N C R   S T O R I E S


Research projects held up over animal rights issues?
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19
The Delhi High Court has directed the Committee for Prevention, Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals to respond to allegations that about 200 research projects at AIIMS involving experiments on animals were held up and awaiting its clearance.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice B C Patel and Justice B D Ahmed, ordered the committee to respond within three weeks to an application claiming that research projects, funded by international organisations like WHO, and theses of students were suffering due to delay in clearance by the CPCSE.

The delay was despite the fact that the projects have already been cleared by the Institutional Animals Ethics Committee at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences, which had a nominee of the CPCSE in it, it was stated.

The application also challenged the Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules and its amendments, contending that it violated the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals Act 1960, because it allows experiments on animals for medical research while the rules framed by the committee imposed curbs.

It also wanted to know what were the educational and technical qualifications of the members of CPCSE and what was the mode for their appointment.

There was a need to balance animal rights with the requirements of medical research, the court observed. Earlier, the high court had stayed the operation of a letter from the CPCSE threatening to close an AIIMS laboratory housing animals, if certain conditions imposed by the committee were not complied with.

The court was hearing a petition, filed by three AIIMS professors belonging to the Physiology and Pharmacology Department.

A division bench had also issued notices to the government, the committee and two experts nominated by the committee, asking why the petition should not be admitted.

The petition said the 1998 and 2001 (Amendment) Rules were formulated even while the 1968 Rules existed. The 1998 and 2001 Rules also exceeded the powers given under the Act and were prohibitory in nature, it added.

Whereas the Act says that nothing contained in it would render unlawful experiments conducted on animals for the purpose of advancement of physiological knowledge or which would be useful for saving and prolonging the lives of human beings, animals or plants, the Rules say that any experiment conducted without prior approval of the committee would be illegal, it said.

The petition also opposed the delegation of powers by the committee to two veterinary expert nominees, as there was no such provision either in the Act or the Rules. The petitioner, through their counsel Mukul Gupta, said the Committee, chaired by Ms. Maneka Gandhi, had asked for unreasonable facilities like air conditioners and backup power units for the animal lab to be set up within six months, failing which it could be closed.

Mr Gupta added that the existing facility, in fact, had already received the sanction of the AIIMS Institutional Animals Ethics Committee, which had been created in accordance with the Rules and had one representative of the committee.

The committee was withholding sanction to the lab on the plea that its facility was not up to standard. This smacked of malafide intention, he said.


MCD chief hints at new building bylaws
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19
The Municipal Commissioner, Mr. Rakesh Mehta, today said that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which maintains most areas of the Capital, needs to formulate new building bylaws and promote transparency in their implementation as the existing bylaws were outdated. (These bylaws were laid down two decades back).

The Municipal Commissioner said that the existing bylaws applied to all parts of the city, even though it had grown in size in its historical progression since the Mughal era. In reality, there were many Delhis, which coexist. For example, there is the walled city, a relic of a bygone era; the Lutyens’ Delhi, a legacy of the British; and then there is the city that the DDA has developed since the 60s.

Besides, there were the large number of unauthorised colonies. There are also 135 urbanised villages.

He said that the existing bylaws, which were laid down in 1983, attempted to impose western building norms on the walled city, urbanized villages and unauthorised colonies. However, this attempt had proved to be a fiasco. The bylaws define the depth of rooms, the light source, height of bathrooms etc. Getting a building approved was a tortuous job as a number of formalities had to be fulfilled; so, generally people do not bother about bylaws.

Before new bylaws can be laid down, many other things need to be debated such as the relationship between the Master Plan, the Zonal Plans and the Building Bylaws. Since 1990 the Environment Protection Act is being enforced, but it does not reflect in the existing bylaws; nor do they find a mention in the DMC Act.

The municipal commissioner disclosed that 35 PILs had been filed in connection with unauthorised constructions, which was one reason for need to form new building bylaws.

He claimed that the new bylaws will take care of the citizens of the Capital; they will be transparent, preserve the green character of the Capital and its heritage. The bylaws will help Delhi rise to international standards, encourage the development of decaying parts of the city, so that they could be rejuvenated, and enable the use of high technology in urban areas.

The commissioner also assured that no action would be taken against buildings which had not adhered to the bylaws.


city scan
Cable theft bid plunges E Delhi in darkness

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19
Several parts of East Delhi eked it out without power from 0200 hours to 1130 hours today due to the snapping of conductors in the Kondli Dallupura 66 KV line circuit.

The reason: The supply was hit by an attempted theft. The thieves had cut the cables and were attempting to remove the conductor when the BSES repair team reached the site; however, the thieves fled, leaving the area wallowing in darkness. Later, the areas were back fed by an alternate source.

