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

Stray cattle menace: HC displeasure at govt’s attitude
New Delhi, March 8
The Delhi High Court today expressed displeasure at the indifferent approach adopted by various government agencies to tackle the problem of stray cattle in the Capital.

‘DDA turned out to be Delhi Destruction Authority’
New Delhi, March 8
The national Capital’s new Master Plan, that will focus on re-building the city to a world-class level, will see the active participation of the private sector, with minimum contribution from the government, Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken said today.

BJP MLAs expelled for 3 days from Assembly
New Delhi, March 8

Slogan-shouting BJP legislators seeking adjournment of the House in the memory of those killed in the Varanasi blasts were expelled from Delhi Assembly for three days today ahead of Delhi Government’s budget proposals tomorrow.

DSGMC protests against television programme
New Delhi, March 8
Members of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) led by Akali Dal leader Paramjit Singh Sarna met Home Minister Shivraj Patil today to seek action against a private channel for telecasting purported interviews with some Sikh leaders projected as ‘proponents of Khalistan’.

Freak showers, hail hits Capital
New Delhi, March 8
The national Capital experienced freak showers, hail and dust-storms this evening, bringing down temperatures and providing much-needed relief to Delhiites.


BJP leader Najma Heptulla and MP Hema Malini participating in a Women’s Day function at the party headquarters in the Captial on Wednesday.
BJP leader Najma Heptulla and MP Hema Malini participating in a Women’s Day function at the party headquarters in the Captial on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

EARLIER STORIES

 
DPCC president Ram Babu Sharma, Indian Youth Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, Congress leader Ambica Soni and Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress president Amit Malik presenting a cheque of Rs 1.50 lakh to the NGO, Khushii, on the occasion of International Women’s Day in the Capital on Wednesday.
DPCC president Ram Babu Sharma, Indian Youth Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, Congress leader Ambica Soni and Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress president Amit Malik presenting a cheque of Rs 1.50 lakh to the NGO, Khushii, on the occasion of International Women’s Day in the Capital on Wednesday. — Tribune photo
Activists of National Federation of Dalit Women protesting against atrocities aimed at women on the occasion of International Women’s Day at Jantar Mantar in the Capital on Wednesday.
Activists of National Federation of Dalit Women protesting against atrocities aimed at women on the occasion of International Women’s Day at Jantar Mantar in the Capital on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

HC asks MCD to provide more funds to schools
New Delhi, March 8
The Delhi High Court today asked the MCD Commissioner to take immediate steps for providing special funds to all headmasters of MCD schools in the Capital for improving infrastructural facilities.

Hoax bomb call at Tolstoy House
New Delhi, March 8
The police today carried out a search of the multi-storied Tolstoy House, which houses several private companies’ offices in the heart of the national Capital, after receiving a telephone call that a bomb had been placed there.

Seminar on role of media in society
New Delhi, March 8
“The role of the media is not merely to inform, educate and entertain as a detached observer but also to motivate, mould and mobilise public opinion towards the realisation of sustainable peace, development, health, harmony and happiness in society,” said Justice G. N. Ray, Chairman of the Press Council of India, at a seminar on ‘Promoting Values for Peace and Development - Role of Media’.

Helplines for blast victims’ kin
New Delhi, March 8
Northern Railway has set up several helplines for relatives of victims of yesterday’s bomb blast at Varanasi cantonment railway station which left two persons dead and 45 injured.

Demand for better compensation accepted
Greater Noida, March 8
The plea of the farmers of Ghumankpur and Badpure villages for higher compensation for their land has been accepted by the district administration.

Three rape cases on Women’s Day
Faridabad, March 8
Even as various government and other agencies are busy with programmes related to the observation of ‘Women’s Day’ incidents on the ground point to a dismal picture as far as the safety and treatment being meted out to the girl child is concerned.

