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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H A R Y A N A

New excise policy to break liquor traders’ monopoly
Chandigarh, February 27
Haryana’s excise policy for next year, which will come up for approval before the Cabinet tomorrow, will be unprecedented in the history of the state. The Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who also holds the Department of Excise and Taxation, has brought complete transparency in the state-sponsored liquor trade, which is one of the main sources of the state’s revenue.

MLA acquitted in case of embezzlement
Yamunanagar, February 27
After more than eight years of the registration of a case of embezzlement of government funds, against Naulatha MLA and ex-chairperson of the Haryana Samaj Kalyan Salahkar Board Ms Prasanni Devi. She has been acquitted of the charge.

State gets more power from central pool
New Delhi, February 27
The Centre has agreed to release an additional 50 MW power for Haryana from the Central unallocated pool to meet the increasing demand of power for the ensuing kharif crop in the state.

MoU on jetropha cultivation signed
Yamunanagar, February 27
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for establishing a rural business hub through panchayat public private partnership was signed between 52 panchayats of the district and a British company here today.

High court
Yamunanagar SSP asked to provide security to married couple
Chandigarh, February 27
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Yamunanagar, to provide proper security to a young newly married couple, who belong to different religions.

Sacha Sauda case


Stories from Haryana towns falling in the National Capital Region are put in
 Delhi & neighbourhood.


YOUR TOWN
Ambala
Bhiwani
Chandigarh
Fatehabad
Panchkula
Rewari
Rohtak
Sonepat
Yamunanagar


EARLIER STORIES

 

Women can popularise solar water heating system
Chandigarh, February 27
Target women for popularising the use of solar water heating systems at homes. This was the message given by the participants at a workshop on solar heating systems that took place at a hotel here today.

SHO seeks probe into husband’s arrest
Sonepat, February 27
Ms Asha Rani, SHO, Mahila Police Station, here has alleged that the Civil Lines police has arrested her husband Rakesh Kumar and his friend Vijay Kumar in a false criminal case.

Staff shortage hits work in 15 consumer forums
Fatehabad, February 27
Work in 15 of the 20 District Consumer Redressal Forums in the state has come to a standstill due to non-appointment of forum presidents and members. The districts where the work has been affected include Fatehabad, Hisar, Sirsa, Jind, Faridabad, Kaithal, Bhiwani and Rewari. The problem is unlikely to be solved  till May.

Cong leaders vow support for Hisar rally
Panchkula, February 27
All factions within the District Congress Committee made a promise to work together. At a meeting called by state Transport Minister, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Pawan Valecha to make arrangements for the Nav Nirmal Rally of the Congress at Hisar on March 5.

Haryana Transport Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala with Congress workers in Panchkula on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Haryana Transport Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala with Congress workers in Panchkula on Monday.

Escaped undertrial tries to attack witness
Sonepat, February 27
Hardcore criminal Kaptan Singh, who had managed to escape from district jail in Sonepat a few months ago after assaulting the jail wardens, narrowly escaped arrest at his native village Barwasni, about 5 km from here, last night.

Nambardars to get honorarium
Ambala, February 27
Several nambardars of Ambala have welcomed the decision of Haryana Government by which they would be given a honorarium of Rs 500 from January and a 10 percent commission on ‘Abhiyana’ collected by them.

Hooda visits injured
Rohtak, February 27
The death toll in yesterday’s bus-Canter collision rose to 14 with one more victim succumbing to his injuries late last night. He has been identified as Amar Singh, a local resident.

Employees to make dowry declaration
Chandigarh, February 27
All male employees of the Haryana Government will have to furnish a declaration to their Head of Department after their marriage that they have not taken dowry.

Undertrial attacked, hurt
Rewari, February 27
An undertrial prisoner, Jaibir, was injured after he was stabbed in the neck with the handle of a spoon allegedly by another undertrial prisoner, Harender, in the District Jail here yesterday. Jaibir was rushed to the Civil Hospital.

Congress leader joins BJP
Bhiwani, February 27
A senior Congress leader and former Chief Parliamentary Secretary of Haryana, Mr Ran Singh Maan, from Badhra in this district announced to join the Bharatiya Janata Party at a simple function held at Charkhi Dadri yesterday.