Speaking about the problem, Rakesh Aggarwal, Chief Executive, BSES Discoms, said, “We are working on a war footing to ensure normalization of supply to the affected area. Such incidents of cable theft are tantamount to vandalism of public property. Active cooperation from the public would be of tremendous assistance in combating the menace of cable theft, which troubles thousands of consumers.”

The areas effected in East Delhi due to the attempted cable theft were Ashok Nagar, Vasundhara, Express Society, Abul Fazal Society. AIIMS Society, Dainik Jagaran Society, Highland Society, Manavsthali, Mayur Vihar - Blocks - A,B,C and D — and other surrounding areas.

The cable theft has put the entire administration on the alert.


NDPL receives ISO certificate

New Delhi, April 19
The North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) today announced that it has received the ISO 9001:2000 certificate for its quality management system from Det Norsek Veritas (DNV). The ISO standard is an internationally recognised quality management system developed by the International Organised of Standardization, Geneva.

The Quality Management system certificate was bestowed on NDPL for services rendered by the engineering, projects, information technology groups of technical services department. According to Anil Kumar Sardana, CEO, NDPL: “The ISO 9001:2000 certificate serves as an impartial and public appraisal of the quality of services NDPL benchmarks and provides us with guidelines to ensure 100 per cent system reliability.” TNS


Bodies of kids found stuffed in carton at rly station

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19
There was a major flutter this morning at the New Delhi Railway Station, when highly decomposed bodies of two children in the 6-9 age group were found in a cardboard carton. The carton was abandoned in the mini passenger hall on the Paharganj side by a middle-aged couple last evening, which was found by the staff of the railways. The police said that both the bodies had ligature marks on the neck; possibly the children had been strangulated to death. The bodies were spotted by the staff at around 10.30 am, wrapped in a polythene bag inside the carton.

The sniffer dog squad and fingerprint experts were called in and the bodies were later sent for the post-mortem examination to the Subzi Mandi mortuary. The police said that one child, who was around six years, was found wearing a half pant and blue shirt while the other one, around nine years, was wearing a khaki full pant, a checked shirt and a kara.

A large number of curious onlookers thronged the mini passenger hall after the bodies were discovered and the police cordoned off the area to facilitate investigations.

The police said that the real picture would emerge only after the postmortem report was available. A police officer said that from the condition of the bodies it was very difficult to immediately assess whether the children belonged to an affluent family or were of rural background. It was also not possible to immediately ascertain if they were siblings.


Unreserved ticketing system extended to 31 locations in Delhi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19
The Northern Railway has extended the unreserved ticketing system to 31 locations in the national Capital, spelling relief to a major segment of passengers who travel in unreserved compartments, an official spokesman release said today.

The new locations are New Delhi, Delhi, Nizamuddin, Okhla, Delhi Shahdara, Vivek Vihar, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, Naya Ghaziabad, Daya Basti, Delhi Sadar Bazar, Delhi Kishan Ganj, Vivekanand Puri, Mangolpuri, Subzimandi, Delhi Azadpur, Naya Azadpur, Badli, Shivaji Bridge, Tilak Bridge, Sarojini Nagar, Faridabad, Faridabad New Town, Ballabgarh, Palwal, Delhi Sarai Rohilla, Delhi Cantonment, Gurgaon and Tughlakabad.

The facility is already available in 33 location in the Delhi area. Under the system, unreserved tickets can be purchased three days in advance from the booking counters that will remain open 24 hours. Facilities for refunds and cancellations are available according to rules.

The system offers great advantage to the unreserved rail passengers as it enables advance planning of unreserved journey, the spokesman said.


BJP will fail to win a seat in Haryana: Chautala
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 19
Signaling the end of the BJP in Haryana, the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, predicted that the BJP would not be able to win a single seat in the Lok Sabha elections in the state. Addressing an election rally at Rithal village, about 50 km from here yesterday, he said the BJP would be eliminated from the political scene in Haryana as it had no base in the rural areas.

The electorate in the urban areas was also fed up with the BJP, as the party had failed to live up to their expectations, he added.

He was confident that the INLD candidate, Mrs Krishna Malik, would win the Lok Sabha elections from Sonepat as she was successful in getting the support from the people of all the communities in her constituency.

Referring to the construction of the SYL canal in the Punjab territory, Mr Chautala reiterated that it would be completed at all costs despite the failure of the Central government to get it completed.

He alleged that the Congress party had failed to support the various steps taken by the Haryana Government on the issue. The Congress was bent upon opposing him for the sake of opposition on the SYL canal issue, he added.

