N C R   S T O R I E S


Vardhan’s bid to rouse city BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
Mum’s the word on revamping the organisation but the Delhi Pradesh BJP will seek popular support against the “anti-people” policies of the Sheila Dikshit Government in NCT of Delhi.

A possible hike in the fares of transport (bus), electricity and water is expected to be the issue that the party will go to the people with. The introduction of new property tax regime is another.

The office bearers met in the day to discuss, informally, what course of action the party ought to take in the weeks ahead. A better picture will emerge after the executive committee meets on Tuesday.

Delhi Pradesh BJP President Harsh Vardhan told reporters the party wanted to launch a movement to highlight the unfair policies pursued by the Government of NCT of Delhi.

He observed that after the Assembly election in December last year and the parliamentary elections earlier this month, the INC had become “more offensive” towards the Delhiites.

The movement the party has planned would highlight, besides certain other issues, the manner in which the Sheila Dikshit Government ignored the socio-economic and democratic rights of people.

Harsh Vardhan said his party had warned the electorate of an impending hike in public utilities prior to the elections but people were taken in by a slew of promises made by the INC.

“Our apprehensions are becoming a reality … the Congress government is playing into the hands of anti-people forces and making Hitler-like declarations under their pressure”, he said.

Harsh Vardhan also spoke about the brazen manner in which the government had granted certain “judicial and police functions” to private companies distributing electricity in the Capital.

The officials of the private companies, he alleged, were misusing the provisions by collecting arbitrary charges from consumers; whoever did not accept such arbitrary billing was threatened.



Miffed villagers say ‘no’ to HUDA
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 22
Alleging discrimination in assessing the value of land acquired by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) for developing residential sectors, residents of Fazilpur, Raipur and Sultanpur have refused to sell their land to HUDA. The villages are located between Sonepat town and the GT Road. HUDA has launched a massive programme to develop this belt in residential areas and extend the town’s boundary up to the G T Road.

Fateh Singh and Attar Singh of Raipur village informed HUDA acquired their land in 1995 for developing residential sectors 5 and 6. Land compensation was paid at the rate of Rs 2.98 lakh per acre. At the same time, land owners of Mukimpur village were paid at the rate of Rs 6.60 lakh per acre, they alleged. “It clearly proves partiality and discrimination on the part of the HUDA administration,” they added.

Harnarayan and Jeet said the villagers met the Chief Minister during his last visit to the village. They had asked him to instruct the HUDA authorities to pay compensation at the market rate of the acquired land, pointing out that the land adjacent to the acquired land was being sold at rates ranging between Rs 25 lakh to Rs 30 lakh per acre. The Chief Minister had assured that he would talk to the HUDA authorities at Faridabad but no response had been forthcoming so far.

Sanjay, Baljeet, Dhanpal and Mahabir queried that when the HUDA authorities could sell their plots at the rate of nearly Rs 3,000 per square yards then why were land owners being given less compensation for nearly 1,000 acres of their land acquired for sector 7. “We do not want to sell our land at low prices and if the HUDA authorities cannot pay suitable compensation they should return our land,” they said.

The villagers also informed that they had met the HUDA authorities here on Friday and submitted that they did not want to sell their land at lower prices. They had explained they were willing to sell their land at the market price as they needed a sufficient amount to start some self-employment venture to sustain their living.

Generally, the land is acquired at low prices by the HUDA and the owners are left with no other alternative except to approach the court for enhanced compensation. For this they are made to wait for years together. On the other hand, the plot owners are made to pay the enhanced compensation.

Sector rates hiked

Ghaziabad: The district administration has decided to enforce new sector rates in Ghaziabad district from June 16.

The new rates have been fixed for residential and commercial sectors in the district. But they will be implemented only after all suggestions and objections have been considered.

Sector rates have been increased from 30 to 60 per cent, it is learnt. In areas adjoining Delhi — Indira Puram, Vaishali, Kaushambi and Vasundhra – the sector rates are to be hiked by 30 to 40 per cent.