Statements recorded in murder case
Ambala, February 27
The statement of Ritu, a prime witness in Rajinder (alias Bobby) murder case, was recorded in the court of the District and Sessions Judge, Mr R.C. Gupta, here today.


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New excise policy to break liquor traders’ monopoly
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Haryana’s excise policy for next year, which will come up for approval before the Cabinet tomorrow, will be unprecedented in the history of the state. The Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who also holds the Department of Excise and Taxation, has brought complete transparency in the state-sponsored liquor trade, which is one of the main sources of the state’s revenue.

The new policy, informed sources say, will also fulfil another promise of Mr Hooda, which he made last year. The policy will break the monopoly in the state’s liquor trade introduced three years ago, when it was handed over to one or two cartels virtually on a platter. This not only adversely affected the state’s revenue, but also rendered a large number of local contractors unemployed. For about five years, the increase in the excise policy was less than 10 per cent.

The Hooda government, which held its first auction of the liquor vends in the state soon after it came to power last year, did try to break the monopoly. He and the then Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Venod Sharma, succeeded in it to a large extent, but not fully. Out of 20 districts, nine were freed from the clutches of the cartels, which still managed to outbid the small contractors in 11 districts. However, the revenue collection saw a quantum jump of about 17 per cent, which was almost double the increase in excise revenue in five years together.

This year, the sources say, Mr Hooda has decided to do away with the years-old system of auctioning the liquor vends. Now applications will be invited for the allotment of vends, both of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) as well as the country liquor. In case of more than one application for a particular vend, the allotment will be made through a draw of lots, to be conducted by a committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner concerned.

Only once the vends were allotted instead of being auctioned in Haryana. But only the L-2 vends (those which sell IMFL) were allotted, while the country liquor vends were auctioned.

Sources close to the Chief Minister say that he is prepared for any loss of revenue by the new experiment. But experts say the new policy will fetch an increase of at least 14 per cent, if not more, in the revenue. The sources say the money which was used to go in the pockets of politicians during the days of the cartels, will now go to the state exchequer. The licence fee of the vends would vary from Rs 1 crore per annum to Rs 8.50 lakh, depending upon their location. Obviously, the vends near the border of the state would carry higher licence fee.

The sources say Mr Hooda feels that even if the new policy fails to bring the desired increase in the revenue, at least it would provide employment to the local people. It is no secret that many small local contractors had to take up jobs with the cartels in the previous years to support their families. Some of them had to resort to petty crime or smuggling of liquor. The new policy would also be consumer-friendly as it would encourage competition, unlike the past when the cartels had a free run in fixing the rates.

The new policy may not go down well with those politicians who want to dabble in the liquor trade because they would be at par now with the other competitors. They are likely to be annoyed with Mr Hooda, who, however, does not seem to be worried over this aspect of his policy.

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MLA acquitted in case of embezzlement
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, February 27
After more than eight years of the registration of a case of embezzlement of government funds, against Naulatha MLA and ex-chairperson of the Haryana Samaj Kalyan Salahkar Board Ms Prasanni Devi. She has been acquitted of the charge.

Another accused Devender Nath, a former welfare officer has also been acquitted but Baljit Singh Dahiya, a former accountant of the board and his wife Saravjeet Kaur, also accused in the case registered in September 1997 have been convicted and sentenced to jail.

It was alleged Ms Prasanni Devi had embezzled Rs 69,350 by granting the amount to a non-existing society, the ‘Loyal Shiksha Samiti, Yamunanagar’. In September last the government decided to withdraw the name of Ms Devi from the prosecution list and subsequently the district magistrate had directed to withdraw the name.

In September 1997 after an enquiry by a DSP, a case was registered under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC and Section 13(i)(d) of Prevention of the Corruption Act, 1988.

It was alleged that Dahiya forged records in connivance with the staff and they embezzled funds of the board. The police had found that Dahiya had posed as Secretary of the Loyal Shiksha Samiti and his wife Saravjeet Kaur as cashier.

The Prosecution had examined 22 witnesses.

Ms Prasanni Devi had pleaded the case was registered due to political reasons.

Additional Sessions Judge S.S Lamba acquitted Ms Devi and Mr Devender Nath of all charges. The judge also acquitted Baljit Singh Dahiya and his wife of the charges under Sections 120-B, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC.