Schoolgirl kidnapped at gunpoint
Greater Noida, March 8
In a shocking incident, six armed criminals kidnapped a girl student from the Greater Noida police station area yesterday. The criminals were moving around in a car and a motorcycle. The incident took place while the girl was waiting for a bus near Dhara village.

Justice-on-wheels flagged off
New Delhi, March 8
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today kicked off the first mobile service unit, ushering in a new era of “justice-on-wheels”.

Hooda inaugurates Haryana pavilion
New Delhi, March 8
Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said that the state government has been laying stress on diversification of crops to enable the farmers enhance their income.

Candidate for Sugarcane Development Samiti shot
Ghaziabad, March 8
In a poll-related violence, a prospective nominee of the Sugarcane Development Samiti was shot dead in broad daylight in Modi Nagar yesterday. The victim, Amarjit Singh, was the cousin of former BJP MLA Ram Naresh Rawat.

Jamia holds lecture on Indian Jews’ heritage
New Delhi, March 8
The Dr K. R. Narayanan Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia held an interesting lecture-cum-visual presentation entitled ‘Heritage and Contributions of Indian Jews’ by Mr Nissim Moses, President, India International Support Services.

REC declares interim dividend of Rs 90 crore
New Delhi, March 8
Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd. (REC) has declared an interim dividend of Rs 90 crore for the financial year 2005-06. A cheque was handed over by its Chairman and Managing Director Mr A K Lakhina to Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, Union Minister of Power on March 2 in this context.

Programme in Health Care Waste Management at IGNOU
New Delhi, March 8
Scientific handling and management of bio-medical waste continues to be overlooked despite extensive guidelines from concerned authorities and its well-established hazards to health and environment.

Man sent to JC for quarrelling with police
New Delhi, March 8
A man was sent to 14-day judicial custody for threatening policemen at the lock-up in the Karkardooma court complex when he was stopped from meeting his brother.


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Stray cattle menace: HC displeasure
at govt’s attitude

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The Delhi High Court today expressed displeasure at the indifferent approach adopted by various government agencies to tackle the problem of stray cattle in the Capital.

A division bench of Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Rekha Sharma directed Delhi Government to ensure that a senior officer not below the rank of a secretary be entrusted with the task of monitoring the problem.

The bench regretted that despite its several directives the authorities have not taken proper steps to tackle the issue.

The court’s directions followed complaints from advocate Sugriv Dubey that no adequate steps was being taken by the government either to shift the dairy farms outside the Capital or provide proper shelter to the old and stray cattles at ‘goshalas’ and ‘goseva sadans’.

The bench pointed out that despite its earlier directive to the government to constitute a committee comprising the Chief Secretary, MCD Commissioner and other top officials to monitor the problem, the authorities chose to appoint only a junior rank officer from the Animal Husbandry Department to implement the court’s directive.

Stating that the court would not allow its orders to be treated lightly, the bench asked the Chief Secretary to personally monitor the problem with other heads of department or alternatively appoint a senior officer of the rank of secretary to tackle the menace.

The matter was posted for further hearing to May 17.

In another case, the bench issued notices to the Union of India, Delhi Government, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority, Archaeological Survey of India and Delhi Police in connection with the alleged constructions in the Yogamaya Mandir in Mehrauli area of the Capital.

The petitioner, Sunaina Devi, in her petition stated that unrestrained and illegal constructions had been made by the land mafia in connivance with the builders. Unauthorised schools and multi-storeyed buildings had allegedly come up in these areas which violate the building bylaws, Master Plan and building plans.

The multi-storeyed buildings were allegedly being sold without proper documentation leading to an increase in criminal activities.

It seems as if there is no government machinery working in the area, as no action had been initiated against the land grabbers. The sight seeing of the historic Qutab Minar had been seriously obstructed by these unauthorised constructions also, the petitioner said. The next date of hearing in the case is May 3.

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‘DDA turned out to be Delhi Destruction Authority’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The national Capital’s new Master Plan, that will focus on re-building the city to a world-class level, will see the active participation of the private sector, with minimum contribution from the government, Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken said today.