He said that the Congress party was faction-ridden in the state as more than a dozen leaders in the state wanted to become the Chief Minister of Haryana.

It is unthinkable that such as faction-ridden party would be able to serve the common people, he added.

Reacting sharply to the Opposition speculation about the fall of his government after the Lok Sabha elections, Mr Chautala reiterated that it would fulfil its five-year term.

The Assembly elections would be held on schedule (March 2005). He said his government was based on strong foundation and all his party legislators have expressed their confidence in his leadership.

Mr Chautala appealed to the electorate to vote in favour of the party nominee so that it could safeguard their interests. The party nominee, he said, was a social activist working for the society in general and women in particular.


The bahu is back to claim the beti’s rights
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19
Claiming to be the ‘beti’ of the national Capital, the famed ‘bahu’ of the idiot box, Smriti Irani, chose to give an insight into her blueprint, should she be elected to Parliament from the Chandni Chowk constituency.

Apart from calling for a “national debate on the issue of foreign origin,” Ms. Irani also spoke on how she would address the “congestion in Chandni Chowk” and would “get residents and traders to sit together and hammer solutions that will be binding on bureaucrats.”

Ms. Irani, who is contesting against Congress’ Kapil Sibal, refuted allegations that she is an outsider in Delhi. “I was born in Delhi and spent 22 years of my life here, so where is the question of my being an outsider”, she questioned.

Aware that she is being pitted as “a desi bahu” against the “videshi bahu”, Ms. Irani, taking a cue from the Prime Minister, took refuge in the plea for a “dignified debate”.

The 28-year-old actress called for a national debate on the issue of foreign origin of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in a ‘’dignified manner’’. She said the issue of a ‘videshi bahu’ or any other such person holding a top post in the country was an important one needing a national debate, but it was also important how the matter was raised.

‘’As the Prime Minister has already said, a public debate should be initiated, but at the same time care should be taken that it was done in a dignified manner,’’ she said while addressing a Press conference, the first after her nomination here.

Asserting that her new role will not be neglected, the star of the soap, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, told reporters that she would cut down on her work for TV serials once she was elected to the Lok Sabha.

‘’My commitment to the BJP is very serious. And I want to work for the party and the country with all my heart and soul,’’ said Ms. Irani. To further her claims of becoming a “serious MP”, she said, she would unlike her character on the tube “become impatient to get the work done”.

When asked whether she would use her goody image of a homebody to strike a chord with the masses, particularly the women, Irani retorted that she “doesn’t believe in exploiting relations”.

Exuding confidence, Ms. Irani told media persons to watch out for her; she would “be among the three people who have the highest attendance in the House”.

Taking on her rival, Mr Kapil Sibal, Ms Irani said she was not afraid of her Congress rival in Chandni Chowk, “In fact, I am proud to be pitted against a veteran Congressman. I am also proud to be probably the youngest candidate in this election”.

In the same breath she also refuted the allegation that her candidature from Chandni Chowk had been opposed by senior BJP leaders, including Ms. Sushma Swaraj.

‘’In fact, it is she who had blessed me when I was campaigning for the BJP candidates in Assembly elections and she has blessed me this time also,’’ she asserted.

Delhi BJP chief Dr Harshvardhan justified her selection for Chandni Chowk as part of its (BJP’s) commitment to give more representation to women and youth. He said in her real life, Ms Irani was more ideal than the ideal ‘saas’ and ‘bahu’ she is playing in the TV serial.

The Delhi BJP chief said she was very much a daughter of Delhi who had gone to Mumbai as ‘bahu’ but has now come back to claim her rights of ‘beti’.


Poll arena
BJP’s ‘feel-good’ campaign misleading: Rajesh Khanna

Tribune New Service

New Delhi, April 19
Superstar of yesteryears’ Rajesh Khanna today tried to justify Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin, relying on his characteristic rhetoric. Canvassing for the Congress candidate, Mr Ajay Maken, Mr Khanna dismissed the issue, saying, “Ghar mein beti hoti hein, bahu to bahar se hi aati hein (daughter belongs to the house while daughter-in-law comes from outside).”

Playing to the gallery, he then went on to attack the BJP for “misleading” the electorate with its ‘feel-good’ campaign and demanding a “punishment” for BJP’s “callousness towards the poor”.

Mr Khanna also flayed the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, for taking senior party leader Lalji Tandon along with him while filing his nomination papers from the Lucknow seat. Mr Khanna was the second screen star to address the crowd. Earlier, Suresh Oberoi campaigned in favour of the BJP’s Delhi Sadar candidate, Mr Vijay Goel.