In areas in sectors which are located on roads, commercial rates will be applicable as commercial activities are being undertaken on plots and houses adjacent to the main roads, it is stated.

In Rajnagar, a commercial hike of 15 to 20 per cent and in residential areas an increase of 10 to 15 per cent will be affected.

The rate of Rs.15,400 in Ambedkar Road residential areas stands hiked to Rs.16,000. On Rakesh Marg, a commercial rate of Rs.11,000 and residential rate of Rs.5,000 has been fixed. It is for the first time that a rate of Rs.12,000 from Hari Mandir to Ambedkar Road has been fixed.

In Gandhi Nagar, a commercial rate of Rs.12,000 and a residential rate of Rs.6,000 has been fixed.

Asstt. Stamp Commissioner Ajay Kumar said that though the new sector rates have been finalized by the administration, they will come into force on June 16, 2004 only. OC



Sikhs celebrate Manmohan’s appointment
Our Correspondent

Meerut, May 22
The Deputy General Manager of State Bank of India (SBI), Sardar Dvendra Singh, said that it is a good sign for India that a person like Dr Manmohan Singh, who has wide experience in different fields of life, was taken over as the Prime Minister.

Mr Singh said that Manmohan Singh has good qualities, impartial approach and above all he is a good statesman. More such persons should come to public life for the welfare of country. And the need of labour reformer for better economy, but also said that left will not give free hand to Dr Manmohan Singh in this regard, he added.

The Vice-Chancellor of CCS University, Dr Ram Pal Singh, said that a new chapter added to the history when an academician Dr Manmohan Singh, who had a social political and economic experience and approach in his working, was appointed as the Prime Minister of our country.

The VC also said that being an academician and the former chairman of UGC Dr Manmohan Singh would pay special attention to the educational institutions. He said that the leaders of all political parties should welcome such persons in the politics.

Meanwhile, Sikh Sanghat of Meerut celebrated after Dr Manmohan Singh was sworn-in as the first ever Sikh Prime Minister of India. Sikh Sangat also took out big and splendid procession on the occasion. While fire-crackers were also played at different places in the city. Sardar Manmohan Singh Sahota of the Sikh Sanghat told the NCR Tribune that special prayer for the success of the new Prime Minister will be held late in the evening.

Mr Manmohan Singh Sahata also said that this was a good indication for future that a learned like Dr Manmohan Singh was appointed as the new Prime Minister of our country. Mr Sahata also thanked the Congress party for giving this honour first time.



Haryana industry gives Manmohan ‘wish list’
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, May 22
The immediate past president of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), Mr P.K.Jain, has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to improve the liquidity position in the economy, so that the small and medium scale units get enough leverage to borrow money.

Mr Jain, who is also the founder president of the Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), came out strongly against the NDA government, pointing out that its apathy and skewed policy had allowed the capital market to go to the dogs. The capital market had been squeezed to such an extent that the small and medium scale units were hardly able to raise money from the market.

The governmental sources for borrowing money — thee IDBI and the IFC — had downed their shutters and thee share market was beyond their reach. In such a scenario the commercial banks were the only institutions providing succor to the units. But the procedural cobwebs in the commercial banks had kept the small and medium units out of the ambit so far as far as borrowing of money was concerned. In the present set up, only “Triple A” units can get loan from commercial banks.

He said that capital flow in the country was well nigh nil and the new government would have to pick things up by the bootstrap to inject normalcy in the capital market. In such a situation, the foreign units, which do not raise money in the domestic market, were in an advantageous position vis-a-vis local units, enjoying an unequal status in this era of global competition.

Mr Jain exuded confidence that the country’s economy will make rapid strides as an economist was now the Prime Minister. Mr Singh’s sound fiscal and economic management of the country as finance minister and had given enough room for optimism and the industry’s say in the decision making process would now be seen in a better perspective, he added.

He hailed Mr Manmohan Singh for including agriculture in his government’s priority areas, saying that agriculture and agro industry can contribute immensely in the resurgence of rural India. It is in argi-food business that the country has to catch up, and it is in this sector that the country can turn into an exporting giant. But for that, it needs right policy guidance and encouragement.