Stating this at a panel discussion on ‘Delhi’s State of Governance’, organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) and Centre for Civil Society (CCS), Mr Maken categorically stated that the new Master Plan will have ‘zero tolerance’ towards any violation of laws.

The Minister warned that major violators facing the current demolition drive in Delhi should not anticipate any help from the government. However, small violators who did encroachments on public land for meeting their immediate and unavoidable requirements could be extended all possible help and support from the government.

DDA is currently engaged in extensive modification of the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) - 2001 and is preparing the plan with a perspective up to 2021 to cater to the increasing population and the changing requirements of the city.

Mr. Maken also advocated creation of small Municipal Zones consisting of 6-7 wards against the 82 wards on which election should be fought among the representatives of Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) that have no political supports from any political parties. In his views, people’s representatives from RWA’s should approach the MCD to have their say to make the current drive of ‘Bhagidari’ result-oriented.

Mr Maken while releasing the ‘Delhi Citizen Handbook (DCH) 2006 brought out by Centre for Civil Society (CCS) also stated that Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) role should be confined to provide low-cost housing to the poorer sections of the society and it must be under all circumstances prevented from acquiring land, planning and auctioning. The DDA is solely responsible for the current haphazard growth of Delhi that has taken place over the Years, said Mr Maken, adding that DDA turned out to be Delhi Destruction Authority which created the city as a major home for slum-dwellers.

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BJP MLAs expelled for 3 days from Assembly
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Slogan-shouting BJP legislators seeking adjournment of the House in the memory of those killed in the Varanasi blasts were expelled from Delhi Assembly for three days today ahead of Delhi Government’s budget proposals tomorrow.

Marshals escorted BJP MLAs trooping into the well out of the House after Delhi Urban Development Minister Dr A K Walia sought their expulsion.

Led by Delhi BJP chief Dr Harsh Vardhan and Mr Jagdish Mukhi, Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, party MLAs were shouting anti-Congress and pro-Hindu slogans when Speaker Chaudhary Prem Singh ordered them out on Walia’s request. They will not be attending tomorrow’s budget presentation for 2006-07 if their expulsion order is not withdrawn.

However, the Speaker did suspend the question hour in honour of the those killed in yesterday’s bomb attacks in Varanasi after sending the Opposition out.

“As of now, we stand expelled for three days from the House because we demanded adjournment for a day as a mark of respect for those who died in temple blast yesterday,” Mr Mukhi told reporters.

“We are surprised that the question hour was suspended only after we had been pushed out of the House,” he added.

The BJP MLAs were present in the House when it observed a two-minute silence.

He said his party had not requested withdrawal of their expulsion order.

Dr Walia defended his request for the expulsion of BJP MLAs, alleging that they were disrupting the House regularly.

Under Delhi Assembly rules, expulsion of unruly legislators last for one day if ordered by the Speaker on his own and for three days if sought by the government.

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DSGMC protests against television programme
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Members of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) led by Akali Dal leader Paramjit Singh Sarna met Home Minister Shivraj Patil today to seek action against a private channel for telecasting purported interviews with some Sikh leaders projected as ‘proponents of Khalistan’.

“The inspired TV programme aims at downgrading the Sikh community in the eye of majority of Indians and seeks to remind them of the days when Sikhs were conveniently painted as ‘traitors’ of the country,” Mr Sarna said in a press conference.

He said that the committee had already written letters to the Prime Minister and the Information and Broadcasting Minister to prevent relaying of such programmes. If the channel does not apologize, the DSGMC would file a case in the court, he said.

He said that today Punjab was one of the most peaceful states in the country and showing such programmes could arouse wrong sentiments in many people. “The programme could send wrong signals about the community,” he said.

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Freak showers, hail hits Capital
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The national Capital experienced freak showers, hail and dust-storms this evening, bringing down temperatures and providing much-needed relief to Delhiites.

