SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
D E L H I   A N D   N E I G H B O U R H O O D

Agencies asked to expedite Commonwealth Games projects
New Delhi, January 9
The Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, today asked the civic authorities in the Capital to accord priority to projects related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and clear them expeditiously.

Accident insurance scheme for kids in MCD schools
New Delhi, January 9
The MCD proposes to start an accident insurance scheme for children studying in its schools in Delhi and launch several schemes for rehabilitation of slum dwellers in the Capital during the coming year.

Can’t meet HC’s demolition deadline, admits MCD
New Delhi, January 9
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi today admitted that it would not be able to meet the January 18 deadline set by the Delhi High Court to demolish over 18,000 unauthorised constructions in the Capital.

Govt to pay property tax to MCD by March: CM
New Delhi, January 9
As MCD gets tough on property tax defaulters including several government agencies, Delhi Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit today said the dues on government properties would be paid by the end of this financial year.

Lawyers’ strike forces man to argue son’s bail
New Delhi, January 9
A man was today forced to argue the bail of his son, accused of murder and in jail for over six months, before a sessions court in Rohini after his counsel refused to represent him due to the ongoing lawyers’ strike.

Man held for online credit card fraud
New Delhi, January 9
A Delhi court today sent to police custody for four days a man accused of defrauding Bank of Punjab of more than Rs 1.5 crore through the internet using stolen data of US credit cards and card holders.

CGHS scam: CBI files final status report in HC
New Delhi, January 9

The CBI today told the Delhi High Court that it has sought permission of the Union Government to prosecute a Joint Secretary level officer who was allegedly involved in Rs 4000 crore housing scam in the Capital.


Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit with leader of Opposition Jagdish Mukhi at her residence during a get-together with media persons in the Capital.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit with leader of Opposition Jagdish Mukhi at her residence during a get-together with media persons in the Capital. — Tribune photo Rajeev Tyagi

EARLIER STORIES

 

No respite from cold wave
New Delhi, January 9
The Capital continued to reel under intense cold conditions today with the minimum temperature remaining below two degrees Celsius for the second consecutive day today.

Seven gangsters held after shootout
New Delhi, January 9
The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police claimed to have arrested seven gangsters of the Anup Balaraj gang after a brief encounter last evening. They were identified as Manoj Chulana, Sampooran Singh, Satbir Singh, Jaivir Singh, Anil Kumar, Ravinder and Vinod.

The accused in police custody in the Capital on Monday. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi
The accused in police custody in the Capital on Monday.

Prohibitory orders in Chankyapuri from Jan 15
New Delhi, January 9 Prohibitory orders will be clamped in and around the diplomatic area in the Capital from January 15 in view of the perceived threat to the security of the diplomatic missions.

Jats demand quota for central, state govt jobs
New Delhi, January 9
Members of the Jat community from various parts of the country attending the All India Jat Mahasammelan at Ram Lila Grounds in New Delhi today demanded reservation of seats for Jats in various central and state government jobs and educational institutes.


Visvendra Singh, Kuldeep Singh Gochwal and Virendra Singh at the ‘All India Jat Mahasammelan’, at Ram Lila Grounds in the Capital.
Visvendra Singh, Kuldeep Singh Gochwal and Virendra Singh at the ‘All India Jat Mahasammelan’, at Ram Lila Grounds in the Capital.

Farmers demand compensation for damage to crops
Faridabad, January 9
The farmers of the district already reeling under the acute scarcity of water and power are fearful of severe damage to the standing rabi and cash crops due to the ongoing freezing conditions and cold wave in the region.

Minor’s rapist sentenced to 10-yr RI
New Delhi, January 9
A youth, who raped a 15-year-old daughter of his factory owner after abducting her in east Delhi, was today sentenced to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment by a city court.

NIOS students to interact with experts through EDUSAT
New Delhi, January 9
The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is relying on technology to come on a par with the formal system of schooling and provide its students the opportunity to make the best use of it.

Widow’s house burnt down by relatives
Noida, January 9
A widow has accused her brother-in-law and her nephews of burning her house in Sorkha village. The woman, identified as Meena, complained to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Piyush Mordia, that though her children were safe, her house was fully destroyed while one of her buffalo was found dead due to the fire.

