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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

Power companies report huge revenue losses
DERC to decide on new tariff rates soon
New Delhi, June 27
The residents of the national Capital may have to pay more for electricity in the coming months with distribution companies reporting huge losses. The process for deciding the new tariff rates are on and the transmission and distribution companies have submitted data which shows a huge revenue shortfall, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission Secretary Mr Somit Dasgupta said.

Waterlogging, traffic snarls: It’s the same story again
New Delhi, June 27
The first sharp showers that lashed the Capital this morning brought the temperature scuttling down, but at the same time created major problems for commuters, particularly those from the trans-Yamuna areas, as knee deep water accumulated under the ITO bridge.
People make their way through a waterlogged road near Model Town in the Capital People make their way through a waterlogged road near Model Town in the Capital.
— Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal




Rampant use of child labour by football industry
New Delhi, June 27
Even as the World Cup has captured the imagination of fans, the lives of thousands of children engaged in manufacturing footballs in several villages of Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh continue to be as miserable as always.

Child healthcare to get a fillip in Gurgaon villages
Gurgaon, June 27
Decks have been cleared for setting in motion the National Rural Health Mission’s policy of “Accredited Social Health Activist” to boost reproductive and child healthcare in the villages in this district.

Massive recruitment of cops, teachers in UP
Noida, June 27
Continuing its process of distributing largesse to different sections of people with the next year’s elections in view, the Samajwadi Party government has made it somewhat profitable to be unemployed in UP.

CBSE warns private textbook publishers
New Delhi, June 27
Issuing a warning to private publishers who fraudulently claim to be recommended by the Central Board of Secondary Education, the Board has asked all affiliated institutions to refrain from endorsing books brought out by these publishers from the academic session 2005-2006 at senior secondary level.

Films highlight effect of climate change on environment
New Delhi, June 27

The impact of global warming and freak weather is visible everywhere in our daily lives, whether it is mild winters in cold countries like Russia, unexpected flooding across Europe as happened two years back, high summer temperatures in temperate countries or warm conditions as witnessed this winter in North India.

Rath Yatras taken out in the Capital
New Delhi, June 27
Thousands of people chanting praises to Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Sudarshan and goddess Subhadra joined Rath Yatras modelled on Puri’s famed car festival in the Capital today.


Devotees pulling the Rath of Lord Krishna during the Rath Yatra in the Capital on Tuesday.
— Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

Devotees pulling the Rath of Lord Krishna during the Rath Yatra in the Capital

Dozens hurt in clash over idol’s removal
Noida, June 27
Dozens of people, including three policemen, were injured in a clash over removal of an idol of Hanuman in Ditawali village temple of Dadri late last night. Ten persons opposing the removal of the idol were arrested while cases against three dozen villagers have been registered.

Journalists vow to uphold freedom of press
New Delhi, June 27
At a meeting organised by the Delhi Union of Journalists on Monday, journalists resolved “to fight shades of Emergency and freedom of the press under increasing attacks by both press barons and the government”.

MCD suspends junior engineer
New Delhi, June 27
The MCD today suspended a junior engineer for dereliction of duty as there were numerous complaints about his work from the public and the local Municipal Councillor.

Constable, accomplices sent to 14-day JC
Gurgaon, June 27
A constable and two of his alleged accomplices were today sent in 14 days of judicial custody in connection with the illegal detention and torture of a boy.

Youth hanged from tree, shot
Noida, June 27
Some people hanged a youth from a tree on Monday night and then shot him dead in a Rabupura village. An attempt was made to mete out the same treatment to his friend also, but somehow he was able to free himself and flee.

Video
Birth of four cubs increase number of white tigers.
(28k, 56k)



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Power companies report huge revenue losses
DERC to decide on new tariff rates soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
The residents of the national Capital may have to pay more for electricity in the coming months with distribution companies reporting huge losses.

The process for deciding the new tariff rates are on and the transmission and distribution companies have submitted data which shows a huge revenue shortfall, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) Secretary Mr Somit Dasgupta said.

According to Mr Dasgupta, Transco alone has reported a gap of Rs 1,300 crore. The gaps submitted by other discoms are anywhere between Rs 50-100 crore.

Apart from this, adjustments have to be made for expenditures left over from last year, accruing to around Rs 343 crore, bringing a revenue deficit, he said.

However, Mr Dasgupta categorically refused to comment if there will be tariff hike by the DERC for 2006-07.