However, the couple was found guilty of offence punishable under Section 420 of the IPC. The judge sentenced Baljit Singh Dahiya to rigorous imprisonment for three years with a fine of Rs 5,000. His wife was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of one year and a fine of Rs 2,000.

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State gets more power from central pool
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
The Centre has agreed to release an additional 50 MW power for Haryana from the Central unallocated pool to meet the increasing demand of power for the ensuing kharif crop in the state.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today met Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to seek more power for Haryana from Central unallocated pool and projects.

Mr Hooda said states, which had been receiving power from Central projects as well as Central Unallocated Pool (CUP), had been selling the surplus power through traders at exorbitant rates. He said in the circumstances, Haryana had to buy power at exorbitant rates from the other states to meet the increasing demand of its consumers. He urged the Union Power Minister to impose a ban on trading power received from CUP and a ceiling on the margins for selling power received at lower rates from the Central projects.

The Chief Minister urged the Union Power Minister to expedite the setting up of a 4x700 MW nuclear power plant in Haryana which had been under consideration for some time.

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MoU on jetropha cultivation signed
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, February 27
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for establishing a rural business hub through panchayat public private partnership (PPPP) was signed between 52 panchayats of the district and a British company here today.

Under the agreement signed in the presence of the Union minister for Panchayati Raj and Youth Welfare and Sports, jetropha carcus, a bio-diesel plant, would be set up over 1,130 acres.

The MoU was signed between Mr Sarju Singh, Managing Director, D-One Oil India Pvt Ltd, and chairpersons of Sadhaura, Bilaspur, Chhachhrouli, Jagadhri and Radour blocks.

The objective behind the rural business hub is to improve productivity by utilising waste, uncultivable lands and improve energy availability, exploit rural energy resources to the nation’s advantage.

In June, 2004, the Prime Minister had announced a strategy for developing rural business hubs through panchayats.

The minister, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, said the Panchayati Raj Ministry was promoting jetropha and karanaja plantations through panchayats so as to utilise wastelands for productive uses, to help panchayats initiate broad-based local economic activity for its subjects and harness the biomass available in abundance in rural India.

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High court
Yamunanagar SSP asked to provide security to
married couple

Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 27
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Yamunanagar, to provide proper security to a young newly married couple, who belong to different religions.

Disposing of the writ filed by Sudhir Verma and his wife, Ms Sabistha, who married against the wishes of her Muslim parents, Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta directed the police to ensure protection of the couple.

In their petition, Sudhir and Sabistha had alleged that ever since they married against the wishes of the girl's parents, they have been receiving threats, including those of physical harm. They had prayed that directions be issued to the police to provide adequate security to them.

They had married on February 10.

Sacha Sauda case

Counsel for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday opposed the plea of the Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa, that the ongoing investigation into the allegation that women inmates at the dera are being sexually exploited be ended as nobody had come forward to provide any information to the CBI.

During resumed hearing of the application filed by the CBI seeking extension of the probe period by another three months, the Bench of Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mr Justice Baldev Singh were told by the CBI counsel, Mr Rajan Gupta, that it was evident from the chain of events who was responsible for the anonymous complaint regarding alleged sexual exploitation of women inmates of the dera.

"The sister of a former inmate, Ranjit Singh, was living at the dera. Later, for some reason, he fell out with the dera management.

Then the anonymous letter was received by the High Court. Ranjit Singh was killed and, later, the editor of a local vernacular newspaper being printed from Sirsa, Mr Ram Chander Chhatrapati, who published a news item about the anonymous letter and its contents, was also killed," he said.

After hearing both counsel, the Bench adjourned the hearing to March 9 for further arguments.

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Women can popularise solar water heating system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Target women for popularising the use of solar water heating systems at homes. This was the message given by the participants at a workshop on solar heating systems that took place at a hotel here today.

The workshop was organised by the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency in tandem with the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources of the Union Government.

If the participants are to be believed, the demand for warm water has gone up in the country with the gradual improvement of the living standards of Indians. More and more people now prefer to have a warm water bath rather than pouring icy cold water upon themselves in winter.

The changing habits have created additional pressure on the conventional energy sources. The use of solar energy at households would considerably lessen the pressure on the power sector. The Union Government as well as the state government has already formulated laws laying down that residential buildings having a certain area (500 sq yards) will have to install solar water heating systems. But the authorities will like to see the smaller dwellings also opting for the solar heating systems.