Call to check corruption among politicians, bureaucrats
Gurgaon, January 9
In the light of the recent revelations involving a number of Members of Parliament in corruption cases, a senior advocate, Mr Arun Sharma, has advocated that all elected politicians and senior bureaucrats make public all properties owned by them and their immediate relatives.

Friend done to death for Rs 100
Ghaziabad, January 9
A man was killed for just Rs 100 near Kotgaon railway gate. Sushil and his friend Kamlesh were drinking on Saturday night when they fell out for the meagre sum. As they came to blows, Kamlesh hit Sushil on the head with a wooden club lying nearby, injuring him seriously.

Keep warm and eat heart-healthy diet, senior citizens advised
Noida, January 9
Senior citizens, especially those with a history of heart disease should take care of themselves in the dead of winter. They should protect themselves against cold, keep warm, avoid exertion and eat simple, light and easily digestible food.

Call to set up ‘NRI gender cell’
New Delhi, January 9
Advocating the need for providing emotional and legal support mechanism for NRI women who face a host of problems in countries of their residence, an organisation called ‘WomenPowerConnect’ has pressed for setting up an ‘NRI gender cell’.

International puppet festival from Jan 13
New Delhi, January 9
A seven-day international puppet festival will be held in the Capital from January 13. The festival, produced by ‘Teamwork Productions’, focuses on new contemporary work from India and abroad and was seen as an established platform to further multi-media arts in the country, a statement said today.

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Agencies asked to expedite
Commonwealth Games projects

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
The Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, today asked the civic authorities in the Capital to accord priority to projects related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and clear them expeditiously.

With four years to go, ‘fast track’ clearances were needed for the projects concerning the games, she said while inaugurating a workshop on Traffic and Transportation regarding the Commonwealth Games.

The Chief Minister asked the authorities concerned to complete the projects within the given time frame so that all preparations are made before the start of the Commonwealth Games.

There is multiplicity of authorities in Delhi but all departments concerned had now got together and look for ways to make quick progress on the issues that had been identified, the Chief Minister said.

She hoped that work on suggestions coming out of the meet could start next month. The best available expertise in the country and abroad should be used to conceptualise and execute the projects, she said, adding that a team would shortly be sent to Dubai to study ‘signages’.

“A team would also be sent abroad to study street furniture,” Ms Dikshit said.

The workshop was expected to recommend ways to improve the national Capital’s roads, signages, public buses, other public transport, including taxis and dedicated buses for athletes, besides utilisation of Delhi Metro for the games.

Ms Dikshit also asked the authorities to use this opportunity to improve the tourism infrastructure and the condition of historical monuments in the city.

The three-day workshop was attended by senior officers of Delhi Traffic Police, Delhi Transport Authority, Central Public Works Department, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority and Sports Authority of India, besides other Central and Delhi government officials.

The workshop was presided over by Commonwealth Games Organisation Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kalmadi said that “We need to develop the infrastructure like hotels and stadiums, transport and security for the games. A meeting on security arrangements had already been held with the police and the para-military organisations”.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister today announced that the government would construct a road to have the shortest link between Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium
and the proposed Games Village for Commonwealth Games 2010 at Akshardham.

The road that is proposed to be constructed for connection from Nizamuddin Bridge NH-24 to Lodhi Road would prove to be quite useful during the ensuing Commonwealth Games as traffic volume was going to increase rapidly.

The Delhi Cabinet has given its nod to a proposal of PWD for appointment of consultants which would be entrusted the detailed feasibility study, geometric design, structural feasibility, environmental impact study and clearance of the proposal from DDA, Delhi Urban Arts Commission and local bodies. A decision to this effect was taken at a Cabinet Meeting chaired today by the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit.

The Chief Minister said the new link road between two important centres relating to Commonwealth Games 2010 would be constructed in accordance with the draft Master Plan of 2021. She added that the appointment of the consultants would set the ball rolling for providing an alternative route to travel between the venue of main sport events and Village of Commonwealth Games 2010. The selection of consultants had been made on the basis of reputation, competency and experience which would pave the way for implementing a project relating to the Commonwealth Games.

The new link would also provide long-term relief to commuters on this sector and make the journey smooth and comfortable.

