicious circumstances in the wee hours.

The police had received a tip-off that the main accused, Uttam Singh, alias Uttu (41), a resident of Palam Colony, would be going to Gokulpuri in a Maruti car.

When the accused was asked to stop, he got down from the car and started firing at the police personnel. The police returned the fire and the accused was overpowered in due course.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-East) Praveer Ranjan said that during interrogation the accused revealed that he, along with his associates Joginder Singh, alias Joga, Bulkesh, alias Ballu, Rajiv Kumar and Krishan Pal had attacked the PCR staff on November 24.

Ranjan said the accused is a hardcore criminal of Dabri area and involved in at least 32 cases of dacoity, robbery and burglary.

He was also involved in a dacoity case in Mumbai on December 4, when he and his associates had stolen gold and diamond jewellery worth Rs 22 lakh.

Uttam told the police that the gang members used to carry house breaking implements with them in a Tata 407 van.


Celestial appointment
Get ready for Venus’ tryst with the Sun
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
The 8th of June, 2004, will see a historic transit of the planet Venus across the face of the Sun. No one alive has thus far seen such an event. Venus transits are very rare, the last time this happened was in the year 1882. And this event was not visible from India - the last India saw a transit of Venus was eight years prior to that, in 1874, according to Dr N Rathnasree, Director of the Nehru Planetarim here.

This time the spectacle will be visible in Asia, Africa and Europe.

A planetary transit is one of the celestial shadow games, with the inner planets Mercury or Venue becoming the obscuring objects, instead of the Moon, as it happens in a Solar eclipse. The Moon, coincidentally, has about the same angular size as the Sun and therefore covers the Sun entirely during a total eclipse. The planetary disks, on the other hand, are tiny dots moving across the face of the Sun. There is no discernible decrease in Sun’s radiation reaching the Earth either.

At the simplest level, it may be possible to view the event using certified eclipse goggles (remember, it is extremely dangerous to view the Sun without proper protection to the eyes). Those with good eyesight may be able to discern a small black dot (Venus) on the face of the Sun, slowly move across to the other side, taking about five hours to complete this transit.

For those wishing to be a little more involved in the observation of the transit, there are a host of possibilities like viewing the spectacle through a telescope equipped with Solar filters — such observations are sure too be facilitated by Planetaria and science centers in every city and town of India. School and college students could participate in measuring the actual timings of the event - this is the crucial data that would go into the measurement of the Earth-Sun distance. Through a global pooling of all such measurements by students, a measurement of the daily changes in the position of Venus in the sky, its movement away from and towards the Sun, can be made in the months of January to June 2004. In the last week of March it would be possible for students to measure the position of Venus in the sky when it is at a maximum angular distance from the Sun, as seen from the Earth. This is a very crucial measurement needed in the determination of the Earth-Sun distance.

For Delhi and Jaipur, there will be an added excitement, arising from the fact that these measurements can be done using historical instruments like the Jayaprakash Yantra at the Jantar Mantar! Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi, is co-coordinating these observations with student groups from all over the country as well as interacting with some groups of observers from outside the country - in Europe, western Asia and America.

Many more groups are expected to join in this effort.

These observations from the Indian soil would be of great relevance. There have been only six transits of Venus since the invention of the Telescope - in 1631, 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874 and 1882.

One of the first few observations in history of transits was done on Indian soil - by Jeremiah Shakerely in 1651, when he observed a transit of Mercury across the disk of the Sun, although he did not manage to make scientifically useful observations. Prior to this, there had been only been observations by Gassendi, of the Mercury transit in 1631, and the important observations by Jeremiah Horrocks and William Crabtree, of the Venus Transit of 1639. It was also on Indian soil, at Muddapur, that an Italian expedition, during the 1874 transit of Venus, for the first time, made spectroscopic measurements, confirming the existence of atmosphere on Venus.