Labour reforms and disinvestment rightly need a re-look but the focus should be on education sector. Mr Jain championed the cause of privatisation of primary education with the government making intervention to determine the fee structures in the schools by the private sector in order to improve the human resource of the country.

Nine in custody for obstructing raid party

New Delhi: The police today claimed to have arrested nine persons for allegedly obstructing a team of private power distributor BSES, which conducted raids in South-West Delhi to check power pilferage.

The police said that the nine persons were arrested on charges of rioting and stopping officials from discharging their duty in Deenpur village of Najafgarh last evening, where several factories were raided for allegedly stealing electricity.

Soon after the officials entered the factory premises, a scuffle broke out between the owners and employees and the members of the raiding team.

A city court later remanded the nine persons to judicial custody for 14 days, after rejecting their bail plea. Eighteen enforcement teams from government and non-government organisations had conducted a series of raids in the village yesterday, following a tip-off that some factories were stealing electricity. TNS



Ghaziabad power sub-stations to be in pvt hands
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, May 22
All the power sub-stations of Ghaziabad Mahanagar will be privatised.

As a first step, the Maliwada electric sub-station will be privatised on an experimental basis.

The UP Power Corporation’s local office has initiated action to invite tenders for the work. The private company will be responsible for the maintenance of the sub-station and resolving all complaints; however, billing and receipt of revenue will continue to be handled by the UP Power Corporation officials.

Ghaziabad has been dogged by power shutdowns, erratic supply and prolonged cuts. Besides, there is a lot of negligence in the maintenance of equipment at sub-stations. The district administration has assured all help to the UP Power Corporation in its plan to get the sub-stations rid of the technical faults, which affect the power supply in the city.

The private company will maintain the sub-stations. The plan of the Power Corporation has been confirmed by the District Magistrate Santosh Kumar Yadav. He said there is no shortage of power supply in the city, but ill maintained sub-stations and equipment do cause problems now and then.

The DM disclosed that the upkeep and maintenance of one electric sub-station costs Rs.2.50 lakh. With privatization, expenditure on maintenance is expected to come down.

Since it will be responsible for the upkeep of the sub-stations, the private company will also be responsible for maintaining the power cable network. In case there is inordinate delay in correcting cable fault, the company will have to pay Rs.300 per hour to UP Power Corporation. All terms and conditions have been finalized, the DM said.



No consolation, says Sikh body

New Delhi: The All India Sikh Conference has said that the Sikhs would not hate the Indian National Congress (INC) any less after a Sikh, Dr Manmohan Singh, has been appointed prime minister. Its president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Babbar, told a news conference that the wounds of the atrocities committed on the Sikh community were fresh in their minds and troubled their collective consciousness.

Ridiculing the persons who have asked the Sikh community to let bygones be bygones, Babbar wanted to know: “Have the Muslims forgotten the Gujarat riots and demolition of Babri mosque now that Mr APJ Abdul Kalam is President of the country?” He said that the prime minister’s family and friends might have reason to cheer but not the Sikh community. “His elevation as prime minister is no consolation,” he added. TNS



Hijacked biscuit consignment recovered
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, May 22
Seven hundred Priya Gold biscuit cartons, worth Rs five lakh, stolen last fortnight from a truck on way to Karnal, have been found in Muzzafarnagar. The biscuit-laden truck had been hijacked and diverted to Muzzafarnagar. The driver of the truck had been drug-laced sweets, which rendered him unconscious.

The police reportedly recovered the 700 cartons from a room near a tube-well. The miscreants had fled on seeing the police.

Some 900 biscuit cartons had been loaded by a Dadri transport contractor, Rahul, from Priya Gold factory in Greater Noida. After the driver lost consciousness, the truck was driven to a tube-well by the side of a canal in Adarsh Mandi police station area. Some 700 cartons were unloaded from the truck here. Later, the truck, the remaining 190 biscuit cartons and the unconscious driver were found abandoned in Loni under Chirodi police station area, near the house of a relative of the transport contractor Rahul.