The Cabinet has also approved the creation of certain posts of different categories in the Delhi Judicial Academy. The posts of Director, Additional Director and other ministerial staff in different pay scales would be filled on deputation. With the creation of new posts, the Delhi Judicial Academy would be able to fulfil its aims and objectives of imparting training to newly recruited officers of the Delhi Judicial Service and the Higher Judicial Service apart from facilitating study courses, conferences and seminars.

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Accident insurance scheme for kids in MCD schools
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
The MCD proposes to start an accident insurance scheme for children studying in its schools in Delhi and launch several schemes for rehabilitation of slum dwellers in the Capital during the coming year.

Starting off the accident insurance scheme for children studying in MCD schools and launching several new schemes for rehabilitating lakhs of slum dwellers in various areas under its jurisdiction are among some of the proposals included in the modified budget estimates for the years 2005-2006 as well as the estimates for the year 2006-2007 presented to the MCD Standing Committee here today by chairmen of various statutory committees.

Among those who submitted their proposals were chairman of the education committee, Thakur Das, the chairperson of the rural areas and slum and J J committee, Memvati Barnala, chairman of the garden committee Nathu Ram Nagar, chairman of the health committee, Ramesh Pandit and chairperson of the works committee, Shalu Malik.

The budget proposals also include proposals to set up several water harvesting centres and a massive afforestation drive in the Capital to make it more environment-friendly.

Under the proposed accident insurance scheme for school children, included in a presentation by the chairman, education committee, Thakur Das, the MCD will provide Rs 25,000 to the next of kin of a school child in case of his accidental death or permanent disability, Rs 5,000 in case of the child’s hospitalisation with a major injury and Rs 500 in case of a minor injury.

The MCD also proposes to train all its teachers and students in disaster management to ensure the children’s safety in case of earthquake or fire.

In his proposals, chairman, garden committee said the MCD planned to plant 1,75,000 trees alongside the various busy intersections in the capital, as part of its endeavour to keep Delhi pollution-free. The chairperson, works committee, Shalu Malik said the MCD had in its budget proposals earmarked Rs 49.8 crore for preparing a master plan for implementation of the Yamuna action plan phase II by Japan’s Bank for International Cooperation.

Among other proposals submitted were a plan to interlink various villages in the country through roads and setting up of CNG-run crematoriums in the Capital.

In fact, in the coming years, all crematoriums in the city will run on the environment-friendly fuel.

“Crematoriums based on the environment-friendly fuel, CNG, have been set in Delhi. In fact, the first such crematorium at Bela Road has already become operational,” chairman of MCD’s health committee, Mr Ramesh Pandit said in his presentation of the budget estimates for the department before the Standing Committee today.

“Till now, four CNG-run crematoriums have begun operations in Delhi. While two of these are new units, the other two were earlier being run on electricity,” Mr Pandit told the committee.

According to Mr Pandit, crematoriums run on CNG were not only environment-friendly but also cheaper. “In fact, keeping in view the utility of operating crematoriums on CNG, it has been proposed by the MCD to convert all electricity-run crematoriums to CNG,” Mr Pandit added.

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Can’t meet HC’s demolition deadline, admits MCD
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi today admitted that it would not be able to meet the January 18 deadline set by the Delhi High Court to demolish over 18,000 unauthorised constructions in the Capital.

Under its demolition drive, which began on December 19, the MCD had till Saturday (January 7) demolished only about 637 unauthorised properties, including about 451 commercial and 186 residential.

“It would be difficult to demolish the more than 18,000 unauthorised constructions by the deadline set by the court,” an MCD spokesman told reporters here.

At the same time, he said the MCD would, in the coming week before the deadline, intensify its demolition drive so as to cover as many unauthorised structures as possible till January 18.

“We will intensify the demolition drive in the coming days and try to cover as many unauthorised structures as possible before the court deadline ends,” the spokesman said.

The admission meant that the corporation could approach the High court for the extension of the January 18 deadline.

On December 7, the High Court directed the MCD to clear encroachments in the entire city within six weeks. The December 7 order of the High Court widened the scope of its November 30 order wherein it had directed the MCD to clear encroachments in Patel Nagar in Central Delhi. The deadline for the MCD to submit a report on the demolitions to the Court has been fixed as January 18.

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Govt to pay property tax to MCD by March: CM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
As MCD gets tough on property tax defaulters including several government agencies, Delhi Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit today said the dues on government properties would be paid by the end of this financial year.