A name that gets associated with the observations of transits from India is that of Ankitam Venkata Narsinga Rao of Visakhapatnam, who made significant observations of the transit of Venus in 1874, as well as a transit of Mercury, observed from India in 1868. The results of his observations appeared in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


High Court orders seizure of ivory items from dealers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
The Delhi High Court has directed the Wildlife Department to seize within eight weeks all ivory artifacts from 183 dealers in the Capital. Ivory trade is banned in India and most of the items found in the country are made from ivory imported from some African countries, where such trade is legal.

Justice Manmohan Sarin, who heard the petition, also ordered the department to decide at the earliest applications by the dealers claiming ‘’bonafide personal use’’ of some ivory trophies.

The government had passed an order in 1991 banning trade in imported ivory articles. The order came into effect in Delhi from April 1992. In March 1992, the Ivory Traders and Manufacturers Association filed a petition in the high court, seeking a right to sell their ivory stocks or claim ‘’bonafide personal use’’ over some items. The petition was disposed of in 1997 by the court, saying their cases would be dealt in accordance with the Wildlife (Protection) Act.

However, the Wildlife Department, which was supposed to seize all such ivory stocks from the traders, did not do so, saying it did not have enough manpower to guard the seized items. In view of the need to have an additional site for housing confiscated ivory goods, next to the existing one at Tis Hazari courts complex, a godown was constructed by the forest department at the nearby Kamla Nehru Ridge, but it expressed its inability to guard the same.

The Wildlife Protection Society of India then moved the high court, seeking directions to the department to seize and maintain safely such articles, to ensure that there was no commercial use of wildlife trophies.

When the Delhi Police was requested to provide security at the site, the Delhi Police Commissioner expressed his inability to spare personnel. The Union Home Ministry also refused to interfere in the matter, saying it was for the local agencies to sort it out among themselves. And as the provision of guarding the new godown could not be made, seizures were not carried out by the Wildlife Department.

The court in July 29, 2002, had also asked the Delhi Lt Governor to convene a meeting with all authorities concerned to resolve the impasse. Since no progress had been made on the issue, the court has now set the eight-week deadline.


Youth arrested for rape bid on minors
Our Correspondent

Rewari, January 24
The police have arrested a village youth, Mohan Yadav, son of Krishan Chander Yadav, a resident of Naya Gaon under Kosli police station of Rewari district, on charges of alluring and attempting to rape two tiny girls of the village on Wednesday (January 20).

A case of kidnapping, enticement and commission of unnatural offence under sections 363, 366-A and 377 of the IPC has been registered against the accused.

According to information furnished by the administration, when the two girls, aged about four years, were plucking fruit from a jujube tree on the periphery of the village, the accused induced them to accompany him to his tubewell in a nearby field. It is alleged that he took one of the girls inside the tubewell cell, disrobed her and tried to rape her while the other girl, who was standing outside, began to weep loudly. At this, the entrapped girl also started crying.

Hearing their wails, two villagers — Rajender son of Behari Lal Yadav, and Surender Yadav, son of Suraj Bhan Yadav, rushed to the spot, forcing the accused to flee..

Later, the police apprehended the accused, who has been medically examined since then.


Rain ruled out in next 24 hrs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
The city was swept by icy winds that brought the temperature down. As the Capital shivered, the skies remaining overcast.

Though the sky became clearer towards afternoon, it remained partly cloudy rest of the day with cold winds lashing the city.

The minimum temperature, which has been generally higher than normal for the last many days, dropped back to normal at eight degrees.

The maximum temperature also dipped by two degrees, as against 16.7 degrees Celsius yesterday, five degrees less than normal. The weather office said it does not see any possibility of rains in the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, fog continued to affect train traffic to and from the Capital, which led to a number of trains being rescheduled. The New Delhi-Guwahati North-East Express has been rescheduled for 1810 hrs, the New Delhi-Howrah Poorva Express for 2150 hrs, the New Delhi Patna Rajdhani Express for 1900 hrs and the New Delhi-Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani Express for 2030 hrs.

The Brahmputra Mail will leave Delhi at 0050 hrs tomorrow. Besides the Darbhanga-Amritsar Saryu Yamuna Express was running late indefinitely, the Howrah-New Delhi Poorva Express by 10 hrs, the Patna-New Delhi Magadh Express by 0700 hrs and the Patna-New Delhi Sampoorna Kranti Express by 10.00 hrs.