Meanwhile, for former Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Sahib Singh Verma, chose to highlight the “murder of democracy by the Congress”. Addressing a meeting in Nassempur constituency, Mr Singh said the Congress, through dynastic rule, was trying to stifle democracy in the country. Claiming that his tenure as the Chief Minister and also as a Member of the Parliament has been fruitful for Delhi, especially the outer Delhi parliamentary constituency, he said the Congress had never managed to the same.

Mr Singh spoke of the network of road laid in outer Delhi and the various provisions that he provided to the residents of the illegal colony.

The campaign of the BJP candidate from Karol Bagh, Ms Anita Arya, saw actor Mukesh ‘Shaktimaan’ Khanna highlight the virtues of the Vajpayee government.

Addressing a public meeting in Manakpura Subzi Mandi, Mr Khanna said the BJP under Vajpayee had accomplished in five years what the Congress has not achieved in the last 50 years.

Lashing out at her opponent, Arya said the Congress candidate, who also represents Baljeet Nagar, has not been able to achieve any significant milestone in her constituency. Ms Arya also inaugurated an election office in Patel Nagar zone this morning, and began a padyayatra, which ended at Ranjeet Nagar.

The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president, Chaudhary Prem Singh, addressed two gatherings, one at Ambedkar Jayanti at Hodal and the second at Raghubir Nagar in the South Delhi constituency.

Speaking at Hodal, Mr Singh dwelt on the life and contributions made by Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar for the uplift of the downtrodden. He said that it was because of his efforts that the Dalits were unified as a major force so as to secure their rights.

Mr Singh said that freedom would be incomplete till the Dalits were given their due share in our society.


Sangwan’s Z security raises hackles
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 19
The former minister and HVP candidate, Mr Jagbir Singh Malik, has taken strong exception to furnishing of “Z” security to BJP candidate Kishan Singh Sangwan and alleged that it was a political stunt. He further alleged that it was an attempt to give an impression to the voters that there was a threat to his (Sangwan’s) life from the chief minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

Addressing a Press conference, Mr Malik remarked that Mr Sangwan had not received any threat from any quarter; even a case of simple quarrel had not been registered against him. He wanted to know why Mr Sangwan had not demanded security before the elections.

Before the campaigning began, he pointed out, Mr Sangwan did not hesitate to avail the facilities extended by the government and the administration. He would get all his jobs done, for instance, issuing of NOCs.

“Mr Sangwan and his party were equally responsible for giving a free hand to Om Prakash Chautala. They had allowed him to pursue anti-people and anti-farmer policies by never raising their voice against these measures,’’ he alleged. Mr Malik charged that the government machinery was misused during the canvassing for INLD candidate Krishna Malik, whose DGP husband, currently on leave, had been camping in Delhi’s villages to exert pressure on the police personnel and the trading community. “As he is on leave he should come in the open and ask for votes,” he added.


Semi-final for Assembly polls?
Our Correspondent

Rewari, April 19
The senior Congress leader and party candidate from Mahendergarh parliamentary constituency Rao Inderjit Singh has stated that the ensuing Lok Sabha elections in Haryana were virtually a semi-final for the Congress party in its run-up to the coming Haryana Vidhan Sabha polls.

He made this statement while addressing party workers soon after the inauguration of his election office here today. Exhorting the workers to put in their sincere, strenuous and unified efforts to win this semi-final with flying colours, he said that a resounding victory in almost all the ten parliamentary constituencies of the state alone would pave the way for a grand finale. He said that when the people, who were fully fed up with the misrule of the Chautala regime, wanted a total change in Haryana; they would have to target the assembly elections too in advance.

Launching a scathing attack on the anti-people policies and programmes earlier pursued by the Vajpayee government, Mr Rao also exhorted the workers to efficaciously counter the BJP’s diatribe against the “foreign origin” of the Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi. He also called upon the workers to encash the “goodwill and gusto” recently generated by Sonia Gandhi’s roadshow which, he asserted, had boosted the morale of the people and also tended to assuage the ferocity of the repression and intimidation unleashed by the Chautala regime. OC


Central observers to oversee elections in Faridabad
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 19
Two of the three central observers appointed by the Election Commission to oversee the poll process in the Faridabad parliamentary constituency have arrived here. The third observer is expected to arrive by tomorrow morning.

According to the officials, Mr S. Bhale Rao and Mr S.P.Nanda, both I.A.S, reached the town this morning and have been lodged at the NTPC guesthouse.

While Mr Rao belongs to Andhra Pradesh, Mr Nanda is from the Orissa cadre. They will work as the general observers.