The villagers informed the truck owner, Verinder Khurana, on telephone, the number of which was inscribed on the truck. Khurana sent another driver along with a friend, Amit Sharma, from Loni border to take the truck to Karnal from Chirodi. Transport contractor Rahul also reached the spot and drove the truck to the police station. The police are investigating the case.

Passengers stranded

Sonepat: Hundreds of passengers remained stranded at Sonepat, Ganaur and other railway stations for about three hours following a power failure in the engine of the Hazrat Nizammudin-bound Himalayan Queen Express (4696 down) at Karnal railway station on the Delhi-Ambala-Kalka (DUK) section of the Northern Railway last evening.

According to a report, the engine driver summoned an electrician but the latter failed to detect the defect. Thereupon another engine was requisitioned from Ambala to facilitate the onward journey of the Himalayan Queen. OC



Chautala promises turnaround before poll
Shiv Sharma

Bhiwani, May 22
The assembly elections in Haryana would be held on schedule in March 2005. This was stated by Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala while interacting with the people in Bhiwani yesterday. He said that he would visit all villages in the state to redress the grievances of the people before the ensuing assembly elections. He said a record number of development works were undertaken during the past over four years of his present tenure whereas the previous governments had hardly done any development worth the name.

Mr Chautala, who is also the president of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), urged party workers to be more active and prepare for the assembly elections. He expressed confidence that he would be able to create a favourable atmosphere for the INLD in the next two months with their active support and succeed in again forming a government in the state. He said that while reorganising the INLD dedicated workers would be given important posts in the organisation. While detailing the achievements made by his government during the past four-and-a-half years, Mr Chautala said his government had rationalised the tax structure and abolished octroi as well as the system of inspectors to provide relief to the traders. The government had reduced the sales tax by four per cent on 26 items. He said a number of schemes were being implemented for the welfare of all sections of society, especially the weaker sections. He criticised the Congress for making false promises to derive political mileage during its rule in the state. He said his government had been providing adequate water and power to the farming community and had undertaken a programme to repair the damaged water courses.

Mr Chautala also redressed the grievances of the people at a meeting of the District Public Relations and Grievances Committee in Bhiwani. He directed the district administration to ensure adequate supply of drinking water for human beings as well as the cattle in view of the scorching heat. He said ponds should be filled on priority basis.



BJP to go it alone for assembly poll: Sangwan
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 22
Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, BJP MP and spokesman of the Haryana unit of the party, yesterday ruled out a poll alliance with any other political party for the assembly elections in the state. He declared that the party would contest the assembly elections independently and field its candidates in all 90 assembly seats.

Talking to mediapersons here, he said that the base of the party in the rural areas had already been strengthened and people were behind the BJP for dislodging the INLD supremo and Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, from power.

He appealed to the party workers to remain united and prepare themselves for the assembly elections in the state which are due next year. He, however, predicted that the INLD government headed by Mr Chautala would not be able to complete its term and the assembly elections could be expected after three months.

Mr Sangwan also accused the Chief Minister of making attempts to defeat him in the Lok Sabha elections.

He said the people of the state were fed up with the INLD government and wanted a change.

The people, he claimed, were behind the BJP and the party would get absolute majority in the assembly elections and form its own government in the state.

He alleged that about one lakh bogus votes had been polled in favour of the INLD candidate, Mrs Krishna Malik, wife of the DGP (Vigilance), Haryana, who had contested the Lok Sabha election from Sonepat.

The BJP leader warned that such a situation would not be allowed in the next assembly elections and the BJP would prevent the ruling party from booth capturing, rigging and bogus voting at all costs.