The Hazrat Nizamuddin Shan-e-Punjab Express and the Allahabad-Ambala Unchahar Express have been cancelled.


‘BSP has deviated from objective’
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 24
The national president of the Bahujan Samaj Swabhimaan Sangharsh Samiti (BS-4) and UP Sports and Youth Welfare Minister, Mr R K Chaudhary, has alleged that the leadership of the BSP has deviated from the party objective set to fulfil the dreams of Baba Saheb Ambedkar.

Addressing a public meeting in Ravi Dass Chaupal on Kakroi Road last evening, Mr Chaudhary accused the party leadership of throwing out dedicated and committed party workers from the party.

He recalled that the BSP was founded on April 14, 1984, under the leadership of Kanshi Ram, with the objective to serve the neglected sections of the society.

The BSP under the command of Ms Mayawati had deviated from the principals set for the party by Mr Kansi Ram, and was only “serving the interests of capitalists at the cost of the poor and downtrodden of the society,” he alleged.

He declared that the Bahujan Samaj Swabhimaan Sangharsh Samiti had been formed to fulfil the dreams of Baba Saheb Ambedkar.

He also informed that the new organisation was being organised in 11 states, including Haryana, where the party would be ready within six months.

He also criticised the BJP for engineering differences between Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati. The BJP would never return to power in Uttar Pradesh, he predicted.


Will Gurgaon Development Authority do the trick?
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, January 24
With the task of administering Gurgaon city becoming onerous with the each passing day on account of its exponential growth, the district administration has recommended to the state government for the creation of Gurgaon Development Authority (GDA).

This is besides the recommendation for setting up a corporation in place of the present Municipal Council.

The Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, Mr Anurag Rastogi, said that the need for GDA was felt on account of the growing complexities of the city. With the body like GDA coming into place, there would be a nodal centre whereby exclusive attention could be given to the city.

His suggestion is that while the corporation could be given the exclusive charge of the problems of civic nature like the briefs held by the municipality, the GDA could be given other tasks for better administration of the city.

The rationale for the GDA is understood to be grounded in several factors. First, almost the entire area of new Gurgaon city is under the developmental jurisdiction of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). But the catch is that HUDA is a state level body and its rules and bye-laws are for the entire state. But with the rapid development of the city, new problems, especially of Gurgaon-specific nature have started cropping up. On a number of occasions, HUDA has found it difficult to cope with the problems. Besides, the private colonisers have been playing a major role in the growth of Gurgaon.

They have developed a number of pockets and, in all fairness, credit goes to them for contributing to the city’s present profile.


RI for harassing pregnant wife
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 24
The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr A D Gaur, sentenced an accused, Sumander Singh of Nidhari village, (Delhi) to three years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 20,000 for harassing and deserting his pregnant wife because she could not meet his dowry demands, and later, marrying another woman.

According to the prosecution story, Summandar Singh was married to Poonam of Raghavpur village (Delhi) on December 6, 1992. He continued to harass and beat her for her inability to fulfill his demand for dowry. Summandar Singh refused to accept his wife even though she was pregnant.

Thereupon, Poonam filed a complaint in a Delhi court against her husband for harassment. Meanwhile, Summandar Singh married another girl of Bhatgaon village in on July 2, 1996.

Trains delayed

Severe cold wave conditions and dense fog enveloped Sonepat region. According to a report, the police recovered the body of a beggar near the main bus stand here today and sent it for the postmortem examination.

The foggy weather continued to affect rail and road traffic with most trains running behind schedule by several hours and passengers stranded at various railway stations.

The Amritsar-bound Barauni Express and the Dadar-Amritsar Express passed through Sonepat behind schedule. Similarly, other long-distance mail, express and superfast trains were behind schedule.

Some of them were cancelled for the day, causing inconvenience to the passengers stranded at the platforms. The movement of traffic on the National Highway No. 1 and other state highways were disrupted due to poor visibility.

