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Ragging turns into ‘tame’ interactive session

New Delhi, July 16
On the first day of the academic session in the Delhi University (DU), ragging “graduated” into a more euphemistic avatar, “interaction”, which is also the latest entry in the DU lexicon. With the authorities keeping strict vigil and the students adequately warned of the implications of being caught ragging, the first day of college for most “fuchhas” turned out to be more fun than frightful.

Freshers during a ragging session in Kirorimal College in the Capital on Friday. — Tribune Photo

Freshers during a ragging session in Kirorimal College in the Capital on Friday.

SAD to intensify agitation
New Delhi, July 16
The general secretary of Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Kuldip Singh Bhogal, has said that his party, which is holding a sit-in since July 1 outside the office of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), would intensify its agitation if DSGMC president Prehlad Singh Chandok did not resign.



EARLIER STORIES

 

CM asks PM to protect Delhi’s water interests
New Delhi, July 16
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has said that Delhiites will have to conserve water, prevent wastage of drinking water and close booster pumps to ensure that water does not become a scarcer commodity.

Chautala blames Congress for SYL ‘mess’
Palwal (Faridabad), July 16
The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, today blamed the Congress party for the “mess” over the SYL canal, leading to the annulment of the water treaties by the Punjab Government.

54 arrested for gambling, Rs 15 lakh seized
New Delhi, July 16
The New Delhi district police have arrested 54 people on charges of gambling from a club in Karol Bagh area in Central Delhi and seized Rs 15 lakh from the spot.

Accident victim dumped, left to die on roadside
Noida, July 16
In a shocking incident, a car driver dumped a youth to bleed to death after injuring him in a road accident. The victim, identified as Anil, was seriously injured when the car driver hit him in Krishna Nagar, East Delhi.

Kalam for quality healthcare in rural areas
New Delhi, July 16
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today urged the medical community to set up hospitals in rural areas especially in Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh to provide quality healthcare to the masses.

Deepalaya celebrates 25 years of service
New Delhi, July 16
Subsisting on a measly sum of Rs. 350 per month, Ashok Singh’s father, who had five mouths to feed, had not even heard of Biotechnology. Today, his son is pursuing a career in the field of biotech and is a role model for others.


Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit felicitating child achievers at the silver jubilee celebration of Deepalaya at FICCI Auditorium in the Capital on Friday. — Photo by Rajeev Tyagi
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit felicitating child achievers at the silver jubilee celebration of Deepalaya at FICCI Auditorium in the Capital on Friday

Sixth Osian’s Cinefan Festival inaugurated
New Delhi, July 16
The Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, inaugurated the week-long Sixth Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Asian Cinema, which will screen about 90 films from 30 countries. ‘Head-On’ (Gegen Die Wand), the German film which won the top prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, today opened the festival.

Demand to end manual sewerage work
New Delhi, July 16
In view of frequent deaths of sewerage workers in the Capital, several organisations today demanded abolition of manual sewerage work.

Hauz Khas to host first night bazaar
New Delhi, July 16
The Union Tourism Ministry has selected upmarket Hauz Khas to host Delhi’s first “night bazaar” and decided to sponsor a Sufi festival in the national Capital.


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Ragging turns into ‘tame’ interactive session
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
On the first day of the academic session in the Delhi University (DU), ragging “graduated” into a more euphemistic avatar, “interaction”, which is also the latest entry in the DU lexicon.

With the authorities keeping strict vigil and the students adequately warned of the implications of being caught ragging, the first day of college for most “fuchhas” turned out to be more fun than frightful.

“We were not ragged at all”, said a bunch of freshmen outside the Hindu college. But on the premises, the Virgin Tree, a favourite haunt, saw students enacting their kindergarten days, playing ‘Ring-a-ring-a roses’.

Similar scenes were enacted in most colleges, where students not wishing to take a chance, limited their first day rituals to “harmless interaction”.

“These students are going to stay in the college for three years. If we do not get to know them now, how will they get acquainted with the seniors and the rest of the college”, offered Naseeruddin Shah, President, Students Action Committee, and a pass out of Kirori Mal.

Acknowledging that ragging often “gets out of hand,” he said efforts were being made by the students to ensure that “freshers do not feel uncomfortable or harassed”.

The university authorities, including the Vice Chancellor Prof. Deepak Nayar, inspected the colleges on North Campus. The principals and senior staff members also inspected the premises.