“The upper-air cyclonic circulation over south Rajasthan and its neighbourhood prevailing for the last 24 hours brought moisture-laden winds to the city, causing this change of weather,” the weathermen said.

The sudden storm caught people unawares, who were seen scurrying for shelter, even as children enjoyed the hail.

The city saw an unusually hot day today with a maximum temperature touching 34 degrees Celsius, six notches above the average for this time of year. The return to sultry weather in the Capital ws due to the decreasing influence of the North Westerlies, which had brought about a sudden turnaround in the weather in the Capital for the whole of last week.

In fact, the last week saw minimum temperature witness a drop for four consecutive days - while the mercury plummeted to 14 degree Celsius on February 28 from about 17 degrees Celsius on February 27, it further dropped to 12.8 degrees Celsius on March 1 and further to 12.5 degrees Celsius on March 2.

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HC asks MCD to provide more funds to schools
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The Delhi High Court today asked the MCD Commissioner to take immediate steps for providing special funds to all headmasters of MCD schools in the Capital for improving infrastructural facilities.

A division bench of Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Rekha Sharma, which issued the directions, suggested the constitution of committees at the school level for proper disbursal of the funds which would be under the control of the headmasters.

The bench passed the directives while dealing with a PIL filed by Social Jurist through its counsel Ashok Agarwal wherein it was complained that more than 90 per cent of the 1,800 odd MCD schools in the Capital lacked basic amenities like toilets, furniture and blackboards.

It was alleged that in many schools, toilets were converted into classrooms by the school authorities due to lack of space.

Not only were the children crammed into congested rooms, they were also forced to use open public places to relieve themselves due to lack of toilet facilities, the PIL alleged.

Besides, it was alleged that there were no drinking water facilities for the children. Following this the court asked the MCD to consider allotting special funds to the headmasters for improving the infrastructural facilities on the lines of similar funds provided by the Delhi Government to schools run by it.

Delhi Government allocates an annual amount of Rs 1.20 lakh to each headmaster for taking up repair and others works in their respective schools. 

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Hoax bomb call at Tolstoy House
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The police today carried out a search of the multi-storied Tolstoy House, which houses several private companies’ offices in the heart of the national Capital, after receiving a telephone call that a bomb had been placed there.

The police control room received a call about explosives being kept at Punjab National Bank located on Tolstoy House premises on Janpath at about 4 pm, police sources said.

The Bomb Disposal Squad, sniffer dogs and explosive detectors were immediately pressed into service to carry out searches of the premises, they said. Two fire engines were sent to the site, sources said. 

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Seminar on role of media in society
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, March 8
“The role of the media is not merely to inform, educate and entertain as a detached observer but also to motivate, mould and mobilise public opinion towards the realisation of sustainable peace, development, health, harmony and happiness in society,” said Justice G. N. Ray, Chairman of the Press Council of India, at a seminar on ‘Promoting Values for Peace and Development - Role of Media’.

The seminar was organised by the Prajapati Brahama Kumaris Iswariya Vishwa Vidyala at the Institute of Engineers, ITO, here today.

He said that there were constraints and compulsions, pulls and pressure, attractions and temptations in front of mediapersons at personal, professional and social levels. “There may be forces and factors within and outside the media set-ups which deter mediapersons from performing their duties impartially without fear and favour. But it is also true that certain degree of courage, conviction and commitment among mediapersons in pursuit of positive causes can overcome such manmade limitations which are born out of vested interests,” he said.

He further said the need of the hour was to honour, practice and promote the time-tested media ethics and values of truth, justice, freedom, integrity, intrepidness, impartiality, fair play etc. “It is equally emergent that balance between commercial interests and social responsibility has to be strived for and achieved by mediapersons,” he added.

The seminar was also addressed by the Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharti, Mr K. S. Sarma.

He said inner powers were most essential for overcoming inner conflicts, stress and strain and for inculcating desired values in life. A rajyoga meditation session was organised for the audience after the function.