The drivers of vehicles had to use headlights for onward journey.

The current cold spell has caused damage to the standing Rabi and vegetable crops in this region.

The rain accompanied by the hailstorm has also damaged the standing rabi crops in most of the villages in this district.


Man sentenced to 7 yrs RI for raping minor
Our Correspondent

Rewari, January 24
The Additional Sessions Judge, Rewari, Mr Deepak Gupta, sentenced a man, identified as Ramesh, a resident of Raisena village of Karoli district of Rajasthan, to seven years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1000 for raping a minor. The judge has also sentenced the accused for kidnapping.

According to the prosecution story, Ramesh was living in a rented room near the house of Babu Lal in Maheshwari village under Dharuhera police station of Rewari district.

Ramesh, who was married to the daughter of Babu Lal’s elder brother, developed some intimacy with his family. Taking advantage of such intimacy, Ramesh eloped with Babu Lal’s teenaged daughter to Ghaziabad, where she was repeatedly raped.

After about a fortnight, the girl managed to telephonically convey information regarding her whereabouts to her father. Later, the police accompanied Babu Lal and rescued the victim from Ghaziabad and arrested Ramesh. Subsequently, medical examination confirmed the rape of the victim. Consequently, the accused was put on trial in the court of the Additional Sessions Judge here who pronounced the verdict.

Rs.1. 26 cr spent on Indira Aawas Yojna

A sum of Rs.1. 26 crore has been spent on construction of houses for the underprivileged sections of the society under the Indira Aawas Yojna during the current financial year in Rewari district.

Giving details of the various schemes, the Deputy Commissioner, Mrs. Neerja Shekhar, informed that as many as 93 houses had already been built while construction work on 94 houses was in progress. She further said that priority was being given to widows, divorcees and members of the scheduled castes under this yojna.

Simultaneously, she also informed that the district administration was laying full emphasis on the implementation of the Desert Development Programme (DDP) under which a sum of Rs. 1. 10 crore had already been spent in 150 villages of the district. She said that the DDP, which aimed at prevention of the gravity of the drought and desert conditions, mainly comprised development of agricultural land, provision of watershed management schemes in dry lands and integrated development of forest and pasture lands.

She further informed that the watershed management project, which had been formally launched in 1995-96, was now in progress in 45 blocks of Rewari, Mahendergarh, Jhajjar, Sirsa and Fatehabad districts of the state.

HVP all set for elections

The general-secretary of the HaryanaVikas Party, Mr Surender Singh, has asserted that a pro-HVP wave was gathering momentum in Haryana. Addressing a press conference here today, he claimed that if the heavy turnout at the recent HVP rallies at Kurukshetra and Sonepat was any indication, the people were eagerly looking to the HVP to provide a dynamic leadership in the state.

He said that there was a good possibility of a simultaneous Haryana Vidhan Sabha polls with the Lok Sabha elections. He said that his party was fully prepared for a simultaneous Parliamentary and Assembly elections. He went on to claim that the ground reality in Haryana seemed to invariably show goodwill for the HVP.

He claimed that the coming elections would be a direct contest between the HVP and the other parties. He alleged that the credibility of the INLD was low due to its misrule, while the Congress party was plagued by internecine infighting.


A message in forgiveness to our times and age

The Adhyatmik Jagran Sangh, an inter-religious body comprising representatives from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Islam and Jain religions, held a function at the Constitution Club in New Delhi on January 22 to mark the fifth anniversary of the murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, Timothy and Philip, at Manoharpur in Orissa.

The three-hour function, as the organizers Swami Agnivesh and his friends claimed. was a celebration of the spirit of love and forgiveness exemplified in the conduct of Mrs Gladys Staines, wife of the missionary, who has to live with the agonizing memory of a tragic end of her husband and her two beautiful children who fell victims to human hatred on the fateful night of January 22,1999.

In his characteristic style Swami Agnivesh narrated the historic journey the men of faith from all religions undertook together from Delhi to Manoharpur to express their solidarity with the lady who had borne bravely the sorrow of bereavement and had decided to continue the good work of her late husband.

