N C R   S T O R I E S


Surajkund Mela
Bloated official figures don’t tally with tickets sold
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 17
The figures about the number of visitors to the Surajkund Crafts Mela, which concluded recently, seem to be exaggerated. The number of tickets sold during the fortnight-long fair do not tally with the numbers reeled out by the authorities on the last day.

The authorities, in a Press note issued after the prize distribution ceremony, claimed that about 4.5 lakh persons visited the fortnight-long mela. However, the figures furnished by the organisers daily about the number of tickets sold and the visitors to the mela fell short of the aforesaid claim. According to reports, the maximum number of tickets were sold on February 8 last, which happened to be a Sunday. The visitors on February 8 were pegged at 45,493, including 282 foreigners. But on many days the tourist arrival was not more than 10,000 and sometimes below it. On February 4, only 6,317 tourists visited the site, including 91 foreigners. Incidentally, these figures have been supplied by the organisers.

The average number of tourists on any given day comes to about 12,000 to 15000. If the aggregate of this average is taken, it works out to a little over two lakhs. The authorities may claim that there were many visitors who had free passes or had been given free passage due to extraneous reasons, but even the number of ‘freeloaders’ could not possibly exceed 50000. If this figure is added to the number of actual visitors, the total does not go beyond 2.75 lakhs.

As per figures furnished on a daily basis in this category, the actual number of freeloaders was around 2,000 only.

The average arrival works out to 118, with the largest number being given free passage on February 8 (282), as against only 73 on February 11.

Inflated figures about the number of foreign visitors are reeled out each year by the officials concerned. At the inauguration of the fair, a senior official of the Haryana Tourism had stated that about 30,000 foreign tourists had visited the fair last year; this was in response to a scribe’s query during the Press meet. It is learnt that certain officials had claimed before a media person recently that about seven lakh visitors had seen the Mela this year.


Priceless idols looted from Uttaranchal recovered
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 17
With the arrest of three suspects, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police today claimed to have recovered eight highly precious idols of archaeological value stolen from the government museum, Lakha Mandal Temple Complex, Chakrata, Dehradun, in Uttaranchal in December last year.

The suspects were identified as Harjit Singh, Dhan Prakash and Gurjit Singh. The suspects were arrested from Pitampura and the idols were recovered from a Scorpio. The Archaeological Survey of India, the CBI and the Uttaranchal police had been hunting for these highly precious and invaluable archaeological remains, the police said.

The Crime Branch’s Anti Homicide Section had received a tip-off that a group of thieves staying in different states was assembling near Power House, Pitampura, in search of customers for its highly precious cargo of idols. The Crime Branch constituted a team to recover the idols. The information was developed and on a tip-off today the team gheraoed three suspicious looking persons.

According to the police, initially the suspects professed to be innocent but later they were caught and the idols kept in the Scorpio were recovered. The vehicle was owned by Harjit Singh.

During interrogation, they disclosed that they, along with one Chaman Lal, had gone to Chakrata and visited the Lakha Mandal Temple Complex and the Government museum. The watchman told them about the idols and also mentioned that sometime back two idols worth more than Rs three crore in the international market were stolen from there.

This information inspired them to steal the idols. For this, they hired two Bawaria gang members, Ajay and Hukam, who managed to whisk away the idols. The idols belong to 7th or 8th century AD.


24 doctors face action for flouting govt ban
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 17
Twenty-four doctors of the State Health Department have been charge-sheeted by the authorities for violating its guidelines on prescription of branded drugs and medicines to patients. The state government had banned the prescription of branded drugs last year; it had also banned visits of medical representatives of pharmaceutical companies to government hospitals during duty hours.

This was disclosed by Haryana Health Minister M.L. Ranga at the three-day Health Mela, which concluded at Palwal yesterday.

The ban was clamped after it was learnt that doctors were prescribing expensive branded drugs for they were allegedly being bribed. It is learnt that the department has supplied a list of about 181 drugs of generic nature and instructed the doctors to prescribe such medicines only.

While it is stated that about 13,000 persons arrived at the Health Mela, it has been reported that many patients did not receive proper attention and medicines. The MLA from Palwal , Mr Karan Singh Dalal, has described the camp as only a publicity stunt. It was the easiest way to spend the funds received from Centre, especially when the elections were round the corner.

While nearly all civil hospitals and health centres in the state were facing a shortage of doctors and paramedical staff, the authorities have claimed that about 388 new doctors had been recruited in recent times and another 80 doctors would be employed soon.