This is possible if womenfolk can be convinced since it is women who usually take decisions on such matters, the participants said.

“Even asthetically the solar systems are not a bad deal” said an official from Maharastra showing a visual of a row of gleaming reflectors fitted on a top of residential buildings at Pune.

The workshop was attended by officials from various northern states, representatives from the Union Government and representatives from banks.

The presence of the bankers was important since banks have been given the responsibility of giving soft loans to individuals and organisations for installing solar heating systems. Architects and representatives from solar energy instrument manufacturing industry were also were present in large number at the workshop.

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SHO seeks probe into husband’s arrest
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 27
Ms Asha Rani, SHO, Mahila Police Station, here has alleged that the Civil Lines police has arrested her husband Rakesh Kumar and his friend Vijay Kumar in a false criminal case.

In her complaint to the DGP and other police officers, she has demanded a probe and action against the officials concerned.

The police arrested Rakesh Kumar and Vijay Kumar on charges of creating ruckus after consuming liquor in a hotel near the Subhash chowk on Friday. Both had gone to the hotel for a dinner. After the dinner, Rakesh Kumar dropped Vijay Kumar and went to his house. However, on the way he was informed on the mobile that Vijay Kumar was arrested by the police. He reached the police station where he saw his friend was being beaten up by policemen, who were under the “influence” of liquor.

When he tried to intervene he was too arrested. When the SHO of the Mahila Police Station was informed about her husband’s arrest she reached the station. Thereupon she contacted the DGP on the phone and requested him for an impartial inquiry into the case.

The police registered a case against Rakesh Kumar and Vijay Kumar in a bid to save themselves from the action of the DGP and other senior police officers.

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Staff shortage hits work in 15 consumer forums
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, February 27
Work in 15 of the 20 District Consumer Redressal Forums in the state has come to a standstill due to non-appointment of forum presidents and members. The districts where the work has been affected include Fatehabad, Hisar, Sirsa, Jind, Faridabad, Kaithal, Bhiwani and Rewari. The problem is unlikely to be solved 
till May.

The forums had been constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Every forum has a president and two members, including a woman member. The forums pronounce their decisions on the complaints filed by consumers after a summary trial. The order passed by the president is valid only if it has the approval of at least one of the two members.

Sources said 15 posts of member in 15 forums had fallen vacant on February 24. The posts of woman member had been vacant for the past one year. Besides, the posts of president are also vacant at Fatehabad and Gurgaon.

They said the selection process for the posts of member had been stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The stay had been granted on a petition filed by six aspirants, who had applied for the posts but did not get interview letters. The court had asked the government to submit report on May 15 after interviewing the petitioners. It also stayed the selection process for the members till then.

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Cong leaders vow support for Hisar rally
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 27
All factions within the District Congress Committee made a promise to work together. At a meeting called by state Transport Minister, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Pawan Valecha to make arrangements for the Nav Nirmal Rally of the Congress at Hisar on March 5.

Irrespective of their allegiance to various factions, local Congress leaders and workers converged at Hotel Red Bishop today and pledged their support for the rally, which marks the party’s first year in power in Haryana.

Another shift at the meeting was the declaration by Surjewala that unlike the previous government, the state machinery and government transportation would not be used to mobilise workers. “You will have to make your arrangements to reach Hisar for the rally. No private vehicles or state transport vehicles will be used for the purpose,” he said.

Over 250 Congress workers gathered here for the meeting.

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Escaped undertrial tries to attack witness
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 27
Hardcore criminal Kaptan Singh, who had managed to escape from district jail in Sonepat a few months ago after assaulting the jail wardens, narrowly escaped arrest at his native village Barwasni, about 5 km from here, last night.

According to sources, the police, however, seized a motorcycle and two country-made pistols which were left by him and his brother near the police barrier on the Sonepat-Gohana bypass.

A case under the Indian Arms Act has been registered against them. The police has also launched a massive hunt to nab the two brothers.

According to reports Kaptan Singh, along with his brother Pradeep, was waiting along the road for a witness who was to testify in a criminal case against him. When their target reached the spot both Kaptan Singh and his brother chased him. On this the motorcycle-borne witness returned to the police barrier in order to save himself and on seeing the police barrier both Kaptan Singh and his brother fled under the cover of darkness.