The authorities have provided a telephone number (2401830) at the guesthouse for any one who wish to contact them in case of any irregularity in the election process.

The third observer, Mr Shubh Chintan, an IRS officer, will be arriving by tomorrow morning.

Mr Chintan will be looking after the poll expenditure of the various candidates during the elections. It may be recalled that the Election Commission has set the upper limit of the poll expense of a candidate at Rs 25 lakh. Mr Chintan will also be staying at the NTPC guesthouse.

Meanwhile, the district election authorities have set up a ‘helpline’ for the benefit of the voters during the polls.

Anybody who wish to know about their respective polling booth and other relevant information regarding the polls could contact the ‘helpline’ numbers during the working hours.

While one number (2432968) has been provided at the SDM’s office in sector- 21-C, two other contact numbers(2433593 and 2286199) have been made available at the district election office and at the NIT area respectively.


Every third polling booth in Meerut is sensitive
Our Correspondent

Meerut, April 19
With every third polling booth in the Meerut division being declared as sensitive, the administration faces a mighty challenge in the form of conducting free, fair and peaceful elections in the division.

In western Uttar Pradesh, 20 seats will go to polls on May 10, and every third polling booth of the six districts of the Meerut division has been declared sensitive.

Meerut division includes Meerut, Bulandshahar, Ghaziabad, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur. Muzaffarnagar has been considered as the most sensitive.

The division includes six districts, 1.17 crore voters and 10,636 polling booths. As per records available with the administration, there are as many as 1,591 sensitive booths in Meerut division of which 463 sensitive booths are in Muzaffarnagar. As many as 296 booths are being considered most sensitive. During last elections, there were 298 sensitive and 219 most sensitive booths in Muzaffarnagar.


They get water for 15 minutes in the morning
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 19
Drinking water problem continues to haunt the residents of the city with a population of more than two lakhs and a district headquarters in Haryana.

According to a report, the entire old section of the city has been literally left high and dry as it has not been getting its evening supply of water since March 15 last. Many residents said that there was a time when they used to have plenty of water. However, for the past two years, the scene has become so worse that there is hardly enough water to survive.

Some aged residents said that they were unable to fetch water from the distance places in the absence of water supply. How long can they approach the authorities of the district administration and the Public Health Department for their problems? The authorities have failed to provide adequate drinking water to them, they said. Their only request to them is just give them enough water to drink, they added.

Several residents of these areas said, “It is a regular affair. Forget evenings, we hardly get water for 15 minutes or so in the morning. Tell them, they can still buy Bisler for drinking purposes, but how do they wash their clothes or, worse still, flush the toilets.”

The residents have done their bit of PHD daily. Firstly, the officials said that the tubewells were not functioning as the ground water had fallen considerably. However, the residents disputed the claim of the officials and alleged that the leakage of water from the saluice valves has become a routine, thanks to the failure of the officials to repair them regularly.


Demand to extend timings of Metro Rail
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19
The leader of the Opposition in the Standing Committee of the MCD, Mr Vijender Kumar Gupta, has demanded that the timings of the Metro Rail services be extended from 10 AM to 11 PM. He said this was necessary as the Metro rail services has now been extended up to Rithala. There is an urgent need for increasing the frequencies from the existing 6 minutes to 4 minutes.

He said that feedback received from various residents/RWAs and the increasing rush necessitated that the Metro Rail timings be rescheduled from 6 AM to 11 PM. Most of the users of the Metro Rail are such that they have to return home late at night. Obviously, as these passengers are unable to use the Metro Rail, it is also detrimental to the financial interests of the DMRC.

In a letter to Mr S. Shreedharan, Chief Executive Officer, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Mr Gupta stated that Rohini was a residential colony inhabited by traders, who had their business in old Delhi. This would necessitate that the Metro Rail facility be extended to this segment of the population. Mr Gupta hoped that his suggestions regarding the extension of operation timings of the Metro Rail would be considered as it was made with the sole aim to serve the public interest.


Expensive cigarettes are no less harmful

The government must ban advertisements promoting tobacco use, which is likely to result in 13 per cent of the total deaths in India by 2020, feels Dr Deepak Talwar of the Metro Group of Hospitals, whose department reforms habitual smokers.
Dr Talwar spoke to Parmindar Singh about harmful effects of tobacco usage and measures required to eradicate this problem.

Tobacco consumption in India is increasing at an alarming rate, the current number of smokers and tobacco users in the country being as high as 18.4 crore, says Dr Deepak Talwar, Chairman and Chief Consultant Pulmonologist, who is working in the field of respiratory medicine with the Metro Group of Hospitals in Noida.