Among those who addressed the function were Dr Mahendra Singh, Ms Nirmala Deshpande, Archbishop Vincent Concessao, Sunil Sardar, Sandeep Pandey, Justice Sukumaran (retired), Nandita Bakshi and Maulana Muhammad Rafi Kasim. The meeting was informed that Gladys Staines could not be present because she was attending the opening function of a hospital built in the name of her husband to serve the victims of leprosy.

All the speeches dwelt on the superiority of the spirit of love and forgiveness over the spirit of revenge and retaliation; on the need to apply the healing touch to wounds caused by hatred and mindless violence. Ms Nirmala Deshpande particularly referred to the ideology that had led to the murder of the Father of the Nation and said it was the same thought process that had claimed the lives of the missionary and the two children. Far from being a ritualistic memorial meeting, the gathering was reflective of the spirit of goodwill available among men of all faiths who wanted to preserve human dignity and rid the nation of the scourge of disease and poverty. There was admiration for the ones who chose to serve fellow beings under the most trying circumstances. Hopes were expressed too that through unity and brotherhood the nation would meet all the challenges, including the threat of violence and fundamentalism. Perhaps the spirit of service ingrained in the life of Graham Staines can still be recalled best in the words of a leprosy victim: ``Our world was in darkness. We always faced death. None of the religious leaders bothered to give us even one meal. When we begged for alms, they would throw stones at us and chase us away. We were untouchables. These religious leaders used to tell us that we deserved leprosy because of our sins in our previous birth—because of our Karma. And we were left to die in the jungles all alone, like worms…But then came Staines Dada and his friends…they stretched for the their hands of mercy and took us to the leprosy home …There we saw the love of God.’’

The leprosy patients of Manoharpur are only a drop in the ocean in a country of one billion. And leprosy is only one form of suffering. Among our countrymen are those who live the life of hungry animals. They cry out in their pain for help. Their sufferings take myriad forms—disease, poverty, loneliness, hopelessness and despair. Their voices go unheard because there are not enough sensitive souls to listen to their cries. The Staines belong to a rare species of human beings whose hearts, inflamed by the love of God and fellow beings, go out to the poor and needy.

The Swamiji contrasted the life of aspiring youths who would like to be in affluent lands the moment they were qualified for better jobs and the young doctor Graham Staines who left his home, his family and the shores of his beautiful country to serve in a backward region of India and that, too, among leprosy patients.

The Swami, a servant of God himself, could see the greatness of another servant similarly dedicated to the cause of the poor. ``It is a mark of the Staines family’s total identification with the local people that they could speak Santhali . What a refreshing contrast to the ways of our elite who are eager to leave this country for greener pastures and who stash away their wealth in foreign banks. Unlike the Staines family, they would disdain to speak local languages. And it is anybody’s guess if they would allow their children to play with the children of leprosy patients.’’

More than hundred years ago, Swami Vivekananda sought to rouse the conscience of this nation by pointing to the millions who lived in misery and darkness. He maintained that the few who acquired education and gained wealth and prestige at the expense of the vast majority should be deemed as ``traitors,’’ if they did not do anything to improve the lot of the suffering masses.

Mahatma Gandhi, too, tried to turn the attention of the decision-makers, after looking at the ``face of the poorest of the poor.’’ It is a tragedy of this nation that all such lessons in love and service, delivered by messengers of God, remain unheeded.

Gladys Staines, by pardoning the murderer of her husband and children, sets us an example in forgiveness. There was never a time when we needed this virtue not only in the life of individuals, but also in that of families and nation. ``India, with such a varied history and a land of many peoples, customs, religions and languages living side by side, is really a great wonder. It really pains me to see people being killed for reasons of caste, religion etc. God never instructed us to kill each other for any reason. In fact, God clearly taught us in the 10 commandments ``Do not kill.’’ There is no religion that condones killing another human being. Animals do not kill, except for food, and that is not of their own kind. Animals are often given greater respect than we give each other.’’ She concluded her message with these beautiful verses from the scripture: ``Do not repay anyone evil for evil.”