While most college heads observed that instances of ragging leading to harassment had not been reported, some complained that the media was responsible for the few instances that had come to notice.

“We caught a few third year students this morning who were dancing on the premises, but later on we learnt that they were coaxed by a television channel to enact the scene for the camera”, said the Principal, Kirori Mal College, Dr. Bhim Sen. Senior students in some colleges, including Hansraj, also remained content with the “interaction”. It might be fear or just plain indifference, these students seemed hardly inclined to rag.

“We were all set for ragging, but we have not been asked to do anything except sing and climbing trees”, said a fresher at Hansraj. The authorities, too, were far from upset. It was pointed out that since freshers are not complaining, there was no reason to put a stop to the innocuous interaction sessions, where students apart from being asked to introduce themselves were being asked to enact a Bollywood scene or number.

While most first timers preferred to arrive on their own, a few excited parents, trying to capture their baby and baba’s first day in college on film, tagged along.

Orientation programmes for the freshers and their parents were also organised in may colleges. “We organised a presentation and a lunch for the students, some of whom came with their parents”, said Ramjas Principal, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Freshmen in Ramjas had the privilege of attending refurbished classrooms with swanky interiors. “We are also getting ready to install overhead projectors in the classrooms”, added Dr. Prasad.

The first day of college was also the most opportune time to flaunt what have you, from apparels to automobiles and other gizmos. Cell phone melodies and rings of cigarette smoke were a common sight.

Incidentally, while smoking has been banned in public places, Delhi University, it seems, is yet to take note of it.

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SAD to intensify agitation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
The general secretary of Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Kuldip Singh Bhogal, has said that his party, which is holding a sit-in since July 1 outside the office of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), would intensify its agitation if DSGMC president Prehlad Singh Chandok did not resign.

Mr Bhogal said that his party wrote on June 15 to Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti about Mr Chandok presenting a Siropa to Union Minister of State Jagdish Tytler. The Jathedar issued a notice to Mr Chandok on June 22 asking Mr Chandok to explain his position by July 25. Since July 1, he said, his party has been holding a sit-in.

Mr Bhogal said that when a former DSGMC president, Mr Mahendra Singh Matharu, was made to resign following allegations of misbehaving with Ms Darshan Kaur, who was affected by the 1984 massacre of the Sikhs in Delhi, in 1997, then there was no reason why Mr Chandok be not asked to step down.

Rain gods keep Delhi guessing

The rain gods have not yet made up their mind about Delhi, which is simmering in the sweltering heat. In fact, the weather officials predict “no rainfall activity” over Delhi in the next two days.

“Isolated rain might occur at some areas in and around the national Capital but heavy showers are not likely in the next 48 hours,” Dr S C Bhan, Director, Met Department, said.

The system, which had weakened before the monsoon could reach Delhi, has not revived, he said, adding “The upper air cyclonic circulation has now moved over Chhattisgarh and might delay rainfall activity over the national Capital by two to three days.”

Normally by July 15 the monsoon covers the whole country, Mr Bhan said.

The monsoon in Delhi is already delayed by over 15 days as the system has weakened. The Department had earlier predicted that it would revive by July 14.

Three new judges at Delhi HC

Three additional judges were today sworn in at the Delhi High Court by Chief Justice B. C. Patel. Anil Kumar, Gita Mittal and Sripathi Ravindra Bhat have been appointed Additional Judges of the High Court for two years.

With their appointment, the number of judges in the Delhi High Court has gone up to 28 against the sanctioned strength of 33.

Earlier this month, two judges from the lower judiciary were elevated to the High Court; another was transferred here from the Karnataka High Court.

The Centre had last year announced increasing the strength of the Delhi High Court to 36 judges, but it is yet to be notified in the Official Gazette.

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CM asks PM to protect Delhi’s water interests
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has said that Delhiites will have to conserve water, prevent wastage of drinking water and close booster pumps to ensure that water does not become a scarcer commodity.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said she has approached the Prime Minister to protect the interests of NCT of Delhi while resolving the crisis arising out of the Punjab Assembly passing a law terminating the 1981 Tripartite agreement with Haryana and Rajasthan apportioning Ravi and Beas river waters to these states.

Under the 1981 accord, the Bhakhra Beas Management Board releases 100 million gallons of Ravi and Beas waters to the Capital a day. This water runs one of the two treatment plants at Haiderpur in NCT of Delhi. The plants’ output will be severely hit if this supply is affected.