“There are still two months left. We will make the payment by March,” she told reporters when asked about the property dues on government bodies, including Delhi Jal Board of which she is the chairperson, and the new Delhi Secretariat building.

A total of Rs 900 crore is due on government properties, including those belonging to DMRC, DJB, DDA, CPWD, PWD as well as the new Delhi Secretariat building.

DMRC owes the corporation property tax amounting to around Rs 400 crore, while the DJB and DDA have to pay up Rs 288 crore and Rs 203 crore, respectively.

The new Delhi Secretariat building, also known as Player’s Building, owes Rs 65 lakh in property tax to the MCD.

While the MCD’s target for property tax collection in 2005-06 was around Rs 1,200 crore, it has so far managed to collect only around Rs 900 crore.

Delhi Golf Club owes MCD Rs 30 crore, Transco Rs 22 crore, colleges Rs 15 crore, while petrol pumps run by IOC have to pay Rs 12 crore and those run by Bharat Petroleum Rs 7.63 crore.

Power discoms BSES and NDPL owe it Rs 6.25 crore and Rs 2.65 crore, respectively.

CPWD and PWD owe it Rs 4 and Rs 3 crore respectively, while Delhi Police has not paid tax amounting to Rs 2.5 crore.

Meanwhile, MCD Standing Committee Chairman Mukesh Goyal said the arrears were for last year. “These arrears should have been paid last year and even now they are saying the payments would be made by March,” he said.

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Lawyers’ strike forces man to argue son’s bail
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
A man was today forced to argue the bail of his son, accused of murder and in jail for over six months, before a sessions court in Rohini after his counsel refused to represent him due to the ongoing lawyers’ strike.

Additional Sessions Judge Satnam Singh heard Vinod Bansal, a resident of Ashok Vihar and father of accused Sidharth Bansal, who blamed the lawyer of shoddy work and requested the court to immediately withdraw the present bail application prepared by the absentee counsel.

“The present bail application is not properly drafted and does not disclose other and important material facts. It may kindly be dismissed as withdrawn with a liberty to file a fresh one,” Bansal’s application stated, prompting the court to dismiss it.

According to the police, accused Sidharth Bansal, a call centre trainee, had allegedly shot to death a policeman who tried to prevent a robbery by the accused in a Ashok Vihar residence on June 23 last year.

Sidharth was arrested the next day and has been in judicial custody since then.

He is charged with offences under Sections 302 (murder), 393 (attempt to robbery), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and other offences under the IPC and the Arms Act.

Meanwhile, a lawyer who reached a Magistrate court in the new complex to represent his client was ousted by a patrol of DBA lawyers roaming in the court verandahs to spot out such ‘erring colleagues’.

He was taken to the venue of strike outside the main gate of the court and “advised” by his colleagues to keep away from the courts “whatever be the cost”. 

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Man held for online credit card fraud
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
A Delhi court today sent to police custody for four days a man accused of defrauding Bank of Punjab of more than Rs 1.5 crore through the internet using stolen data of US credit cards and card holders.

Accused Deepak Mehta, arrested by the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Crime Branch today, was remanded to custody till January 13 by Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Chaudhary.

In the FIR registered with Hauz Khas Police Station in south Delhi, Mehta is accused of hacking into computer systems, cheating and criminal conspiracy.

According to the police, Bank of Punjab Ltd had alleged that it had authorised Avenues India Ltd to appoint sub- merchants and provide online credit card processing services.

Avenues India in turn hired the services of TechBurg.com, a partnership between Mehta and co-accused Kaushik Rajani, which was floated on November 23, 2004.

Police allege that the two conspired and misappropriated Rs 1,58,85,020 through the internet on three websites acereseller.com, technolozy.com and techburg.com using credit card numbers stolen from US card holders.

To date, more than 350 such transactions, all carried out by the three websites, had been disputed by the original card holders for which the bank had to face liabilities of Rs 1.25 crore, police alleged.

The funds were allegedly transferred to accounts of IT Solutions Pvt Ltd and TechBurg.com, and later withdrawn as cash and transferred to accounts of the two men, they said.

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CGHS scam: CBI files final status report in HC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
The CBI today told the Delhi High Court that it has sought permission of the Union Government to prosecute a Joint Secretary level officer who was allegedly involved in Rs 4000 crore housing scam in the Capital.