But they left a stolen motorcycle and two country-made pistols on the road. The staff at the police barrier informed senior police officials about the incident and when the officers came to know about the identity of the two persons they launched a massive search operation.

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Nambardars to get honorarium
Our Correspondent

Ambala, February 27
Several nambardars of Ambala have welcomed the decision of Haryana Government by which they would be given a honorarium of Rs 500 from January and a 10 percent commission on ‘Abhiyana’ collected by them.

Nambardars — Moola Ram of Dhulkot, Jag Mohan of Tharva, Ram Sarup of Mohan Nagar, Amrik Rai of Durga Nagar, Hari Ram of Jhandli, Bharkha Ram of Kallaredi, Dharampal of Bhanokheri, Krishna Devi of Ambala City and Jagdeesh and Shivraj of Durana village said that it is for the first time, any Chief Minister had given them due respect.

They said that they had a special duty for collecting ‘abhiyana’ from the villagers. They said that although the amount collected by them was negligible, but to collect the abhiyana twice a year from the farmers is a very difficult job. They had been getting commission at the rate of 3 per cent on the collection earlier.

The Deputy Commissioner of Ambala, Mr J.P. Kaushik said that the honorarium for two months would be given to nambardars at a public function.

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Hooda visits injured
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, February 27
The death toll in yesterday’s bus-Canter collision rose to 14 with one more victim succumbing to his injuries late last night. He has been identified as Amar Singh, a local resident.

More than 20 injured persons are still in the PGIMS Hospital here undergoing treatment. Their condition was stated to be satisfactory.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, rushed here today to offer his condolences to next of kin of the deceased. He visited the houses of all the 14 victims and also called on those undergoing treatment in the PGIMS. Mr Hooda announced that an ex gratia grant to next of kin of the deceased had been raised to Rs 1 lakh each. Immediately after the mishap yesterday, an official spokesman for the Chief Minister had announced Rs 50,000 as ex gratia.

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Employees to make dowry declaration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
All male employees of the Haryana Government will have to furnish a declaration to their Head of Department after their marriage that they have not taken dowry.

A notification issued by the Chief Secretary stated that the declaration to be made shall be signed by the wife, the father and the father-in-law.

An employee will also have to declare that he will not give or take or abet in the giving or taking of dowry or demand, directly or indirectly, dowry from the parents or guardians of the bride or bridegroom.

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Undertrial attacked, hurt
Our Correspondent

Rewari, February 27
An undertrial prisoner, Jaibir, was injured after he was stabbed in the neck with the handle of a spoon allegedly by another undertrial prisoner, Harender, in the District Jail here yesterday. Jaibir was rushed to the Civil Hospital.

It is stated that owing to over congestion in the jail barrack the two undertrials had a tiff over sleeping berth during the night following which Jaibir was assaulted by Harender in the morning.

The Model Town police has registered a case of stabbing under Sections 323 and 324 of the IPC against Harender.

Jaibir of Buroli village, near here, has been undergoing judicial remand in a case of rape, while Harender of a neighbouring village, Chandawas, has been on judicial remand in a case of murder.

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Congress leader joins BJP
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, February 27
A senior Congress leader and former Chief Parliamentary Secretary of Haryana, Mr Ran Singh Maan, from Badhra in this district announced to join the Bharatiya Janata Party at a simple function held at Charkhi Dadri yesterday.

The state BJP president, Prof Ganeshi Lal, the party’s national executive member and MP, Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, Mr Ram Kumar Gautam, MLA, a former MP, Mr Ram Chander Bainda, a former state president, Mr Ram Bilas Sharma and Capt Abhimanyu, were among those present at the function.

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Statements recorded in murder case
Our Correspondent

Ambala, February 27
The statement of Ritu, a prime witness in Rajinder (alias Bobby) murder case, was recorded in the court of the District and Sessions Judge, Mr R.C. Gupta, here today.

Earlier, on January 16, her statement could not be recorded because of a murderous attack on her a day prior to the scheduled date. A tight security arrangement was made in the court complex today.

On June 19, 2004, she, along with her brother Rakesh and two others, was standing outside her house in Housing Board Colony, Ambala Cantonment, when the accused fired at them.

Rajender died on the spot, while she and one other sustained injuries.

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