"According to estimates, 13 per cent of all deaths in India by 2020 will solely be due to tobacco use. World over, the clinical evidence between smoking and hypertension, premature heart attacks, strokes, diseases of retina, kidneys, brain, lung cancer etc, have been over whelming", says Dr Talwar.

Women and children form a significant portion of the total smokers. But unfortunately the extremely harmful consequences of smoking on both these segments go unrecognized.

The government should put a ban on tobacco and smoking advertising campaigns, Dr Talwar feels.

Dr Talwar started this department in November 2002 at Metro Hospital to help smokers quit smoking. So far, the department has handled around 500 cases successfully. He claims over 60 per cent success rate.

According to Dr Talwar, the most important factor that would help a smoker get rid of his habit is his will power and a mind open to persuasion. To get help through their department, one is required to pay a token money of Rs 500, which, he says, is used in conducting various tests and for opening the patient’s file. Earlier, this amount was Rs 1,000, but it was later halved so as to help a larger number of people including those from weaker sections of the society.

Dr Talwar has had over 20 years of experience after completing his post- Graduation in Respiratory Diseases (MD and DTCD) from VP Chest Institute, Delhi. He was awarded Diploma in Respiratory Diseases by the National Board of examinations in 1987 and in Internal Medicine in 1989.

Dr Talwar has presented about two dozen professional papers in various national and international conferences. He was one of the first to have qualified from PGI Chandigarh for DM Pulmonary Medicine– Post–doctoral Fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, in 1991. He was awarded fellowship by the College of Chest Physicians (India) in 1999 and then by FCCP (USA).

He has worked in various hospitals in India and abroad, including VP Chest Institute, Dr RML Hospital, LNJP Hospital and Maulana Azad Medical College, R B T B Centre and PGI Chandigarh.

His name also featured in the Limca Book of Records in year 2000.

Excerpts from an interview with the NCR Tribune:

You started this department with the declared objective of reforming habitual smokers. How far you have succeeded?

The department, which includes a team of dedicated professionals, is working successfully towards achievement of this objective. Patients come to us with different levels of motivation. Our work is to clear their doubts, encourage them at every step of the quit- smoking process, build up and reinforce their motivation by every possible means available. So far, the endeavor has been amply rewarding.

We have enrolled nearly 500 smokers so far and our success rate is nearly 60 per cent. However, considering the epidemic proportions of the disease, we are quite aware that we still have a long way to go.

What is the current scenario in India so far as smoking is concerned?

The current scenario in India so far as smoking and tobacco use is concerned is alarming with a total number of 18.4 crore users. According to modest estimates, 13 per cent of all deaths in the country by the year 2020 are estimated to occur solely due to tobacco abuse.

What are the main risks of being a habitual or a chronic smoker?

A habitual or a chronic smoker runs a series of risks such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, premature heart attacks, increased rates of stroke, peripheral vascular disease, disease of the retina, kidneys, brain, chronic obstructive airway disease, lung cancer and many more.

And what do research findings in the direction establish?

World over, the clinical evidence between smoking and the above mentioned disease conditions like high blood pressure, heart attacks, cancer etc. have been overwhelming.

The Indian Council of Medical Research has also conducted surveys in India and smoking has been found to be strong risk factor of chronic lung disease, heart attack, stroke and cancer.

How effective, do you think, can awareness campaigns and persuasive publicity be?

Extensive awareness campaigns are the need of the hour. We constantly need persuasive publicity to catch the attention of the smokers and bring them to departments like ours. Anti-smoking campaigns are generally overshadowed by attractive advertisements by tobacco industry in print and electronic media.

And the inconspicuous statutory line "smoking is injurious to health" merely makes a mockery of the government’s efforts to discourage and dissuade people from smoking.

How harmful can smoking be for women and children?

Women and children form a significant proportion of the total number of smokers and they are, in general, also aware of the ill-effects of smoking. Smoking among women during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, very small or weak babies. Smoking in women and children often goes unrecognized and its seriousness is underestimated. Special drives and campaigns targeting women and children are required.

Is smoking of good quality and expensive cigarettes by the affluent less harmful?

Smoking affects health adversely irrespective of the quality of cigarettes smoked.

It affects all strata of people in a similar way. Costly cigarettes are not necessarily the less harmful ones. Poison is a poison after all, irrespective of its cost.

Every puff of smoke contains 40 cancer- producing substances and nearly 4,000 harmful chemicals.

What efforts do you feel can the government and legislative bodies make in this direction?

Government and legislative bodies should come forward with bold steps like totally banning advertisement campaigns in favour of smoking and all forms of tobacco including gutkha, zarda etc. in press, TV channels and outdoors.