Filing the final status report of the probe into the housing scam, the CBI told a division bench of Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Rekha Sharma that the agency had sought the permission of the government to file a preliminary enquiry (PE) against the senior official, who had earlier served as Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) of the Delhi Government. The agency’s counsel Harish Gulati said the official was allegedly involved in reviving three defunct housing societies.

The CBI said 95 PEs had been filed in the trial court. No criminality was made against 22 housing societies and opinion against one society could not be made as the matter was sub judice.

The lower court had issued an arrest warrant for former RCS Narayan Diwakar, builder mafia S K Saxena and other accused. The case was adjourned till February 13. The court asked the DDA to give list of the societies which were given land since 2000.

The CBI informed the court that eight more accused had been nabbed for their alleged involvement in the scam.

Hearing the petition of Yogi Raj Group Housing Societies, the court observed that the objective of cooperative movement was defeated due to nexus between corrupt officials and the builders.

“It is the element of profit making in view of difference of market value of land and the value on which land is allotted to the societies which has resulted in the nexus of builders and officials to reap gain by unholy alliance,” the order said.

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No respite from cold wave
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
The Capital continued to reel under intense cold conditions today with the minimum temperature remaining below two degrees Celsius for the second consecutive day today.

However, there was some respite for Delhiites as there was no fog, allowing air and road traffic to operate smoothly despite a thin layer of mist engulfing the city in the early hours.

The minimum temperature today was recorded at 1.4 degrees Celsius, six degrees below normal for this time of the season, making it the third coldest day in the last 70 years, Meteorological Department said here.

Yesterday, the minimum temperature was recorded at 0.2 degrees Celsius A minimum temperature of minus 0.6 degrees was recorded on January 10, 1935. The maximum temperature was registered at 18.1 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal.

Icy cold winds continued to lash the city from northern plains, which is in the grip of a severe cold wave, even as weathermen forecast a rise in night temperature in the city in the coming days.

All International and domestic flights operated on schedule as Runway Visibility Range (RVR) at the airport was around 1,500 metres in the early hours and improved to nearly 2,500 metres as the sun came out.

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Seven gangsters held after shootout
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police claimed to have arrested seven gangsters of the Anup Balaraj gang after a brief encounter last evening.

They were identified as Manoj Chulana, Sampooran Singh, Satbir Singh, Jaivir Singh, Anil Kumar, Ravinder and Vinod. Of them, Manoj and Sampooran are graduates from different places in Haryana while others are matric pass.

The police seized seven firearms, including a US-made revolver and 10 live rounds, from their possession. The two Santro cars in which they were travelling have been impounded.

The suspects were arrested last evening when they were going towards Siraspur village from G T Karnal Road. The police had a tip-off that the suspects would reach the place and a trap was laid there. As soon as they reached the spot, their vehicles were identified by the informers. The suspects were signaled to stop, but they tried to drive away.

The police team chased them. When they saw the police vehicle behind them, the suspects opened fire. But the police team eventually overtook their vehicles and nabbed them.

During interrogation, they disclosed that they had come to village Siraspur in area of Samaipur Badli at the behest of a property dealer who wanted their help to take the possession of a godown built on a plot at the village Siraspur. The property owner had promised them Rs 5 lakh for the job as remuneration. 

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Prohibitory orders in Chankyapuri from Jan 15

New Delhi, January 9
Prohibitory orders will be clamped in and around the diplomatic area in the Capital from January 15 in view of the perceived threat to the security of the diplomatic missions.

According to the order issued by Commissioner of Police, K K Paul, today, the prohibitory orders, which will remain in force for 60 days from January 15, will cover embassies/High Commissions of the U S, Russia, U K, China, Iraq, Pakistan etc.

The order has also been issued in view of the threat of disturbance to public tranquillity.

The order prohibits the holding of any public meeting, assembly of five or more persons and holding of demonstrations in the area for the specified period.

However, religious functions, rallies or public meetings can be held in the area with prior permission, in writing, of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi district. Any person contravening the order shall be liable to be punished under section 188 of the IPC. Prohibitory orders have also been issued in and around the Tis Hazari Court and the Karkardooma court for a period of 60 days from January 16.—TNS

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Jats demand quota for central, state govt jobs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
Members of the Jat community from various parts of the country attending the All India Jat Mahasammelan at Ram Lila Grounds in New Delhi today demanded reservation of seats for Jats in various central and state government jobs and educational institutes.