Loss in Rohtak ‘due to inexperience’ 

Jhajjar: The BJP leader, Capt Abhimanyu, who lost the Lok Sabha election to the Congress in Rohtak, said the party could not transform the support of the people into

votes due to inexperienced workers in this constituency. He said that he had given a tough fight to Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress who won the election. He alleged the other parties, including the HVP and the INLD, had extended their support to the Congress nominee. He said he was ready to contest any election, including the assembly elections, if the party asked him to do so. OC



With new encroachments everyday, Sonepat roads getting narrower
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 22
Roads are getting narrower with each passing day in this city which is a district headquarters in Haryana. All this is thanks to the failure of the district authorities, particularly the Sonepat Municipal Council, the PWD (B and R), and the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to check the menace which has assumed an alarming proportion.

Shopkeepers and other residents have been encroaching upon the public, municipal and HUDA land in front of their houses and shops. Concrete structures, benches, signboards and sprawling merchandise on pavements have made walking a twisting and turning exercise for pedestrians. Then there are the tarpaulin sheets over the shops and vehicles parked in the front.

In the residential areas, it is the angle irons, hedges, barbed wires and concrete structures that hog the roads. On visiting these areas one found that some residents had grabbed public and municipal land by landscaping the area while others had planted saplings right on the edges of the roads.

The intrusion on pedestrians rights had often led to accidents in congested lanes. Motorists find it difficult to pass through the roads as many vehicles are parked on them.

The shoppers have a tough time passing through congested markets. One cannot even walk through these bazaars easily, leave alone driving one’s vehicle. The shopkeepers have choked the roads and the administration seems to be doing nothing about it.

Repeated anti-encroachment campaigns had proved futile because they were carried out either half-heartedly or were biased against certain traders and shopkeepers. The business of the shopkeepers too suffered because it discouraged customers.

In the absence of any check by the district administration the shopkeepers have started encroaching on public, municipal and HUDA land with impunity and without fear in front of their shops and houses. Most of them are busy in constructing unauthorised structures, tharas, sunsheds and pucca floors. It seems the entire administration in this city has collapsed.

Similarly, the footpaths in the main bazaars have again been occupied illegally and the shopkeepers have put up their goods for sale. The pedestrians are forced to go on foot on the roads. This has led to many an accident and some of them had proved fatal. The authorities of the Sonepat Municipal Council and the PWD (B and R) as well as HUDA have remained silent spectators whereas land worth crores of rupees had been grabbed by the shopkeepers and the owners of the houses.

In the button factory area shopkeepers have grabbed the land meant for a municipal park along the boundary walls of the ESI dispensary and a concrete platform has been built for parking vehicles and selling goods.

Similarly, the owners of wooden stalls have illegally occupied the land along the boundary walls of the godown of the Food and Supplies Department on the Atlas road, the PWD (B and R) rest house and the office of the Fisheries Department in the absence of any check by the authorities concerned. Similarly, the embankments Drain no 6 passing through this city had been illegally occupied by the slum dwellers and other prominent citizens and they had built the pucca houses and shops on them.

The district administration, it may be recalled, had got the municipal, public and HUDA land worth several crores of rupees vacated during his tenure but the land grabbers have come again and they are again occupying the land which had been earlier got vacated by the district, municipal and HUDA administration.



Workshop on resource mobilisation from May 24
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
The India-WHO Programme on Essential Drugs is being implemented by the Delhi Society for Promotion of Rational Use of Drugs in Delhi and sixteen other states in India. To increase the future potential of such a successful programme, the Society is organising a three-day workshop on resource mobilisation from May 24 to 26.

The workshop is being sponsored by the Department of Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy (EDM), World Health Organisation (WHO) Geneva. Mr Finlay Craig, an international consultant with expertise in resource mobilisation, communications, strategic planning and international development and Ms Jacqueline Sawyer, External Relations Officer, WHO, Geneva, would be here to conduct the workshop. The participants include persons from different states, who have been involved in the India-WHO Programme and representatives from national organisations like the Family Planning Association of India and the Population Foundation of India. The workshop will be held at The Qutab Hotel, Saheed Jit Singh Marg, New Delhi.

At the inauguration function of the workshop, two books would also be released. The books titled ‘Enhancing Access to Quality Medicines for the Undeserved’ and ‘The Delhi Model’ are recent publications brought out by the Society. The Delhi Model is all about the successful experience of Delhi state in providing good quality free medicines at the Delhi Government hospitals.