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Helplines for blast victims’ kin
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Northern Railway has set up several helplines for relatives of victims of yesterday’s bomb blast at Varanasi cantonment railway station which left two persons dead and 45 injured.

The helplines have been set up at railway stations in New Delhi, Delhi Jn, Varanasi, Lucknow, Sultanpur, Rai Bareilly and Faizabad.

Meanwhile, the police force at all railway stations has been alerted. The commuters are being checked at different points at the railway stations. The police are also taking the help of porters besides taxi and autorickshaw operators at the railway stations to avoid any untoward occurrence.

Police officials said a high alert had been sounded in the city. All vital installations and public places were being kept under close watch. Intelligence inputs were also being taken for better surveillance in the city.

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Demand for better compensation accepted
Our Correspondent

Greater Noida, March 8
The plea of the farmers of Ghumankpur and Badpure villages for higher compensation for their land has been accepted by the district administration.

In a meeting with the farmers yesterday, the District Magistrate, Mr Santosh Kumar Yadav, announced that the farmers would get land compensation at the rate of Rs 265 per sq. yard for the land being acquired for Ambuja Cement Industries in Ghumankpur and Badpure villages.

Besides, a job in the company has been promised to every farmer who sells their land to Ambuja Cement Company. The company has also promised the development of the villages.

It may be pointed out that Ambuja Cement Company has already started the work for setting up a factory in Ghumankpur and Badpure village with a promise for compensation at the rate of Rs 245 per sq yard. But the farmers had refused to hand over the possession of the land because they found the compensation inadequate.

The farmers had resorted to an agitation and had met the DM in this connection. They also stalled the construction work.

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Three rape cases on Women’s Day
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 8
Even as various government and other agencies are busy with programmes related to the observation of ‘Women’s Day’ incidents on the ground point to a dismal picture as far as the safety and treatment being meted out to the girl child is concerned.

In the midst of Women’s Day celebration, the police registered three rape cases in the district.

According to police sources, a person was booked for raping his own daughter at a colony at Palwal town in the district. The girl alleged in her complaint that her father had been keeping her in confinement and raping her for the past year. She was even threatened if she informed anybody in this regard. However, the mother of the victim has refuted the charges. In another shocking development, the police found three newborn girl babies abandoned here in the past few days.

It may be pointed out that the sex ratio in the district was one of the lowest in the State and the country. The police have failed to check the large number of ultrasound clinics conducting illegal sex tests here. Even though about half a dozen cases had been booked under the PNDT Act a few years ago, it had failed to discourage such acts. 

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Schoolgirl kidnapped at gunpoint
Our Correspondent

Greater Noida, March 8
In a shocking incident, six armed criminals kidnapped a girl student from the Greater Noida police station area yesterday. The criminals were moving around in a car and a motorcycle. The incident took place while the girl was waiting for a bus near Dhara village.

Even though some people came forward to help the girl when she raised an alarm, they soon retreated when the criminals trained their guns on them. The girl was forced into the car which they sped away towards the expressway.

Though the police started a combing operation, they failed to nab the criminals. The police are trying to find out whether the girl was kidnapped for ransom.

The girl is the daughter of a Haryana policeman, identified as Pritam Singh Bhatti, a resident of Dhara. The kidnapped girl, Priya, is a student of Mary Gold Public School in Bhatti village in Sirsa, Haryana.

It is suspected that some criminals in Haryana may be trying to settle scores with the policeman.

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Justice-on-wheels flagged off
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today kicked off the first mobile service unit, ushering in a new era of “justice-on-wheels”.

The unit, which will comprise a judicial officer and volunteer court staffers, is set to travel across the length and breadth of the state in a bid to take justice out of the confines of courtrooms and bring it to the doorstep of the common man.

The entire project will be managed by the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA), which had earlier spearheaded other programmes like mediation centres in high court and the district courts.

“The mobile unit will provide legal counselling to those unable to afford a counsel,” the Chief Minister said.