“Even a day before we actually announce what is the result of our calculations of the various Annual Revenue Records (ARRs) filed by distribution companies, one cannot say whether there will be any hike,” he said.

Agreeing with the contention that the discoms usually present inflated reports, he said, “We have to bring down the gap to realistic levels and then decide the tariff for this year”.

Giving the details about the revenue data last year, he said that Delhi Government had provided various subsidies to offset the increase in prices for consumers and rest of the reduction was made by the discoms in the form of rebates.

Last year, the Delhi Government gave a subsidy amounting to Rs 90 crore, Mr Dasgupta added. The subsidy offset power tariffs for domestic consumers by about 50 per cent and 100 per cent in the agricultural sector.

Asserting that power tariffs in Delhi are one of the lowest in the country, Mr Dasgupta said the city will have a uniform rate structure till 2007, as stipulated in the rules.

“As compared to what a consumer pays in neighbouring Haryana or Punjab, Delhiites surely pays less,” he said.

He also said that the process of deciding the tariffs will be completed by the first week of July.

Opposition political parties and Residents Welfare Associations (RWA) in the Capital have been warning against a hike in power tariffs, alleging that the discoms were reaping huge profits since privatisation of the power structure in Delhi.

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Waterlogging, traffic snarls: It’s the same story again
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
The first sharp showers that lashed the Capital this morning brought the temperature scuttling down, but at the same time created major problems for commuters, particularly those from the trans-Yamuna areas, as knee deep water accumulated under the ITO bridge.

Dozens of vehicles broke down, as water seeped onto the engines causing heavy traffic jams. It took several hours for the authorities to restore traffic and pump out the accumulated water.

Scores of traffic policemen and Delhi Fire Service personnel struggled to clear the roads by pushing the stalled vehicles on to the side lanes through knee deep waters. As a result, there was total chaos on the ITO bridge.

Motorists said that they took at least a couple of hours to clear the one kilometer stretch, which normally takes only ten minutes. Harried office goers caught in the traffic jam blamed the city civic authorities for not having made proper drainage arrangements despite the fact that the entire city was expecting such pre-monsoon showers.

Water logging was also reported from several other areas, in Central, East and North-West districts of the Capital.

The morning showers and subsequent traffic jams played spoilsport for scores of students seeking admission to Delhi University on the first day of completing formalities today. Very few students could make it to the university, as heavy rains lashed the Capital till 10 a. m followed by a series of gridlock all across the city. After the announcement of the first cut- off list, the university earmarks the next three working days for completion of admission formalities and securing the seats. Several colleges generally work from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 pm.

Despite being the first day of filing papers, several colleges wore a deserted look in the first couple of hours. However, later the numbers picked up a bit with some students managing to reach the institutes.

“I was caught in a traffic jam at Dhaula Kuan for more than three hours and missed the deadline and will have to come again tomorrow. From Janakpuri it generally takes an hour to reach north campus.... the entire first day has been wasted,” said Piyush Mittal, who could not file his papers at Ramjas College as the office had closed. Same was the case with Neha Ranjan, who travelled from Rohini in the Metro but still could not reach DU in time.

Even as Delhiites felt the side effect of the sudden pre-monsoon showers, the Leader of Opposition in the MCD, Mr Subhash Arya, flayed the civic authorities for its failure to de-silt drains in time for the monsoon season. It may be pointed out that the Municipal authorities had assured that all drains would be de-silted by June 30.

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Rampant use of child labour by football industry
Kumari Priyanka

New Delhi, June 27
Even as the World Cup has captured the imagination of fans, the lives of thousands of children engaged in manufacturing footballs in several villages of Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh continue to be as miserable as always.

India is one of the largest manufacturer of footballs in the world along with Pakistan. Companies that supply footballs to Nike, Adidas, Puma, Reebok and Decathlon are known to employ young children to manufacture them.

Working long hours to make these footballs results in fragile eyesight, bruised fingers and poor health.

During a conference at Gandhi Peace Foundation in the national Capital recently, the children from these villages revealed their stories of agony, trial, exploitation and ill-treatment.

Uma, a nine-year-old girl, who helps her mother, sisters and brother in making soccer balls, said that even though she was enrolled in class III in a primary school in village Kherki in Meerut district, she had to drop out of school to work in the football industry.