The programme of the workshop will include sessions on the Indian experience in consortiums and partnerships, donor profiles, effective communications, international versus national resource mobilisation and development of writing skills. This is the first time the Delhi Society for Promotion of Rational Use of Drugs is organising a workshop of this kind. An interesting and interactive workshop of this nature is important in order to respond to the complex and interrelated organisational requirements of non-governmental organisations, which have multi-variant roles and needs. The objective of the workshop is to build the capacity of organisations, to effectively and efficiently achieve their goals and to exceed their own expectations.



Farmers’ organisations to submit memo to Chautala
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 22
The representatives of various farmers’ organisations, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union, the Farmers Forum and the Krishak Samaj, have decided to submit a joint memorandum to the Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, on May 27 when he would visit the city to address the workers meeting of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). They would submit the memorandum in protest against the erratic and inadequate supply of canal water in the villages falling under the jurisdiction of the Rai Water Service Division and other villages of the district.

A spokesman of these organisations told mediapersons here today that almost all the ponds in the rural areas had been dried up on account of drought-like conditions and continuous heat wave conditions and the authorities of the irrigation department had utterly failed to fill up the ponds with canal water as ordered by the state government.

He said that water is being released in the canals, distributaries and the minors for one week in 42 days, which is inadequate and erratic and this has caused resentment among the farmers who were unable to irrigate their land under fodder crops.

According to the spokesman, the farmers had sown the jowar, maize and lobia crops, but these have started withering away on account of inadequate supply of canal water. They are in a quandary how these crops would survive and they could be able to meet the fodder requirements for their animals.

The spokesman alleged that the authorities of the Rai Water Service Division and other officials of the department have failed to redress the grievances of the farmers relating to the supply of canal water for irrigation purposes. He demanded immediate suspension of the Executive Engineer and other officials of the Rai Water Service Division responsible for the canal water crisis. A high-level inquiry into the complaints of the farmers that water had not been reaching their tail-end fields.



Transformers burnt in fire at power station
Our Correspondent

Meerut, May 22
Extensive damage was caused when a major fire broke out at the Nauchandi power sub-station on Thursday evening. At least two 10 MVA transformers and several other electric equipment and machines were reduced to ashes by the time the fire was controlled. Considerable panic prevailed among the officials of the Power Department while a major portion of the city witnessed a total blackout. Water supply was also affected due to the fire. A large mob from the surrounding areas gathered and manhandled the officials at the site even as the police had to use force to disperse it.

The Nauchandi power station supplies electricity to Surajkund, Victoria Park, Garh Road area, Nauchandi, Hapur road, Zaidi Nagar and several adjoining areas. Smoke was seen near the cables inside the sub-station on Thursday at 4.30 pm. The fire soon spread on the entire premises. At least 50 to 60 meter high flames gripped the whole premises. Meanwhile, several senior officials of the Power Department also rushed to the spot. Half a dozen fire engines took over two hours to control the fire. By that time the power sub-station had suffered extensive damage.

Meanwhile, serious power and water crises arose in the area. Experts of the Power Department said that the area would remain in darkness for over three days. Though the District Magistrate had already ordered bringing in new transformers from Muzaffarnagar it would take three to four days to restore power supply. The PAC had already been deployed in the area keeping the people possible protest/demonstration over power cut.



Unravelling the magic of Nayanar

A great man is affable in his converse, generous in his temper, and immovable in what he has maturely resolved upon; and as prosperity does not make him haughty and imperious, so neither does adversity sink him into meanness and dejection, wrote Jeremy Collier, an English Bishop (1650-1726).

The name of E. Krishnan Nayanar, former chief minister of Kerala, whose mortal body was laid to rest on the sea shore in Kannur, Kerala, on Friday (May 21), deserves to be written in golden letters in the history of the state as his life was marked by great human virtues.