Cops fail to respond to wanton killings in street
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 17
The gruesome murder of two cousins-Krishan and Naresh- in village Salimsar Majra on Sunday morning by more than a dozen armed gangsters has not only left the two families in a state of shock, but it has also put a question mark on the readiness of the police.

As recounted by the villagers, when murder convict and proclaimed offender Anil, along with other accomplices, was targeting the victims and firing indiscriminately in the street, a number of phone calls were made to the police and to the offices of media persons. “Had the police reached on time, at least one life would have been saved and the assailants would not have escaped,” they lamented, adding that the Mohana police station was hardly 4 to 5 km from the village.

“There was a gap of nearly 20-25 minutes between the two murders and it was enough to nab the assailants, either in the village or on their escape route,” the villagers opined.

Anil, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in a case of murder of Surender, brother of Naresh, on May 15,2000, was released on parole for six weeks on November 14 last on the directions of the court. However, when he did not return to the jail on December 27, the jail superintendent lodged a complaint against him on January 10 and Anil was declared a proclaimed offender. Though Naresh continued to live in the village, neither the police arrested him nor the villagers informed the cops about his presence in the village.

The victim, Krishan, is survived by wife Geeta and four children – a son, who is studying in the seventh standard, and three daughters, who are studying in B.A., 11th and 10th class, respectively. The family sustained itself on agriculture, but now there is no one to till the land.

Likewise, Naresh had four brothers. Rajender and Ramesh died of snake bite, Suresh has been missing for the last many years, since he left the village, and Surender was allegedly murdered by Anil about four year back. Now, Naresh has also been eliminated.

Anil, in turn, is survived by his aged mother, wife Bhagwati and five children -three daughters and two sons, all aged between 10 and 20. All the children are studying.

In the meantime, the police have deputed three teams to nab the Criminals; the teams have raided Anil’s suspected hideouts in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.


DDA learns its proposed games village belongs
to UP Govt 
Our Correspondent

Noida, February 17
A sprawling 34-hectare plot, identified by a Delhi Development Authority team for the development of the proposed Commonwealth Games village, it turns out, is under the revenue authority of UP. A part of the land has already been made available for the Achhardham temple, under construction near Noida Mode.

The Commonwealth Games village can now be developed on the residue land. The DDA has already requested the UP government for control of this land, it is reliably learnt. The DDA had got a survey done on the eastern side of National High way No. 24 for the development of the Commonwealth Games village. During the survey, it came to light that the 34- hectare land, stretching from National Highway No.8 towards Vikas Marg along the bank on National Highway No 24, belonged to UP govt. 


DUTA raises decibel against VC
Smriti Kak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 17
There is a steady surge in the disapproval of the functioning of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Deepak Nayyar, of the Delhi University with the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) announcing a one-day strike on February 20 to register their protest.

In an emergency meeting held here yesterday, the DUTA Executive decided to launch a “protracted movement” against the Vice Chancellor’s “dictatorial functioning”.

It was alleged that “to suit his personal agenda,” the Vice Chancellor, instead of complying with the regulations laid down by the UGC vis-ŕ-vis the composition of the selection committees for the post of principal and lecturers, has adopted the “regulations laid down for private colleges”.

“Prof. Nayyar has misled everyone, including the Visitor (President of India) to the university. He has adopted the rules laid for private colleges, not for Central universities like DU”, said Sanjay Tyagi, Treasurer, DUTA. He went on to add, “The selection committee composition put forth by the Vice Chancellor is undemocratic and there are chances of all appointments becoming political or biased”.

The members allege that the “VC has not acted as per the desire of the Visitor and has manipulated the amendment of the Ordinances XVIII and XX of the Delhi University. The Visitor had, in his letter through the MHRD dated January 7, 2004, asked the VC to amend the ordinance in consonance with the UGC regulations”. “There is no mention of an apex committee required for the selection of principals in the VC’s proposed ordinance, nor is there any mention of the Head of Department in case of a lecturer’s selection”, said Tyagi, adding “We have now sought an appointment with the Visitor himself”.

The teachers’ body is agitated over what they allege is the Vice Chancellor’s “ discriminatory approach”. They allege that Prof. Nayyar has not only erred in refusing to comply with the High Court orders on the installation of Prof. Bidyut Chakravarty as the Head of Department of Political Science, he has also displayed “bias” in the reemployment of some teachers. The recent re-employment of some teachers has also led to unrest. “There is no transparent procedure for the selection of teachers seeking re-employment. The whole process is arbitrary and some teachers, who have a number of research papers to their credit, have been denied re-employment”, said Tyagi.


Power theft
SC wants enforcement officers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 17
Taking a serious view of the rampant theft of electricity in the Capital, the Supreme Court today said the Centre should delegate necessary power to the Government of NCT of Delhi for appointment of officers empowered to take action against offenders under Electricity Act, 2003.