Political will and efforts could go a long way in eradicating such vices.

Ban on advertisements promoting tobacco use, particularly during important national and international events, cricket etc. could be a good lead.

Is smoking considered a social taboo in any society? Or has it been banned by law altogether in any country?

In many sections of the western society, smoking, which used to be a fashion two-three decades ago, is rather seen as a health hazard today. In India, there is a legislation banning smoking at public places.

However, apart from problems regarding proper implementation, the fact that law cannot change the behavior of individuals and the society also acts as a barrier in eradicating this problem.

Awareness campaigns and empathic media coverage could gradually help bring change in the social thinking

What is the correlation between smoking, alcoholism and use of drugs? Does one habit lead to the other?

Generally speaking, there is no direct correlation between smoking, alcoholism and use of drugs.

However, certain personality types do have a clear tendency towards substance abuse
which could be multiple and such cases are difficult to handle even during quit- programmes.


Mock fire exercises held at Palika Kendra

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19
The New Delhi Municipal Council today demonstrated mock fire exercises at Palika Kendra. The mock exercises were organised as part of the Fire Week celebrations of the Delhi Fire Service.

Mock exercise included rescue operation carried out in high-rise building, sliding by stretcher, chair-note, flying fox, extinguishing fire by automatic sprinkler system and CO2 flooding systems in the LT and HT electric panels. Besides, extinguishers, automatic sprinkler system and dry chemical flooding system were also operated during the demonstration.

The chairperson of the NDMC, S.S. Khullar, also inaugurated the fire tenders procured by the Council recently. Ms Khullar said, “Three events, fire, flood and earthquake, which are said to be act of God, occur without any prior indication. Therefore, we should always be prepared to face these accidents.”

“Unless we are aware of the safety measures, we cannot take preventive measures,” she said.

She stressed upon the need for everyone to be conscious and aware of the various fire safety measures.

Human chain for education

Four years to the day when the promise of providing ‘education for all by 2015’, made by 180 countries, hundreds of school children and freed child workers today formed a human chain here.

The human chain programmes in 60 cities and towns launched the Global Week of Action (April 19-25) in India. It was a reminder to the governments of the promise made at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal in 2000.

‘’In Dakar, the developed countries had promised to help the poor countries reach their targets by 2015. However, they have not fulfilled their promise so far. This action is also to pressurise them in doing so,’’ said Mr Kailash Satyarthi of Bachpan Bachao Andolan.

Non-governmental organisations estimate about 60 million children out of schools in India, the worldwide figure being about 250 million.

During the course of the week, voters would be persuaded to ask the candidates for the Lok Sabha elections to disclose whether their children study in government or private schools.

Tomorrow, big ballot boxes will be kept in slums and colonies of the poor in Delhi and the rest of the country in a ‘symbolic voting’ in which the people would be asked to present their views on ‘whether the government is spending enough money on education’ and ‘whether the government is doing enough.’

‘’The world can’t live in peace without sending every child to school,’’ said Mr Satyarthi.


NCR Briefs
Proclaimed offender arrested

Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, April 19
The district police have arrested a proclaimed offender wanted in a number of cases of looting and dacoity in the Line Par police station area.

A pistol was also seized from him. A case under the Arms Act was registered against him. According to the police sources, the CIA staff of the Bahadurgarh police arrested Rajesh, son of Dalip Singh, resident of Dulhera village under the Arms Act.

During interrogation, he confessed his involvement in several cases of looting and dacoity, including snatching a Matiz car and Rs 20,000 in Hisar and an Indica car along with Rs 2,600 from the Badli area. The police said that more such disclosures were likely from him.

Woman among four injured

Sonepat: At least four persons, including a woman, were injured when a Maruti van on which they were travelling was hit by a canter on the G T Road near Garhi Bad Khalsa curve, about 13 km from here last night.

According to a report, the injured persons were identified as Veer Singh, Tirlok Nath, Puran Singh and Sukhman Devi. They were hospitalised and stated to be out of danger. The police are still investigating into the case.

Security for Sangwan

The BJP candidate from the Sonepat Lok Sabha constituency, Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, was accorded “Z plus” security from the Union Home Ministry.

According to a report, a 28-member team of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has arrived at Gohana for providing security to Mr Sangwan. Mr P K Bisht, the Commandant of this force, will monitor the security measures. Mrs Krishna Malik, wife of the Haryana DGP (on leave) Mr M. S. Malik, has been fielded by the ruling INLD as its candidate to take on Mr Sangwan.

Nomination process

Faridabad: No nomination papers were filed today for the Faridabad Lok Sabha constituency. Mr Subhash Bhaghel of the Labour party is the only candidate who has filed his nomination papers so far.