However, doing away totally with booster pumps will be a difficult target to achieve as 50 per cent of the people in the Capital will not get any water if they do not install boosters. “Sometimes we get only a trickle of water even after the use of booster and that too only for limited hours which makes it difficult to store water for our daily needs,” said a number of housewives in south and south-west Delhi. In many areas, where there is no DJB water supply, people have to fight even for a bucketful of water when a water tanker comes to their locality.

The chief minister said the government has formed a committee with Chief Secretary S Reghunathan and Delhi Jal Board Chief Executive Officer PK Tripathi as its members to implement an Action Plan for maintaining water supply in the city. “I review the progress of the job being done by the committee every fourth day,” she added.

Ms Dikshit said delay or failure of monsoon was increasing pressure on the ground water on which Delhi farmers heavily depend. The ground water level has already gone down due to lack of rain. The Delhi Jal Board has already restricted water supply to once a day in south and south-west parts of the city. The opening of the Sonia Vihar plant, which has the capacity to treat 140 million gallons of water a day, has also been delayed because the Tehri dam is not ready to supply raw water.

The production stopped on Wednesday in the Haidperpur plant that supplies water to North Delhi after the Western Yamuna canal’s water level fell. According to DJB CEO Mr Tripathi, Delhi needs 800 MGD water daily but gets 650 MGD from the Jal Board. As much as 260 MGD water is lost in the distribution process.

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Chautala blames Congress for SYL ‘mess’
Tribune News Service

Palwal (Faridabad), July 16
The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, today blamed the Congress party for the “mess” over the SYL canal, leading to the annulment of the water treaties by the Punjab Government. He alleged that that Congress-led government at the Centre was fooling the people of the state about the events leading to the annulment of the water treaties by the Punjab Government. He said that the subsequent measures taken to bring the situation under control were also aimed at fooling the people.

Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the state-level ‘Vanmahotsva’ (Afforestation) programme at the ITI grounds here today, Mr Chautala alleged that the interests of the people of Haryana were not safe in the hands of the Congress party. Perturbed over the performance of his party in the Lok Sabha elections, he used the occasion to have a dig at the Congress party.

Claiming that the annulment of the water pacts by Punjab was a direct ‘failure’ of the Congress- led UPA government at the Centre, he said it could have serious ramifications for the federal structure of country. The INLD supremo warned that there could be a serious law and order problem, if the Punjab Government had its way over the annulment of the water pacts. He claimed that all that had happened could not have taken place without the knowledge and information of the Congress leadership and the Prime Minister.

When the Punjab Chief Minister rushes to the national Capital to consult his party bosses on small matters like induction of ministers, it was inconceivable that he would dare to take a unilateral step on an issue that threatened the democratic and constitutional set up of the country, he alleged.

Stating that the Congress leaders of Haryana were only ‘paper tigers’, he alleged that none of the leaders of the party had dared to take up the issue inside Parliament.

Haryana had the right over the waters of SYL canal and nobody could deny its claim, he said. If the Centre failed in its duty to safeguard the Constitution, the Haryana Government would approach the Supreme Court again, he said.

Describing the UPA government as ‘defunct’, he said the annulment of the water pacts had shattered the credibility of the Manmohan Singh government.

Declaring his government’s resolve to provide employment to youths who plant at least 1000 saplings during this season, he said a post of ‘vanrakshak’ (forest keeper) would be created in each village in the state.

Claiming that his government was serious about making the state self-reliant in the power sector, he said there would be round-the-clock power supply after December 31 this year. He said the shortage of power in the state in the recent past had been due to problems at the Nathpa-Jhakri project in Himachal Pradesh.

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54 arrested for gambling, Rs 15 lakh seized
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
The New Delhi district police have arrested 54 people on charges of gambling from a club in Karol Bagh area in Central Delhi and seized Rs 15 lakh from the spot. The police also recovered some tokens, 20 packs of playing cards, two briefcases containing voice loggers connected with multiple mobile phones and recorders used in betting on live matches.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Anita Roy said that while 47 of those arrested last night were involved in the gambling, seven others were members of the Karol Bagh Club, which organised the show.

The club, which belongs to the New Delhi Municipal Corporation, has not been sealed but the NDMC notified of the incident. Those arrested include the club general secretary Yudhistir Kumar.