One can easily see the bruises, wounds and pus that have formed through piercing of needle on the fingers of 11- year-old Musharad. Twelve-year-old Sabana has been stitching balls since she was five-year-old. This is not the case of few children but of thousands of children engaged in this cruel work.

Access to schooling and acquiring education is a distant dream for them.

The Chairperson of ‘Global March against Child Labour and Bachpan Bachao Andolan’ Mr Kailash Satyarthi said that Global March, ILO and ICFTU are mounting pressure for elimination of child labour from the soccer industry.

He called upon football players, spectators, sports lovers, students and clubs to promote only those footballs that are not made from child labour.

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Child healthcare to get a fillip in Gurgaon villages
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, June 27
Decks have been cleared for setting in motion the National Rural Health Mission’s policy of “Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA)” to boost reproductive and child healthcare in the villages in this district.

According to the head of the health department in the district, Dr D.V.Saharan, 200 ASHA activists have already been nominated and are all set to take the training for the assignment. The training of the activists is to be completed by August-end.

In the latest series of works relating to put the policy on ground, District Core Group headed by Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, Mr R.P.Bhardwaj, has been constituted with Dr Saharan, who is also the Civil Surgeon of the district, as its Member Secretary.

Various departmental heads, including the District Red Cross Society are part of the Group. With the Core Group already in place at the district level, efforts are on to constitute such groups at the Block level.

According to the department sources, there will be one ASHA activist over every 1,000 people in the villages. Efforts are on to get clearance from the state government to nominate about 200 activists.

As per the plan, Village Health Committees will be set up. The committees will recommend the names of activists for nominations in their areas, he added.

The funding of the entire project, including remuneration of the activists, would be done by the National Health Mission.

According to Dr Saharan with the ASHA activists in the field, it would be a tremendous boost to the reproductive and child healthcare in the hinterland. However, with the Aanganwadi workers loaded with diverse projects, the main focus on reproductive and child healthcare sector was getting diluted.

He added that the ASHA policy as well as other projections and preparations relating to healthcare is being worked out by the Health Department keeping 2020 vision in mind.

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Massive recruitment of cops, teachers in UP
Parmindar Singh

Noida, June 27
Continuing its process of distributing largesse to different sections of people with the next year’s elections in view, the Samajwadi Party government has made it somewhat profitable to be unemployed in UP.

Apart from sanctioning an unemployment allowance to the youth, the state cabinet under Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has also decided to fill up 50,000 posts of teachers in basic schools out of which 10 per cent seats will be reserved for Shiksha Miters and merit lists for teachers will be prepared district-wise.

Besides, the government has also decided to recruit some 900 sub-inspectors directly to strengthen the police force, ostensibly to solve the unemployment problem.

The unemployed who have passed BTC will be appointed as assistant teachers. Some 75,163 posts of teachers are lying vacant in the state. To narrow the gap, 50,000 posts are proposed to be filled up.

After obtaining the approval of National Education Council, a proposal will be sent to the administration, it is learnt. For special BTC cadre, a district-wise merit list of teachers will be prepared.

Among 50,000 posts of teachers, 10 per cent will be reserved for those with B.Ed qualification. Fifty per cent vacancies will be filled up by men and 50 per cent by women.

Similarly 50 per cent teachers will be from the science stream while the remaining 50 per cent will be filled up by the candidates of the Arts stream.

The government has also declared that some 890 sub-inspectors of police will be directly recruited. On instructions of the Chief Minister, Principal Secretary (Home) of the state is understood to have stated that 2022 posts of sub-inspectors are lying vacant in the UP police force. Out of these posts, some 1,132 posts will be filled up by departmental promotions and the rest by direct recruitment.

Besides, 173 posts of platoon commanders at SI’s rank for PAC will be filled up. The recruitment of 11,229 constables has already been completed, while the recruitment process of 3,740 cops is under way. The recruitment of 6,500 additional constables is also to be completed soon.

According to observers, this large-scale recruitment in the police department is being done with an eye on the next year general elections where each member of the police force may do something for the ruling party at the hustings.

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CBSE warns private textbook publishers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
Issuing a warning to private publishers who fraudulently claim to be recommended by the Central Board of Secondary Education, the Board has asked all affiliated institutions to refrain from endorsing books brought out by these publishers from the academic session 2005-2006 at senior secondary level.

In a communication to heads of schools, the Board has urged them to follow the textbooks prepared by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) that it prescribes.