At least 30,000 Jats from various states, including Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh attending the Jat convention organised to mark the martydom of veteran freedom fighter Maharaja Nahar Singh of Ballabhgarh, Haryana, demanded reservation for Jats under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in the central and state government jobs and educational institutes, particularly in the states of Haryana, Punjab and other parts of the country.

The Jat community also demanded reservation of jobs in Bharatpur and Dholpur constituency of Rajasthan as these were the two parts in the state which were left out for reservation of the Other Backward Castes (OBC) category.

The other demands made at the convention of the Jat community included inclusion of central jobs in the states of Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal and Madhya Pradesh for the OBC category as in these states only jobs were reserved in the state vacancies.

They also demanded simplification of norms for OBC certification, increasing the creamy layer categorisation in Delhi from Rs 1lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh as in other states, awarding Bharat Ratna to Ch Charan Singh and Sir Chottu Ram and renaming of Mathura Road as Maharaja Nahar Singh Road from Khooni Darwaza to Ballabhgarh in Faridabad and allowing change of land use (CLU) to farmers for supplementing income of their families. The Jat convention is being organised by the All India Jat Mahasabha along with Raja Nahar Singh Society. Apart from reservation, the recent political situation, the social problems being faced by Jats, falling standards in education and public life and growing unemployment were also discussed during the Jat Maha Sammelan.

Jats have major contribution in the freedom struggle of the nation as well as economic growth. Major Jat leaders, including Maharaja of Bharatpur, Delhi Health Minister Yoga Nand Shastri, Mr Sahib Singh Verma and Mr Sajjan Kumar were present on the occasion.

The Delhi Government was urged to provide space for Jat Bhawan in New Delhi. Ch Virendra Singh was nominated as working president of All India Jat Mahasabha.

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Farmers demand compensation for damage to crops
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 9
The farmers of the district already reeling under the acute scarcity of water and power are fearful of severe damage to the standing rabi and cash crops due to the ongoing freezing conditions and cold wave in the region.

They have sought an immediate survey and special ‘Girdawari’ to assess the compensation that should be distributed among the affected farmers.

The president of the ‘Zila Kisan Club’, Mr Satbir Singh Dagar, said here today that crops, including mustard (Sarson), potato, peas, pumpkin and flowers, have either been damaged or may be damaged due to the prevailing extreme cold conditions. He said that farmers feared a huge loss in terms of the total production and output.

He said the government should immediately order a survey in this connection and provide a proper compensation to the affected farmers, as these crops have not been insured.

A Congress leader and former MLA from the district, Mr Rajender Singh Bisla, has asked the government to direct the authorities concerned for carrying out the survey to assess the damage to the crops due to the extreme cold weather.

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Minor’s rapist sentenced to 10-yr RI
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
A youth, who raped a 15-year-old daughter of his factory owner after abducting her in east Delhi, was today sentenced to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment by a city court.

While awarding the sentence to Jagdish alias Jagga Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) J M Malik, said, “The case reveals that the accused led the weak and meek victim to the garden path, ravished her and kept her under his captivity.”

The court acquitted two other co-accused, who, as per the prosecution, had helped the convict in abducting the victim, for want of evidence.

The ASJ has also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on the convict after the offences under section 366 (Abducting woman to compel her to marry) and 376 (Rape) of the IPC were found proved.

The convict, who was a frequent visitor to victim’s house in Sunder Nagar in east Delhi as he used to work in her father’s factory, forcibly entered her house along with two other men on the afternoon of July 8, 2003 when her parents were away.

She was taken away and raped by the convict for two days.

The police recovered the girl from near a bus stop
in the Loni area of north-east Delhi on July 10. Jagdish was arrested the same day.

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NIOS students to interact with
experts through EDUSAT
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is relying on technology to come on a par with the formal system of schooling and provide its students the opportunity to make the best use of it.

Having spruced up their image and signed an agreement with 24 educational boards for allowing transfer of credits, the NIOS will now make it possible for its students to interact with subject experts through EDUSAT.