Ms Roy said that the club is equipped with three CCTV cameras at the reception, main entrance and another on the second floor where the persons normally used to indulge in gambling. The guards were also given alarm bells to alert the gamblers in case of any hostile situations.

The club, situated on Bhai Veer Singh Marg in Karol Bagh, had been into this business for the last six months.

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Accident victim dumped, left to die on roadside
Our Correspondent

Noida, July 16
In a shocking incident, a car driver dumped a youth to bleed to death after injuring him in a road accident. The victim, identified as Anil, was seriously injured when the car driver hit him in Krishna Nagar, East Delhi. Even as the culprit agreed to take him to a hospital under the pressure of the crowd that had gathered at the site of the accident, he dumped the injured Anil on the roadside near NIV crossing in Noida. The injured Anil was left on the roadside to bleed to death. Anil was married only eight months back. The victim was a resident of GTB Enclave, Dilshad Garden, Delhi, and had a department store in Azad Nagar.

He had left on his scooter (DL-75H 1566) at 11 am and was hit by a car coming at high speed near Kanti Nagar police picket. His family was informed of the accident by a friend of Anil, who came to know that his body was lying in Noida Sector-58 police station.

Widow beaten up by cop’s sons

A widow was mercilessly beaten up by the relatives of a policeman in Sector-19, Noida. Moreover, the widow was threatened of “further action” if she reported the matter to the police because “nobody could touch him as his father was a policeman”.

The widow has lodged a complaint with Superintendent of Police and State and National Human Rights Commissions. The Superintendent of police (City), Noida, is understood to have directed the SO incharge of Sector-20 police station to initiate a probe into the matter.

The victim, identified as Geeta Negi, was a resident of Sector-19, (House No.100-B) Noida. The family of Mr Girish Tamta, a police officer in Uttaranchal, is her next door neighbours. Though his sons, identified as Pawan and Vikas, often harassed her, she ignored it. However, she complained to the Sector-20 police station when they harassed her on July 12. Later, the Sector-20 police team reportedly visited the area and tried to resolve the matter. However, the terrified woman has abandoned her house. She met the Superintendent of police (City), Mr Anant Dev, on Wednesday and acquainted him with the situation.

The police chief has instructed the police to take action against the accused. Ms Negi has also sent a copy of her complaint to the National Human Rights Commission and Chief Ministers of UP and Uttaranchal.

Kanwarias injured in shootout

Ghaziabad: Six persons, including three kanwarias, were wounded in a shoot-out between two property dealers in Sahibabad. Following the injuries to the kanwarias, a crowd of agitated kanwarias torched a number of vehicles and houses, creating panic in Sahibabad. The traffic on the G T Road has been suspended due to the procession by the kanwarias today.

The shootout was triggered after a clash between two property dealers, identified as Parvesh Pasa and Dev Raj Gujjar, belonging to different communities over the possession of a plot of land. Dev Raj Gujjar had put up a camp for the kanwarias on a plot of land, which was claimed by Parvesh Pasa. Subsequently, both the property dealers clashed over the possession of this plot, leading to the shoot-out in which three kanwarias along with three cops, including one police post incharge were wounded.

The infuriated kanwarias torched a roadside restaurant of Pravesh Pasa’s brother, one service station, a number of houses and vehicles. Later, the kanwarias also sat on dharna on the main road. The district administration has sealed the area in view of the prevailing tension and panic.

The ADM and SP (City) inspected the area and a large number of policemen have been deployed in the area.

The wounded kanwarias were rushed to SGTB Hospital, Shahadra, while the injured policemen were sent to a Mohan Nagar hospital.

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Kalam for quality healthcare in rural areas
Tribune News Service

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at the Super Speciality and Research Block
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at the Super Speciality and Research Block of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi on Friday. 

New Delhi, July 16
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today urged the medical community to set up hospitals in rural areas especially in Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh to provide quality healthcare to the masses.

In his address following the inauguration of the Super Speciality & Research Block (SS&R) Block of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here on Friday, Dr Kalam drew attention to the Finance Minister’s recent Budget announcement of extension of benefit of Section 80-IB to new hospitals with 100 beds or more in rural areas. He said that such hospitals will be entitled to a hundred per cent deduction of their profit for a period of five years. He suggested that these hospitals be linked through tele-medicine to hospitals in urban areas.