Issuing instructions to schools, the Board has mentioned that it no longer recommends books of private publishers for further reading for students, and schools should also discontinue the practice.

“The Board has stopped the practice of recommending the books of private publishers, including the Hindi medium books in different subjects at senior secondary level, from the academic session beginning April 1, 2005,” stated the letter issued by the Board.

“It has also been brought to the knowledge of the Board that Hindi edition of these books do not contain the Hindi terminology, as approved by the Standing Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology. Hence, the senior school curriculum for the examination years 2007 and 2008 do not contain any recommendation for books by private publishers,” the letter added.

Claiming that many publishers are still selling their textbooks under the false claim of being recommended by the CBSE, which is misleading, the Board has also informed schools that Economics book for the secondary level, titled ‘Introductory Micro Economics and Macro Economics’, authored by T R Jain and B K Ohri of VK Publications, has not been recommended by it.

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Films highlight effect of climate
change on environment
Charu Singh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
The impact of global warming and freak weather is visible everywhere in our daily lives, whether it is mild winters in cold countries like Russia, unexpected flooding across Europe as happened two years back, high summer temperatures in temperate countries or warm conditions as witnessed this winter in North India. The phenomenon, though not established beyond doubt, is a matter of serious concern.

This fact has been highlighted in some film documentaries produced by award winning and upcoming young film-makers who have highlighted complex issues of climate change in different parts of the sub-continent. One such film, by Geeta Singh, ‘A Green Agony’, produced by the British Council was recently screened at the India International Center.

This film looks into some problems caused almost entirely by climate change in the unique eco-system of the Sunderbans. “The Sunderbans is an extremely vulnerable area and is a naturally subsiding delta. Most of these islands are submerging and they face a major threat from climate change,” she says.

“We made this film in 20-25 days and I realized what a massive question-mark hangs on the lives of people in these submerging islands of the Sunderbans,” says Singh. “The problem is so acute that many people informed us that people from the mainland are not ready to marry into the islands anymore.”

She stressed that, “We all think that climate change is very far and distant but this is a real threat and not very far off. It affects us all.”

Another film, ‘A Degree of Concern’ by Syed Fayaz, explores the effects of climate change in glaciers and mountain eco-systems. The film brings out graphically the steady but slow warming up of the Tibetan plateau. Leh has been warming up in recent years and major river systems like the Indus and Ganga river are not expected to stay perennial. Fayaz’s film especially high-lights the on-going glacier melt and ethnic people’s efforts to slow this down in high-altitude regions.

“The situation is very grave; how long can people hold the tragedy back by making artificial glaciers. This earth may not give us a second chance and we must do something about it,” says Fayaz.

Two other films highlighting the climate change are Delhi-based director Nila Madhab Panda’s ‘Climate’s First Orphans’ that tells the sad story of thousands of homeless villagers in the coastal regions of Orissa and Vijay Jodha’s ‘The Weeping Apple Tree,’ focussing on climate change in the apple growing belt of Himachal Pradesh.

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Rath Yatras taken out in the Capital
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
Thousands of people chanting praises to Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Sudarshan and goddess Subhadra joined Rath Yatras modelled on Puri’s famed car festival in the Capital today.

A large number of people joined a procession from the Jagannath temple at Hauz Khas near the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in South Delhi. Saffron-robed devotees beating khol and bronze cymbals gave a devotional air as the wooden chariot bearing the deities was pulled along the route.

A traffic official said hundreds of others also joined a similar procession from Lord Jagannath and Badri Nath temple through the congested streets of Old Delhi. Another procession was taken out at Prem Nagar near Safdarjang bus terminus in South Delhi.

An office bearer of the Neelachala Seva Sangha Delhi, which has been organising the car festival at Hauz Khas since 1979, said there was a delay in starting the procession because of the massive rush of devotees near the chariot.

The yatra was to start with ritual ‘pahandi’ and ‘chherapanhara’ at 1.00 p.m. The pulling of the chariot was to start at 2.00 p.m. once the deities were taken to the chariot, but was delayed by over an hour.

The police had made elaborate security arrangements for the yatras. Traffic was diverted on Subhash Marg, Asaf Ali Road, Chandni Chowk, Ajmeri Gate, DBG Road and near AIIMS because of the processions.

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Dozens hurt in clash over idol’s removal
Our Correspondent

Noida, June 27
Dozens of people, including three policemen, were injured in a clash over removal of an idol of Hanuman in Ditawali village temple of Dadri late last night.