Pointing out that the process was still underway, the NIOS secretary, Mr Dinesh Singh Bisht, said, “The installation of the satellite interactive terminal (SIT) is under process. The SITs are being provided by the CIET, the NCERT in collaboration with ISRO, Ahmedabad”.

The programme aimed at enhancing the teaching and learning process will allow students enrolled with the NIOS to interact with subject experts. “EDUSAT will be used for live interactive sessions for which the studio of the NIOS will be connected with 10 regional centres to facilitate face-to-face interaction with region directors, coordinators, teachers and learners in the first phase”, Mr Bisht elucidated.

While the installation work is complete in nine centres, work in Kolkata is yet to begin. In the second phase, NIOS studios will be connected to 100 study centres across the country to enable learners to interact with experts who will be present in the NIOS studio.

“Consultancy services will be provided to states and union territories in matters related to media programmes for open learning up to the senior secondary stage and for adult education programmes, including life enrichment programmes”, Mr Bisht pointed out.

It was also put forth that the NIOS would continue providing coordination and clearing house services in matters related to open learning media programmes at the school level. Also, the NIOS media library would be strengthened in order to meet the educational needs of the open learning system up to the pre-degree level.

Meanwhile, Indira Gandhi National Open University has said it is making efforts to provide educational programmes to remote areas of the country through Direct to Home (DTH) facility.

This was stated by the university’s vice-chancellor, Mr. H P Dikshit, at a special teleconferencing session with regional centres, an IGNOU release said.

Mr Dikshit said various organisations have approached the university for a possible collaboration so as to expand their activities by using information and technology of distance education available with the university.

The teleconference session had presentations by IGNOU’s 32 regional centres including Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune and Srinagar, the release said. 

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Widow’s house burnt down by relatives

Noida, January 9
A widow has accused her brother-in-law and her nephews of burning her house in Sorkha village. The woman, identified as Meena, complained to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Piyush Mordia, that though her children were safe, her house was fully destroyed while one of her buffalo was found dead due to the fire.

She accused her brother in-law and her nephews of forcibly trying to occupy her house.—OC

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Call to check corruption among politicians, bureaucrats
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, January 9
In the light of the recent revelations involving a number of Members of Parliament in corruption cases, a senior advocate, Mr Arun Sharma, has advocated that all elected politicians and senior bureaucrats make public all properties owned by them and their immediate relatives.

In a letter to the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, he said such a step would act as a deterrent to corrupt and dishonest officials and representatives. It would enhance the image of the bureaucrats and the politicians among the public, he said.

It may be recalled that Mr Sharma was the district general secretary of Haryana Vikas Party before its merger with the Congress party.

Mr Sharma said it should be made mandatory for every official to declare his properties at the time of joining the office.

He said the agenda of the Congress party, ‘eradication of fear, hunger and corruption’, would be realised only if fight against corruption is taken to its logical conclusion.

Such a step would go a long way in checking corruption, observed Mr Kewal Ram Bansal, a retired officer from the telephone department.

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Friend done to death for Rs 100

Ghaziabad, January 9
A man was killed for just Rs 100 near Kotgaon railway gate. Sushil and his friend Kamlesh were drinking on Saturday night when they fell out for the meagre sum. As they came to blows, Kamlesh hit Sushil on the head with a wooden club lying nearby, injuring him seriously.

As Sushil slumped in a pool of blood, Kamlesh fled from the scene. Sushil was rushed to government hospital by his uncle Lalan Sawhney and some other people. Later, Sushil breathed his last in the hospital. Originally from Phool Bhug village in Darbhanga district in Bihar, Sushil was reportedly a rickshaw puller. Sushil and Kamlesh were living in the same house in Kotgaon village. Kamlesh is a truck driver. —OC

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Keep warm and eat heart-healthy diet, senior citizens advised
Parmindar Singh

Noida, January 9
Senior citizens, especially those with a history of heart disease should take care of themselves in the dead of winter. They should protect themselves against cold, keep warm, avoid exertion and eat simple, light and easily digestible food.

This advice was given by the well-known heart specialist, Dr G.S. Gambhir, Chairman, Heart Institute at Kailash Hospital, Noida, to senior citizens and members of Central government health scheme while speaking on coronary artery disease and heart attack.