The President described the medical insurance scheme run by the State Cooperative Department of Karnataka and Narayana Hridalaya, and asked Ganga Ram Hospital to consider it as a model. He said that 17 lakh persons have registered for the scheme and are entitled to free treatment in 85 recognised hospitals in the state.

Addressing doctors as “pain removers”, the President said, “We need good hearts to treat the ailing patients, helping hands to remove the pain and beautiful minds to give happiness to the patients.”

Illegal liquor seized

The North district police have arrested two persons and seized at least 15 boxes of illegal country-made liquor manufactured in Haryana from their possession.

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Deepalaya celebrates 25 years of service
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
Subsisting on a measly sum of Rs. 350 per month, Ashok Singh’s father, who had five mouths to feed, had not even heard of Biotechnology. Today, his son is pursuing a career in the field of biotech and is a role model for others.

Born with cerebral palsy, Saroj was confined to a room by his parents. That was till luck intervened and today Saroj, along with his family, manages a PCO booth.

Ashok and Saroj are living examples of how meaningful education and support can turn around misfortune into a success story. And like both of them, there are scores of others who have benefited from the education and care they received at Deepalaya, a Delhi-based NGO.

Celebrating 25 years of its existence, Deepalaya has been a steady source of support for the underprivileged and the marginalised. At the inaugural function of the silver jubilee celebrations organised in the Capital today, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit released a document titled ‘Child achievers’.

The document gives an insight into the life of children who have been supported by the Deepalaya and have carved a niche for themselves, fighting against all odds.

A symposium on ‘Rights of education for Children of Marginalised Groups’ was also organised. Moderated by eminent sociologist Dr. T K Oomen, the symposium was addressed by Dr A K Kaushal from the Directorate of Education. Mr Ashok Agarwal, a prominent lawyer who has been working for the educational interests of the marginalised, and Enakshi Ganguly, Executive Secretary, HAQ Centre for Child Rights, also presented their views.

The founding members of Deepalaya were also felicitated on the occasion, as were the 25 child achievers. The students of Deepalaya also presented a cultural programme on the occasion.

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Sixth Osian’s Cinefan Festival inaugurated
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
The Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, inaugurated the week-long Sixth Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Asian Cinema, which will screen about 90 films from 30 countries. ‘Head-On’ (Gegen Die Wand), the German film which won the top prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, today opened the festival.

The festival, organised by Osian’s Connoisseurs of Art and ‘Cinemaya’, the world’s first journal devoted exclusively to Asian cinema in association with the Government of NCT of Delhi, will also see a tribute to Guru Dutt on his 40th birth anniversary.

The 10 sections of the festival include the competition section, Asian Frescoes, tribute to Guru Dutt, India Bazaar, tribute to Iran’s Mohsen Makhmalbaf and family, Arabesque: A Focus on Arab Cinema, tribute to Wong Kar Wai (Hong Kong), East-West Encounters, films from the Hubert Bals Fund and ‘Intolerance’, a special screenings of political documentaries.

Veteran cine writer and film society activist Chidananda Dasgupta received the first Lifetime Achievement Award for Best Writing on the occasion.

The festival will end with Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s 1992 classic ‘Once Upon a Time’ on July 25. The competition jury includes film star Shabana Azmi (president), Cannes Film Festival (Director’s Fortnight) Director Oliver Pere and filmmaker Aparna Sen.

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Demand to end manual sewerage work
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
In view of frequent deaths of sewerage workers in the Capital, several organisations today demanded abolition of manual sewerage work. Even as these ‘silent killings’ went unnoticed and unreported, they said immediate steps be taken to provide safety equipment, guarantee emergency procedures and regular health check-up for such workers until the system was finally phased out.

‘’Nobody in the government seemed bothered about their plight, especially after the contract system was introduced in the post liberalisation era,’’ said Subhash Gatade, ‘Sandhan’ editor at a conference on the plight of sewer workers here.

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Hauz Khas to host first night bazaar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
The Union Tourism Ministry has selected upmarket Hauz Khas to host Delhi’s first “night bazaar” and decided to sponsor a Sufi festival in the national Capital.

The night bazaar, a brainchild of Tourism Minister Renuka Chaudhary, besides hosting shopping plazas, will be a one-stop venue for food and art lovers. It will start functioning in the next couple of months.

“It will have everything a visitor or a tourist looks for. Besides giving an opportunity to shop, the bazaar will also provide eating out facilities and performance by the local artists and others,” she said.

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