A Bench comprising justices Ruma Pal and PV Reddi, during the hearing of a public interest litigation on the power situation in the Capital, said the Centre could issue the necessary notification delegating power in this regard to the Government of NCT of Delhi.

It was pointed out by Amicus Curiae Ranjit Kumar that despite privatisation of power distribution in the Capital, non-appointment of Inspectors and Assessing Officers under Section 126 of the Act has led to a vacuum in the implementation of the law to stop power thefts.

He had also brought to the court’s notice that a whopping 50 per cent of the generated power in the Capital was being lost due to theft, leading to frequent load-sheddings.

The court also issued a notice to the Registrar of Delhi High Court when the Government of NCT of Delhi said that it had moved a proposal for creation of special courts to deal with offences under the Act. At present, only two Metropolitan Magistrates have been designated to try offences under the Act.

The court, while adjourning the hearing till second week of March, directed the power distribution companies to give the estimated incidence of power theft in the city areas in one year.


Record of sorts: Bus driver rams into five vehicles

New Delhi: A rash private bus driver reportedly hit five vehicles near the Inderpuri red light, in which five persons were injured, one of them seriously. The injured have been admitted to a hospital. The driver of the bus, Shiv Prasad Verma, has been also hospitalised. The inured were identified as Naresh, Prem Hans, Ram Avtar, Sachin and Sushma, the police said. TNS


Bank employee seeks justice from authorities against overbearing police
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 17
An officer of the Central Cooperative Bank at Gohana has sought justice from higher authorities against the police atrocities and has threatened to take the matter to the bank unions if no action was taken against the police officials of the Sadar police station Gohana.

Talking to mediapersons at Gohana on Sunday, the Bank Officer, Mr Jaipal Singh Shastri, stated that on last February 3, the police help was sought in writing for bringing cash from the State Bank of Patiala, Gohana, and for recovery of the bank loans from the villagers. Sepoy Priyavart was deputed for duty by the Sadar police station.

According to Mr Shastri, he, along with Sepoy Priyavart, went to Bhanswal Kalan and Anwali villages in the bank’s vehicle and picked up three defaulters from village Anwali. After lodging the defaulters in jail, he went to the Sadar police station for dropping Sepoy Priyavart in the evening around 7 pm, he added.

Mr Shastri alleged that no sooner he reached in the police station, the SHO, Mr Bijender Singh Balhara, ASI Pravesh Kumar and Munshi Dharambir started abusing and beating him and not only kept him confined for around two hours but also removed Rs 3,880 from his pocket.

He informed that he had written to the Commissioner and Secretary Cooperative Department, Registrar Cooperative Societies, Managing Director of the Central Cooperative Bank, Deputy Commissioner, Superintendent of Police, SDM Gohana and DSP Gohana for action against the police personnel and recovery of the amount taken out from his pocket.

“If the action was not taken against the police personnel, I will be compelled to take help of the bank unions to start agitation,” he said.

On the other hand, SHO Bijender Singh has denied the allegations of Jaipal Singh Shastri.


Awareness drive makes little difference to decibel level on Diwali
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 17
Bursting the general feeling that awareness drives have curbed burning of crackers, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has come out with a cracker of information before the Supreme Court–in most of the residential areas the noise level was double that of the prescribed limit during last Diwali.

Submitting a status report on the noise level on October 25, 2003–the Diwali day– through advocate Vijay Panjwani, the Board said this while unveiling its test results taken at eight locations–Ansari Nagar, Kidwai Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, New Friends Colony, East Arjun Nagar, Connaught Place, India Gate, Mayur Vihar, Patel Nagar, Kamla Nagar, Dilshad Garden and Pusa Road.

It said that the noise level ranged from 69 to 90 decibels on the Diwali day of 2003 as against the noise level of 66 to 82 decibels on the Diwali day in 2002.

The CPCB standards of permissible noise level limit during the daytime are 55 decibels while the same for night is 45 decibels.

On the Diwali last year, the maximum noise level in the night was recorded at New Friends Colony, which touched 117 decibels followed by Kamla Nagar and Lajpat Nagar, both booming at 109 decibels. Except for Patel Nagar and India Gate, all other areas clocked over 100 decibels.

The least that could be done to curb the noise and air pollution due to bursting of crackers was to promote community bursting of crackers rather than celebrating the festival individually, the Board said and suggested that local area authorities should identify designated places.


Committee redresses all grievances
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 17
Perhaps it was for the first time in the history of the meetings of the monthly district public relations and grievances committee in the district that the committee not only solved the 10-listed complaints, but also redressed the grievances of other 20 complaint on Saturday.