Every present-day politician should have watched his funeral procession to have an understanding of his influence on people, to gauge how deeply the people, irrespective of their party affiliations or backgrounds, loved him till the end. What could be the secret of his charisma? Going by the commentators it was an unprecedented funeral procession the state had witnessed.

A sea of humanity was on the trail of this 85- year- old veteran politician of Kerala as his cortege was taken from Thiruvananthapuram to Kannur. Braving heavy rains, men women and children, people from all walks of life, waited long hours to have a glimpse of their beloved leader, who had the distinction of being the longest serving chief minister- more than 4,000 days.

This man, born in a feudal family like the well known EMS Nambudiripad, before him, took up the cause of the people and drew inspiration from the national movement for liberation from the British. Then he moved into the more fundamental struggle to liberate people from poverty and exploitation and became a communist. He joined the movement at a time when it meant poverty and risk to life.

What was the secret of his popularity? He may be remembered as one of the great leaders of the communist movement in the country, but that alone does not explain his claim to greatness. Ideology alone does not lend itself to adoration by people as on a scale witnessed in his life. If communists are praised for improving the lot of the poor and empowering the weak, there are those who blame them for catastrophes the state has faced like industrial backwardness and militant trade unionism.

But when he joined the struggles of the downtrodden, he was not looking for recognition or positions of power. He had to go into hiding to escape the consequences of some of the agrarian agitations to which the British did not take kindly. Two of the co-accused in the Kayyur incident, were sent to the gallows. And he would have met the same fate if he had not gone into hiding. It would have been a different story and the history of Kerala would have been very different if he had been caught then.

He can certainly be described as a person who shaped the history of Kerala by introducing various radical reforms intended for the benefit of the poorest of the poor. In this respect, he can be said to have followed the dictum of Mahatmaji: I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man who you may have seen and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj, self rule for the hungry and also spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubt and yourself melting away.

Very few other political leaders had such occasions and opportunities to know the land and its people at close quarters. He is reported to have spent 10 years in hiding often in disguise as a trader, agriculturist or policeman and living in the huts of poor agricultural labourers. Such experiences brought him closer to the realities of life and the mind of the common man. And for him, being in office meant an opportunity to serve. Of how many politicians we can say the same?

He was a man of the people. He did not need any leadership training; his strong convictions and zeal for causes dear to his heart provided the right motivation. He was an excellent communicator. In these days, when it is difficult to gather enough audience to political speeches, people spontaneously sought to listen to him. And he inspired them by speaking in their language with his hand on their pulses. Always found with a smile, he was a man of wit and humour and at the same time disarming honest with criticisms.

To a journalist, who asked him sometime ago whether she is not entitled to her opinion as a member of the public, he retorted: ‘‘No, you are not. You are only a part of a business enterprise.

No paper is neutral. Every paper has an interest and every paper is a party paper. Our paper also is not neutral because we are fighting for a socialist economy. You are also not neutral. You are for private interest. You are only a paid employee; you are only a mere tool of the paper. So, you cannot have a neutral opinion. We also do not have.

Another quality praised by many who spoke during his funeral is his impeccable integrity. There was no untruth or pretensions about him.

His innocence was transparent to all those who came across him, something rare in politicians these days. Of him it can be said that he always meant what he spoke. He had lived in the midst of great political intrigues and he had known close at hand the games that politicians play. Yet he was different, and India is unlikely to see such a politician again, as many affirmed at the funeral.

MPK Kutty



Shekhawat presents awards to BSF
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
The Vice-President, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, presented awards including Police Medal for Gallantry to Border Security Force (BSF) personnel at the investiture ceremony held at Vigyan Bhawan this morning.

Among the recipients of the Police Medal for Gallantry is Assistant Commandant of 200 Battalion, BSF, Mukesh Kumar Verma. He is posted in the Rajouri Sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

On July 6, 2002, he was commanding a patrol party in the Trambanari forest when he spotted militants inside a hut. In the operation that followed, Verma killed two of the militants.

An alumnus of Sainik School, Ghorakhal and Lucknow University, he has bagged the Director-General’s Commendation Rolls and Inspector General’s Commendation Rolls in the past.