MPK Kutty


24 brick kiln workers freed from bondage
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 24
The officials of the district administration, headed by Mr Suraj Bhan Jangra, SDM, Gohana, conducted a surprise raid at a brick kiln in Bhainswal village yesterday and got 24 workers released who were kept in illegal captivity there by the owner of the brick kiln, for the past few months.

According to a report, all the workers left for Aligarh after being released by the officials. However, no case has been registered in this connection, as there was no written complaint against the owner of the brick kiln. The officials took this step after receiving a directive from the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwan Singh, who had received a letter from a lawyer on the issue.

The raiding party was accompanied by Mr D N Kaushak, District Labour Officer, and some officials of the Food and Supplies Department.

Power transformers burnt

Three electricity transformers were burnt by lightning at Kheri Tagga and Teha villages in Ganaur sub-division of Sonepat district last night. However, none was hurt by lightening.

According to a report, this caused darkness in both the villages, and the residents remained powerless for several hours. The power supply was restored in the morning. Another transformer was burnt in Ganaur mandi area.

Body found hanging

The body of a youth Pardeep (20) of Bidhal village was found hanging with a tree at Gopalpur village about 25 km from here yesterday. The police have sent the body for the postmortem examination.

According to a report, the police believe it to be a case of suicide and a family feud is stated to be the reason.


Glowing tributes to Swami Dayanand
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
Delhi Legislative Assembly Speaker Ajay Maken on Saturday described Swami Dayanand Saraswati as a great thinker, social reformer and ambassador of peace who rid the society of class and caste distinctions.

Mr Maken was speaking at a function held at the Arya Orphange at Pataudi House in Daryaganj. Social activist Viresh Pratap Chaudhry presided over the function.

Swami Shradhanand founded the Arya Orphanage 85 years ago in 1918 to fulfil a dream of Swami Dayanand Saraswati. The children of the orphanage presented a cultural show on the occasion.

The Speaker also paid tributes to freedom fighter Satyawati at another function organised by the National Trust and Thought Forum at Vithalbai Patel House.

The function was held to celebrate the 97th birth anniversary of freedom fighter Satyawati. She was a contemporary of Sarojini Naidu, Aruna Asaf Ali and Durga Bhabhi.

Satyawati took part in the Quit India Movement. She is also remembered for hoisting the Tricolour at the Clock Tower in Chandni Chowk despite the heavy police bandobast.

Loadshedding in Rohini, Narela

The NDPL today announced that electricity would not be available on January 25, January 26 and January 27 in different areas due to maintenance work in Rohini and Narela districts. The affected areas in Shalimar Bagh are Ayurvedic Hospital and staff quarters tomorrow from 10 am to 6 pm; on January 26, parts of A and B Block in Prashant Vihar from 10 am to 3 pm. On January 27, the affected areas will be parts of Sector 23 in Rohini, parts of Nangli Kushak number 1 and 2, Nathupura, Nathu Colony, Keshav Nagar, DCM Colony, Swaroop Nagar and parts of DA Block in Shalimar Bagh.

Children park near Jama Masjid

A children park on the lines of the Children Park at India Gate is being developed at Netaji Subhash Park, Jama Masjid in walled city. Chandni Chowk MP and Union Minister of State Vijay Goel has sanctioned Rs 41 lakh out of his MPLAD Fund for the development of the park. Mr Goel today inaugurated the development work of the park at a function organised at Netaji Subhash Park in front of the historical Jama Masjid.


Liquor vend robbed of cash, bottles
Our Correspondents

Sonepat, January 24
Some unidentified armed miscreants struck in a liquor vend at Larsauli village about 15 km from here last night and decamped with Rs 3,000 and a number of liquor bottles from it after injuring the owner Mr Ajmer.

According to a report, the owner was immediately rushed to the local civil hospital where he is stated to be out of danger. The police have registered the case and further investigations were in progress. A hunt is on to apprehend the culprits involved in this case.

The alleged assailants were identified as Mukesh and Kuldeep of the same village who, it is alleged, had demanded money from Ajmer but he refused.