Pointing out that the project was being launched on International Women’s Day, Ms Dikhsit said it should focus on the legal problems faced by women, especially those unaware of their legal rights.

Later, speaking to a large gathering, Mr Justice Vijender Jain of the Delhi High Court, who is also Executive Chairman of the DLSA, said, “Judges may be forced to sit in courtrooms, but justice need not so.” He added that the project had been started on an experimental basis and more units may be on the way depending on the success of this one.

Mr Justice M. K. Sharma of the Delhi High Court was also present. 

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Hooda inaugurates Haryana pavilion
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said that the state government has been laying stress on diversification of crops to enable the farmers enhance their income.

Mr Hooda was speaking after inaugurating Haryana Pavilion at ‘Ahar and Krishi Expo’ organised at Pragati Maidan here today.

Mr Hooda said that a special campaign has been launched to motivate the farmers to diversify their crops and take up horticulture. He said that now people were more conscious about their health, and were thus adopting products produced with organic manure. 

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Candidate for Sugarcane Development Samiti shot
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, March 8
In a poll-related violence, a prospective nominee of the Sugarcane Development Samiti was shot dead in broad daylight in Modi Nagar yesterday. The victim, Amarjit Singh, was the cousin of former BJP MLA Ram Naresh Rawat.

Heavy police force has been deployed in village Amarjit to avert any violence as tension was reported in the area.

The police sources informed that a large number of candidates and their supporters had thronged the Tibra road office of the Sugarcane Development Committee for filing the nomination papers. Assailants shot Amarjit Singh alias Gandhi taking advantage of crowd present in front of the counter.

He was rushed to Lok Priya Hospital and then referred to government hospital in Ghaziabad where he passed away.

It may be recalled that clashes had also taken place between Amarjit Singh and his opponents during the earlier panchayat elections.

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Jamia holds lecture on Indian Jews’ heritage
Charu Singh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The Dr K. R. Narayanan Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia held an interesting lecture-cum-visual presentation entitled ‘Heritage and Contributions of Indian Jews’ by Mr Nissim Moses, President, India International Support Services.

The lecture focused on the relevance of the microscopic minorities in India whose contribution to the larger nation-building process is normally glossed over. Prof Mujtaba Khan, Director of the centre, said, “Such minorities are subsumed and caught in the vortex of the majority stream, thereby manifesting a virtually dormant identity. The Indian Jews are such a community in his opinion.”

Mr Khan said that a gross distortion had crept in on the question of the Palestine-Israel issue on account of vested interests that had converted the struggle against occupation of land to that of the Arabs-Jews conflict and subsequently a civilisational clash.

Mr Moses, on the other hand, chose a softer refrain while tracing the heritage of Indian Jews. He focused on areas of commonalities and similarities between Hindu and the Jewish traditions, practices and ethos. He spoke of the tolerant and multicultural Indian milieu and its capability to assimilate and accommodate even Semitic cultures.

He said that the Jews in India felt secure on account of cultural similarities and even similar religious rituals.

His entire discourse focused on the socio-cultural prospects of the Jewish community and their contribution in the fields of academics, business, cinema and even the freedom struggle of India. Mr Moses said, “This humble Jewish community of less than 35,000 in 1950 has succeeded in having Hebrew recognised as an official second language of study both at the matriculate and collegiate/university level.”

He further informed that Hebrew was taught even before Israel became a state at two Christian colleges in Mumbai by Hebrew professors from the community and the Hebrew language examiner at the university level was also a Bene-Israeli.

He stressed that all this went a long way in showing that Jews lived in harmony and without persecution in a multi-ethnic society like India.

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REC declares interim dividend of Rs 90 crore
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd. (REC) has declared an interim dividend of Rs 90 crore for the financial year 2005-06. A cheque was handed over by its Chairman and Managing Director Mr A K Lakhina to Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, Union Minister of Power on March 2 in this context.