According to the Election Commission notification, nominations could be filed between April 16 to 23. While scrutiny will be done on April 24, the last date for the withdrawal of nomination was April 26.

The majority of the candidates are likely to file their nomination papers in the last three days, said a local official.

Meanwhile, the INLD candidate, Mr Mohammed Ilyas, inaugurated his election office in the Dashmesh Plaza near Neelam overbridge here today.

Addressing workers and supporters on the occasion, Mr Ilyas claimed that he was getting good response from the people, as the people were happy with the achievements of the Chautala government in the state.

He said that this “feel good” factor would benefit him directly in the elections.


Three persons held under ‘Operation Alert’, 23 cases solved
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 19
With the arrest of three persons, the special staff of the Sonepat police has solved 23 cases of thefts committed in and around Sonepat during the past two years.

Stating this, the Superintendent of Police Mr Kuldip Singh Sihag, told mediapersons here today that the arrested persons have been identified as Sanjay, a Balmiki of Subhash Nagar, Sonepat, Narinder alias Manu, a Harijan of Silana village and Shakeel, a Muslim resident of Harchanpur village under the Baghpat (UP) police station.

The police, he said, also seized a country-made pistol, a live cartridge, and other weapons from their possession.

Giving the details of the arrests, the disclosed that a police patrol party was on duty near Rajlu Garhi village under ‘Operation Alert’. The patrol party received a tip-off that the culprits were engaged in looting passers-by near the culvert.

The police team, he said, swung into action immediately and conducted a raid at the place and arrested all the three culprits on the spot.

He said that the cases under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Indian Arms Act were registered against them in the Ganaur police station of this district.

According to the Superintendent of Police, during the course of the interrogation, the culprits confessed to their involvement in as many as 23 cases of thefts committed by them in and around Sonepat during the past two years.

Stolen articles included gold and silver ornaments, cash, TV sets, LPG cylinders, mobile telephones, and other valuables. Further investigations were in progress.

Two persons injured

Two persons, including a truck driver, were injured when a truck rammed into shops on the Sonepat-Bahalgarh road here last night.

According to a report, the accident occurred when the front wheel of the truck broke and the driver lost control of the truck. The injured persons were immediately hospitalised and stated to be out of danger. The police have not yet registered the case.

Student crushed

A student of Israna Engineering College, identified as Sachin Kumar, was crushed to death by the Panipat-bound Shatabadi train near Harsana Kalan railway station, about 5 km from here yesterday.

According to a report, the victim had left his house for a morning walk. The Government Railway Police are still investigating into the case. The body of the victim has been sent for the postmortem examination.

House gutted

A house of a chowkidar, identified as Ganeshi, was gutted in a fire at Kakori village, about 9 km from here last evening.

According to a report, the cause of the fire was not immediately known.

According to another report, a large quantity of wheat and fodder worth several thousands of rupees were gutted at Dahesra, Sisana and some other villages in this district yesterday.

The municipal fire brigade from Sonepat brought the fire under control.


Car-jackers arrested
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19
With the arrest of four persons, the South-West district police claimed to have busted a gang of car-jackers involved in a sensational car-jacking-cum-kidnapping case. A stolen Toyota Qualis, country-made weapons, wireless set and a mobile phone were seized from their possession.

The accused persons were identified as Manish Chauhan (27), Ranjeet Kumar Bose (33), both residents of West Bengal, Saji John (27), resident of Kerala and Raman Ghera (20), resident of New Delhi.

The police said that Ranjeet, Saji and Raman were employees of the Maurya Sheraton Hotel. The accused persons were involved in a car-jacking case on March 29 on the National Highway in Gurgaon.

Notorious robber held

The New Delhi district police claimed to have arrested a robber, identified as Sanjiv alias Sanjay alias Bawa, who was involved in at least 30 cases of murder, dacoity, robbery and other crimes.

A country-made weapon was also seized from his possession.

The police received a secret information that Sanjiv would be coming to the Shiv Mandir, Bhairo Road. Accordingly, the police formed a team to nab the criminal.

When the police spotted him and directed him to surrender, he started firing from his country-made weapon. Later, he was overpowered by the police team.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi), Mr Ajay Chaudhary, said that during interrogation the accused confessed that he had looted several trucks loaded with zinc worth Rs one crore and was involved in several other crimes.

He was also involved in several burglaries in the Lajpat Nagar, Sri Niwas Puri, Kalkaji and Okhla areas. He was arrested by the Lajpat Nagar police in 1993. Six stolen cars from the New Delhi district were seized from his possession.

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