Ten persons opposing the removal of the idol were arrested while cases against three dozen villagers have been registered.

There is so much tension in the area that many people have left the village.

The police had received information about installing the Hanuman statue on Sunday evening near a graveyard. Dy DM Dadri, SP rural and area police Circle Officer reached the village shortly thereafter.

As officials ordered the removal of the idol, devotees started going round the statue in a traditional manner. When cops were ordered to lathicharge the devotees, people started throwing stones at them.

Three cops sustained injuries as a result. Three police vehicles, including a jeep were also damaged.

A large force of police has been stationed in the village.

Officials said the land where the idol had been installed belonged to a graveyard as per government record.

Later, policemen removed the statue and the structure was also razed.

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Journalists vow to uphold freedom of press
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
At a meeting organised by the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) on Monday, journalists resolved “to fight shades of Emergency and freedom of the press under increasing attacks by both press barons and the government”.

Recalling the dark day of Emergency on the 31st anniversary of its imposition on June 25, 1976, some veteran journalists spoke about “attempts to muzzle the Fourth Estate and the reign of terror let loose by the state to silence the voice of dissent”.

Media stalwarts like Kuldip Nayyar, Edtata Narayanan, Nikhil Chakravorty, N D Gorawala, V Balasubramaniam and others “who refused to buckle before the repressive state machinery” were also remembered.

Sounding a note of warning and need for a constant vigil, the journalists spoke of subsequent attempts like the Bihar Press Bill and said the authorities only reviewed their decisions in the face of resistance by journalists.

The meeting was chaired by DUJ president Mr S. K. Pande.

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MCD suspends junior engineer
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
The MCD today suspended a junior engineer for dereliction of duty as there were numerous complaints about his work from the public and the local Municipal Councillor.

The official, Manoj Kumar, working in Dilshad Garden, Nand Nagri and Gokulpuri wards, will face major penalty proceedings, the MCD said in a release.

Major penalty proceedings have also been ordered to be initiated against Shahender Singh, Sanitary Superintendent of Shahdara (North) Zone.

The civic body has also placed five assistant sanitary inspectors and a sanitary guide of Shahdara (North) Zone under suspension and penalty proceedings have been ordered against four other employees in the same area.

Action against all these officials has been taken subsequent to inspection by MCD Commissioner Mr AK Nigam in the zone, where the standard of sanitation works was not found to be up to the mark.

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Constable, accomplices sent to 14-day JC
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, June 27
A constable and two of his alleged accomplices were today sent in 14 days of judicial custody in connection with the illegal detention and torture of a boy.

The boy, Arjun, of Chakarpur village here, was forcibly taken away by a constable, Bhagwan Singh, and two others, Manoj Kumar, resident of village Nathupur and Ravi, resident of Delhi, last Saturday from his shop in DLF area allegedly for not paying ‘hafta’ to the police.

The boy, who slipped from their custody, later narrated a harrowing tale of torture perpetuated on him during the period of his detention.

According to him, he was first taken to Ballabgarh, Faridabad, where he was dumped in a vehicle and taken to Ferozabad in Uttar Pradesh. Here he was kept in a room where there were about 60 persons held captive like him.

He managed to slip away on the pretext of attending to nature’s call, he said.

He reached Faridabad where he reported the incident to the police.

It may be recalled that the residents of village Chakarpur led by the parents of the boy had gheraoed the DLF Police Station on Sunday for more than an hour to press for action against the errant constable. The mob dispersed only after they were assured of action against the constable.

The incident invited wide-ranging condemnation from the public.

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Youth hanged from tree, shot

Noida, June 27
Some people hanged a youth from a tree on Monday night and then shot him dead in a Rabupura village. An attempt was made to mete out the same treatment to his friend also, but somehow he was able to free himself and flee.

The victim’s body was carried by villagers to Rabupura police station where they crated a commotion demanding action against the killers.

Nawab, son of Rahim Khan of Rabupura, and his friend Sajid were enticed by five persons into the jungles of Tilthery village, where they were beaten up and suspended from a tree. Somehow Sajid was able to flee but Nawab was shot dead.

Sajid ran all the way to village and informed Nawab’s relatives. He collapsed subsequently. Relatives reached the spot but could not find the body there. It was later found from a ‘javar’ field. — OC

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