REC has been consistently rated with ‘Excellent’ grading for the 11th year in succession for its performance against the targets set out in an MoU with the Ministry of Power, Government of India.

Recognising the pivotal role played by REC so far in facilitating availability of electricity for accelerated growth and enrichment of quality of life of rural population, Government of India has nominated REC as a nodal agency for implementation of Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyuikaran Yojana, launched in April 2005, to fulfil the NCMP objective of providing electricity to all households and improving rural electricity infrastructure by the year 2009.

REC has thus become India’s giant conglomerate and an acknowledged source of financing for integrated systems improvement, power generation power conservation, power distribution, pumpset energisation, rural household electrification and other related works. It is aspiring to be an international organization by lending its expertise to rural electrification programmes.

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Programme in Health Care
Waste Management at IGNOU

Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Scientific handling and management of bio-medical waste continues to be overlooked despite extensive guidelines from concerned authorities and its well-established hazards to health and environment.

To address the problems posed by the negligent disposal of bio-medical waste in the South Asian countries, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in collaboration with World Health Organisation’s South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) has developed a six-month certificate programme in Health Care Waste Management.

“The programme has already commenced in Delhi and will formally be inaugurated on March 10 through tele-conferencing,” said Prof AK Agarwal, programme co-ordinator for the programme at IGNOU.

The programme, targeted at health care professionals in countries including Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia will be inaugurated by Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, Regional Director, WHO South East Asia Region Office (SEARO) and Vice Chancellor IGNOU, Prof H P Dikshit at IGNOU’s Electronic Media Production Centre (EMPC).

“We have two batches on at present In Delhi, one at St Stephens’ Hospital and the other at Safdurjung Hospital. The batches have nurses, doctors, and members of municipal bodies who deal with bio-medical waste management. Anybody who has cleared 10+2 is also eligible for the programme,” said Prof. Agarwal.

Referring to the programme, he said, “This will help health care functionaries develop skills in health care waste management. The Bio-Medical Waste Management and Handling Rules 1998 makes it mandatory for all health care facilities in the country to manage their waste in a scientific manner”.

Expressing concern at the prevalent means of disposal of this lethal waste, Prof Agarwal said, “The existing situation is appalling. A vast majority of hospitals, health centres, clinics, laboratories and other health care facilities do not have any appropriate waste management systems in place. The main bottleneck for sound health care waste management has been found to be lack of training and appropriate skills among health care providers”.

The United Nations, through its UN convention in Basel (Switzerland), has identified bio-medical waste as the second most hazardous waste after radioactive waste.

The concern for bio-medical waste management has been felt globally with the rise in deadly infections like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV, Prof Agarwal pointed out.

Meanwhile, IGNOU has extended the date for application to Diploma in Value Added Products from Fruits and Vegetables till March 31, 2006.

The Diploma Programme offered by IGNOU is an innovative programme based on self-learning instructional materials with multimedia and face-to-face counselling support. It is essentially a judicious mix of theoretical and practical courses to develop skills in post harvest management and value addition of fruits and vegetables.

Eligibility for admissions is 10+2 or BPP from IGNOU. Preference shall be given to Science/Agriculture stream students. The prgramme’s duration is one year and the medium of instruction is English.

The Students’ Handbook and Prospectus can be obtained from the Registrar (SR&E), IGNOU, Maidan Garhi and Regional Centres on payment of Rs 50 either in cash or by IPO/ Demand Draft drawn in favour of IGNOU payable at New Delhi or city of regional centre.

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Man sent to JC for quarrelling with police

New Delhi, March 8
A man was sent to 14-day judicial custody for threatening policemen at the lock-up in the Karkardooma court complex when he was stopped from meeting his brother.

Special Executive Magistrate A K Talwar sent Dilshad to jail for quarrelling with the policemen and threatening them for not allowing him to meet his brother Soni, who is an under trial in a case of dacoity.

Dilshad is accused of dacoity and possession of illegal arms, the police said.—TNS

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