Cyclist killed

Sonepat: A cyclist was killed when he was hit by a speedy truck on the 0Sonepat-Dewru Road near here last evening.

The victim was identified as Madan, resident of Nepal and he belonged to Rohini (Delhi). He had come to see his relative and was met with the accident. The truck driver, however, managed to escape and the police sent the body for the post-mortem examination. A case was registered against the truck driver and a hunt is on to apprehend him.

Man held for molestation

The Murthal police have arrested one Fateh Singh of Tikola village under Sections 294, 323, 452 and 506 IPC for forcing his way into a house of a woman of the same village, who was alone in it.

According to a report, when the accused tried to molest the woman she raised an alarm and the residents of the village apprehended him and roughed him up before he as handed over to the police.

Man apprehended

The police have arrested Sonu, a 16-year-old man of Lakhan Majra village (Rohtak district) and recovered stolen cash and gold ornaments from his possession.

According to a report, the youth had stolen the cash and gold ornaments from the house of his relative. He was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Pradeep Kumar, who remanded him to 14-day judicial custody.

Five hurt in clash

At least five persons were injured in a clash took place between two rival groups of jeep drivers near the railway crossing of Hindu College here last evening.

According to a report, all the injured persons were hospitalised and were stated to be out of danger. The police are investigating into the complaints. A dispute over the taking of the passengers is stated to be the main cause of the clash. OC



Seminar on values in media
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
A two-day seminar-cum-retreat on values in media was inaugurated at the Om Shanti Retreat Centre, Northern Indian Campus of Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwaria Vidyalaya near here today.

Delivering the inaugural address as chief guest, Mr G. D. Bellya, Press Registrar, Government of India, said that although the freedom of speech was a fundamental right, media should not be taken up as business or commerce. Media presentation in the form of broadcasting, telecasting or writing should be positive in consonance with our traditional values like peace, love, truth, tolerance, compassion and service for building better life and society. He said that information is power, but this power should be used positively for promoting health, harmony and happiness in society.

Dr. N. Bhaskar Rao, Chairman, Centre for Media Studies and a pioneer in the field of mass communication speaking as guest of honour referred to former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee’s speech at the 125th anniversary of “The Hindu” last year in which the latter had mentioned that the media was promoting cynicism in the country, it had become the voice of the powerful instead of being the voice of the voiceless and it was promoting fads, fashions and lifestyles beyond the reach of most of the population.

Maharana Pratap remembered

Glowing tribute was paid by the MCD to great brave warrior Maharana Pratap on the occasion of his birth anniversary. Mr A. R. Verma, Mayor of Delhi, today garlanded the statue of Maharana Pratap situated at historic Qudsia Bagh in front of the Maharana Pratap ISBT.

Senior officers of the MCD and other prominent citizens were present on the occasion. Paying warmed tributes to Maharana Pratap, the Mayor said that he was a great warrior, who waged a long battle with Mughal empire and exhibited outstanding courage in fighting the enemies.



Criminals held, arms seized
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
The Seemapuri police arrested two criminals and seized a country-made pistol, one live cartridge and a knife from their possession. Last evening, police stopped a TATA Sumo for checking in which five youths were sitting.

They could not satisfy the police when hey were asked to explain the cause of their traveling in TATA Sumo.

Consequently, the police made search of their person and the vehicle.

During their search, a knife was recovered from Gopal driver’s possession. While the police was searching the vehicle, Shahid, his associate fired a shot at the police party but no one was injured.

Later, he was overpowered. Three of their associates managed to escape under the cover of darkness.

‘Bhootni’ arrested

The Hari Nagar police arrested Ved Singh, alias Bhootni, who used to wear burqa (veil) to make people afraid of him. During night, he used to wear veil and run behind women and children.

A number of women and children had become unconscious.

The police constituted a special team to find out Bhootni after repeated information that such incidents occurred in Hari Nagar area. Ved Singh was arrested last evening.

During interrogation, he said that he did this to make a fun, the police said.


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