Suicide by housewife

A 24-year-old housewife was reported to have committed suicide by taking sulphas tablets in her house at Mehlana village about 5 km from here last evening.

According to a report, a family quarrel is stated to be the cause of the suicide. The police have sent the body for the postmortem examination.

Chautala regime under fire

Rewari: Congress legislator Mrs Anita Yadav (Salhawas) and Rao Narender Singh (Ateli), joined by the National Congress Party (NCP) legislator Mr Jagjit Singh Sangwan (Dadri) and several other prominent Congress leaders, kicked off the party’s pre-poll campaign with a massive rally organised at Kosli, 30 km from here. Unequivocally denouncing the Chautala regime’s alleged misrule in Haryana, the legislators were also critical of the ‘anti-people’ policies of the Vajpayee government at the Centre.

Criticising the style of functioning of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Rao Narender Singh alleged that all Assembly constituencies, from where the Congress candidates had come out victorious in the previous vidhan-sabha polls, were being subjected to discrimination by the state government.

Furnishing the details of the alleged step-motherly treatment meted out to her own Salhawas constituency, Mrs Anita Yadav said that it was ironical that the Chautala government had been harping on the provision of 70 litres of potable water per head throughout the urban as well as rural areas of the state whereas the residents of Kosli station area and Matanhale village were constrained to purchase a pitcherful of water for two rupees.


Seven killed in Ghaziabad road accidents
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, January 24
There is no check on the rashly driven vehicles hurtling down Ghaziabad district roads.

Seven persons, including a young girl were crushed in accidents during the past 24 hours. Two youths among the victims could not be identified.

Two of the deceased were killed in Modi Nagar and one, 18-year-old Reena Kashyap, an employee of an export company in Noida also lost her life while she was on her way back home in Rahul Vihar on Friday evening.

She was crushed by a vehicle at Vijay Nagar after alighting from a bus. She died on the spot.

In another accident, two youths walking along a road were crushed by an unidentified vehicle in Prahalad Garhi village under Indirapuram police station. They could not be identified.

Shailender, 27, a Bihari youth from Nalinda was killed while he was on his way to his flour mill near Mohan Nagar. He was another victim of a hit and run vehicle. He also died on the spot.

Vinode, son of Karan Singh, of village Kajan Pur was going to Modi Nagar on foot.

He was hit by a roadways bus coming from the opposite side on the highway. The driver fled after the accident.

In village Andola, Sumeet, son of Jang Bahadur, was taking a cartload of sugarcane from Modi Nagar Sugar Mill. His cart was hit by a vehicle from behind, seriously injuring him. He later died in a nursing home.

Ranvir, resident of Dharampuri, and his friend Neetu were going on a motorcycle when they were crushed by a truck coming from behind.

Anshu Sharma along with his friend Kapil Gupta was going to Modi Nagar to procure some medicines.

Their bike was hit by a UP Roadways bus near Bhojpur. Anshu died on the spot while Kapil Gupta is admitted to a local hospital.

Mukesh Tyagi, son of Ghamandi Tyagi, died when his bike was hit by a roadways bus near Sahibabad market.


India International Garment Fair from Jan 28
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
More than 700 representatives from buying houses from India and abroad will showcase their best at the India International Garment Fair in the Capital next week.

Now in its 32nd year, the fair will have on display Autumn/ Winter 2004 –05 collections. The fair will be inaugurated by the Union Minister for Textiles, Mr. Shahnawaz Hussain, on the January 28 at Pragati Maidan. The fair is being organised under the Memorandum of Understanding between Apparel Export Promotion Council (APEC) and four garment associations, including the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India and Handloom Exporters Association.

As many as 195 exhibitors will put on display the latest and best in the garment section.

With participation from countries including Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Greece, visitors can view the best across the world.

Among the products, which will be put on display are cottons and blends, silks and velvets, woven and knits, lines and stripes, beads and streaks, embroidered and appliqué. Outerwear in various innovative designs, dresses and woolens will be part of the exhibition. An exclusive ‘Ludhiana Knitwear’ section has been included to promote knit garments.

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