In the absence of the State Agriculture Minister Jaswinder Sandhu, who has been designated as the Chairman of the committee, the new Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. R. Anand presided over the meeting. It is also interesting that the Agriculture Minister has not attended the last four meetings of the committee.

On the complaint of the farmer Tale Ram of village Jhari that the released chemically polluted water from the distillery unit located in the village fields, had destroyed standing crops in 10 bighas of his field, the DC directed the pollution control board authorities to carry out spot inspection and submit report to the committee.

When the residents of Dalit Basti in village Kheri Dahiya complaint about the disrupted power supply in their locality, the DC ordered the Bijli Nigam authorities to ensure proper power supply at the earliest.


Four panchayat members quit
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, February 17
Four members of the panchayat in Tamaspura village of the district resigned from their post in protest against corrupt functioning and high-handed attitude towards the panches today. Furnishing separate affidavits to the Deputy Commissioner here today, these panches, Virmati, Taramati, Ramniwas and Jagpal, alleged that the sarpanch of the village Rajender Singh has been indulged in several corrupt and unconstitutional practices including misuse of public funds and encroachment of panchayat land by his supporters. They alleged that the sarpanch prepares regulations by putting fake signatures and thumb impressions of the panches to put his misdeeds under wraps.


SP to probe fake court order
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 17
The Superintendent of Police, Sonepat, Mr Kuldip Singh Sihag, was deputed to conduct a probe into the fake order issued from the court of Mr J S Jangra, Additional Sessions Judge, Sonepat, for the release of three prisoners.

The three prisoners were identified as Jatinder and Satinder, both of Mehndipur village and Dinesh of Beedhal village, who were facing trial in criminal cases.

According to a report, the three prisoners had been shifted from Sonepat district jail to Kaithal district jail on January 29. The jail authorities had received the release order of two undertrials, including that of Jatinder, from the court of Mr J S Jangra, Additional Sessions Judge, Sonepat.

The fake order was detected when the jail authorities contacted the court.


Federation honours Encyclopedia Britannica

New Delhi: Encyclopedia Britannica was presented two top awards for excellence in book production by the Federation of Indian Publishers. While one award has been given in the ‘Reference Category’ for the Encyclopedia of Hindi Category the other award is in the ‘Regional Category’ for Malayalam Concise Encyclopedia.

The Encyclopedia of Hindi Cinema is an exhaustive attempt to capture the enigmatic past of the Indian cinema, presenting a holistic view of the lineage of the cultural heritage. The book also includes biographies of eminent film personalities. TNS


NCR briefs
High Court turns down bail plea of Sharda Jain
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 17
The Delhi High Court today rejected the interim bail pleas of Sharda Jain, the prime accused in Congress Councillor Atma Ram Gupta murder case, and her brother and co-accused Raj Kumar.

The two had sought bail to attend on February 18 and 19 the remembrance ceremony of their father, who died on February 4 in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh.

Justice O P Dwivedi dismissed the petitions after he was informed that on verification it was found that the ceremony had already taken place yesterday. The prosecution also apprehended that the accused may ‘’tamper’’ with evidence if they were enlarged on bail. Gupta was murdered in Chajjupura village in Ghaziabad district on August 24, 2002, shortly after he and Sharda Jain left together after attending the Congress rally at Ferozeshah Kotla Grounds here.

Need to revive Vedic values in education system stressed 

Gurgaon: Speaking at the concluding session of a national level conference on ‘The Vedic Values in Education for a Harmonious Society,’ Dr L. M. Singhvi, member of Rajya Sabha, stressed the need to revive the Vedic values in our education system so that our youths are enlightened. The conference was organised by the Arya Pradeshik Pratinidhi Sabha and the DAV College managing committee at DAV School, Sector 14, Gurgaon, here yesterday.

The programme marked the birth anniversary of Swami Dayanand, the founder of Arya Samaj, who devoted his life to dispelling orthodox views that crippled the society. A detail report containing suggestions and teaching methodology arising out of the deliberations would be presented to the Ministry of Human Resource Development so as to incorporate them in the education system across the country.

Smuggled liquor seized

Sonepat: The Sadar police, Gohana, intercepted a Tata Sumo carrying English wine and registered cases against two persons under the Excise Act. According to a report, the police seized 552 bottles of English wine in 46 boxes. The arrested persons were identified as Om and Ashok of Khanpur village and the police have registered a case under the Excise Act against them. One of the culprits, identified as Ashok, however, managed to escape from the police custody.