Heart, Dr Gambhir said, is the only organ that starts beating even before a child’s birth and goes on till one dies. It beats 60 to 90 times a minute—billions of time in an average life and acts as a powerhouse in supplying oxygenated blood which travels through electrical impulses to all parts of the human body..

Heart disease incident is four times more in India than in the USA, 20 times higher than in China and 26 times more than among the Japanese. In western countries, however, the incidence of stroke is much higher than in India.

A disturbing recent trend, according to Dr Gabhir, is that the incidence of heart disease is increasing in India, more so, among younger people between 30 and 50 years. The incidence is twice in metros and towns than in villages.

In south India, the incidence is double than in north India, perhaps because of excessive use of coconut oil in food. As a rule, men are prone to heart disease. It is caused mainly by eating fat-rich food, heavy smoking, drinking liquor over long periods and lack of exercise. Family history, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are also important factors.

Coronary arteries are like tubes and pipes which get clogged and blocked. It is called atterosclerosis with deposits of substances like fats resulting in narrowing of coronary arteries. This can trigger angina and chest pains. When a patient gets excruciating and prolonged pains, it is heart attack. It can happen suddenly due to rupture in a blockade and is accompanied by sweating, uneasiness and anxiety. It is best to call in a heart specialist or better to rush the patient to a hospital without losing time. Self-medication can be dangerous.

In a nutshell, prevention is better than cure, underscored Dr Gambhir. Avoid ghee, butter, whole milk, heavy food, smoking, liquor, extraneous routine, stress and hypertension. Aggressiveness, irritability and short temper are bad for a heart patient. Try to remain calm and relaxed, as a rule.

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Call to set up ‘NRI gender cell’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
Advocating the need for providing emotional and legal support mechanism for NRI women who face a host of problems in countries of their residence, an organisation called ‘WomenPowerConnect’ has pressed for setting up an ‘NRI gender cell’.

‘WomenPowerConnect’ (WPC) hopes the cell will come to the rescue of these troubled women alongside the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and National Commission for Women.

“The ‘NRI gender cell’ can offer support to women who land up in problems either through marriage or by virtue of their being in a foreign country. These women presently have nowhere to turn to and the cell can offer both emotional and legal support,” said Dr Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research, and president of ‘WomenPowerConnect’.

She pointed out that according to the survey immigrant women constituted a large part of those “battered” women. But domestic violence did not figure in the discussions about the NRI lifestyles where only professional achievements, financial success, philanthropy towards India were emphasised repeatedly.

“Though domestic violence seemed to be not a particular problem among the South Asian community, many surveys indicated that Asian women immigrants in the US and UK experienced physical or sexual injury due to interpersonal partner violence,” it was pointed out.

Further, it was mentioned that most research suggested that wife abuse was found equally in all social groups and classes. A compilation of community-based studies points to the high prevalence of domestic violence in Asian communities.

Some of the issues specific to NRI women include failed/fraudulent marriages between NRI grooms and Indian brides in the USA/UK, issues related to dissolution of marriage, recognised in one country but not in the other countries, annulling of marriage solemnised between NRI men and Indian women by country of residence, desertion of wife or forced divorce by NRI husband (to remarry), it was put forth.

It is to help such women that ‘WomenPowerConnect’ plans to have a host of legal and emotional support mechanisms. Apart from the NRI gender cell, a host of other measures have been suggested that include state governments setting up special cells for providing free legal aid and counseling, information booklets, verification of documents of NRI groom like voter registration card and social security number to check his financial and marital status and compulsory registration of marriages.

Bilateral agreements for protection of such marriages and government-monitored conciliation for settlement of matrimonial with extradition treaties for criminal action against grooms suppressing their marital status have also been suggested by ‘WomenPowerConnect’.

Other things that were suggested and that could become WPC’s work in partnership with the MOIA within India include organising regional workshops to create awareness relating to life abroad for newly married Indian women and career options, providing referral services and legal aid to aggrieved women with the help of NGO networks, acting as a resource centre for information on all issues of concern to the overseas Indians.

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International puppet festival from Jan 13
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
A seven-day international puppet festival will be held in the Capital from January 13. The festival, produced by ‘Teamwork Productions’, focuses on new contemporary work from India and abroad and was seen as an established platform to further multi-media arts in the country, a statement said today.

The festival would be hosted at various locations in the city. The shows would range from traditional rod and string puppets to visual stories and epics.

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