3 sentenced to 7-year RI

The Additional Sessions Judge of Sonepat, Mr J. S. Jangra, convicted three accused under Sections 394 and 412 IPC and sentenced them to seven years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 2,000 each or in default to undergo further six months rigorous imprisonment for looting.

The three accused persons were identified as Vinod, Sandeep, both of Kasandi village and Subhash of Rubhra village.

They were sentenced for looting Mr Ram Niwas Gaur, an incharge of the Departmental Telegraph Office (DTO) and a resident of New Jiwan Nagar. OC


Delhi digest
‘India Shining’ campaign flayed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 17
The Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress has donated Rs 420 from the proceeds of a shoe shining campaign to the Prime Minister Relief Fund. Its office bearers and members assembled at Connaught Place and polished shoes to highlight the plight of the educated unemployed and also to expose the ‘India Shining’ campaign of the BJP.

On the occasion, the Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress President, Mr Rajesh Lilothia, said the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was disinvesting the public sector companies and diminishing the scope of opportunity of employment even as failing to keep its promise of generating several crores of jobs for the youth.

“The Vajpayee government has Rs 250 crore to spend on its ‘India Shining’ campaign but nothing for the unemployed youths who are committing suicide every second day…..the policies of the Vajpayee government are frustrating the youths,” Mr Lilothia said in a statement released to the media.

Inspector commits suicide

An Inspector in Central Excise office, identified as Rakesh (32), reportedly committed suicide by shooting himself with his service revolver in his house at Custom Flat, Kaka Nagar. The victim took the extreme step after he had a heated argument with his wife, the police said.

In another incident, a polio patient suffering from depression, identified as Raj Kumar (28), reportedly committed suicide by jumping from the first floor of his house in Pushp Vihar last night.

The deceased was suffering from depression, as he was unemployed. He was taken to the AIIMS where doctors on duty declared him brought dead, the police said.

Demonstration in civil defence

In a bid to create greater awareness among citizens, the Delhi civil defence of central district organised a demonstration in civil defence and safety exercise at the Nav Hind Girls Senior Secondary School, Rohtak Road. The deputy director of civil defence, Mr A.S. Toor, was chief guest on the occasion. A large number of members and office bearers of the Delhi civil defence turned up on the occasion.


Prostitution racket busted in Preet Vihar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 17
The East district police today claimed to have busted a prostitution racket being run in the shadow of a beauty parlour in Preet Vihar. The police arrested three prostitutes from ‘Akarshit Beauty Parlour’ at Aditya Building, C-Block, Preet Vihar.

The Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dinesh Kumar Gupta, received a tip-off that a prostitution racket was being run from a beauty parlour in Aditya Building by a woman. The police laid a trap and conducted a raid in the presence of large number of people. Among the three women apprehended, two were married.

During interrogation, it was disclosed that the prostitution racket was conducted from the beauty parlour in order to make easy money. They confessed that they trapped needy girls through colourful advertisements. A number of mobile phones were seized from their possession, the police said.

Constable arrested

The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi Government today arrested a Constable of the Delhi Police posted in R.K. Puram police station for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 1,200 from a tea vendor. The Constable was identified as Chander Bhan.

The complainant, identified as Rakesh Kumar Dubey, reported to the ACB that the Constable demanded a bribe of Rs 1,500 to allow him to set up a teashop at Somdutt Chambers, Bhikaji Cama Place.

The sleuths of the ACB laid a trap and arrested the Constable red-handed accepting Rs 1,200 as bribe, said the DCP (ACB), Mr Bhairon Singh Gurjar.

High-tension wire thieves held

The South-West district police today arrested four high tension wire thieves from Jaffarpur Kalan.

They were identified as Pawan Kumar Garg, Ram Balak Mehato, Mahesh Kushwaha and Rajesh Yadav. They were involved in stealing high-tension government wire from various villages and colonies of the Capital. A loaded country-made pistol, a self-activated knife, a stolen scooter and wire weighing more than 5-6 quintals were recovered from their possession, the police said.


Two students killed

Sonepat: Two engineering students were killed when a motorcycle on which they were travelling rammed into a truck on the G T Road near Nathupur village, about 15 km from here yesterday.

According to a report, the victims were identified as Nishant Kumar of Roorki village and Surinderpal Singh of Ghaziabad (UP), who were going from Karnal to Ghaziabad.

According to report, the motorcycle rammed into the truck when the driver suddenly applied the brakes.

The truck driver managed to escape after the accident. The police have registered the case and have launched a hunt to apprehend him. The police have sent the bodies of the victims for the postmortem examination. It is stated that both the victims were students of an engineering college at Noida. OC

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