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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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City reels under traffic snarls, waterlogging
No loadshedding reported in city, say discoms
New Delhi, July 27
After the heaviest rainfall of the monsoon season yesterday, the Capital today again experienced moderate rains, bringing down the mercury further but also causing waterlogging and traffic snags at many places.

Haryana to promote eco-tourism, give thrust to heritage
Gurgaon, July 27
The Haryana Government has decided to promote eco-tourism and give expansive thrust on increasing the green cover in the state, according to state Minister for Forest and Tourism Kiran Chaudhary.

Jamia limps back to normalcy
New Delhi, July 27
Despite the university’s marked attempts to normalise the situation, agitated students continued to sit on an indefinite hunger strike for the fourth day today.
Policemen hold on to their guns at Jamia Millia Islamia as some students continued with their hunger strike Policemen hold on to their guns at Jamia Millia Islamia as some students continued with their hunger strike on Thursday.
— A Tribune photograph




EARLIER STORIES


Education campaign a victim of corruption
Faridabad, July 27
The state government has announced that an amount of Rs 15.39 crore will be spent on the development of infrastructure for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The scheme aims to have every child up to the age of 14 enrolled for elementary education in the district during the current financial year.

Schoolchildren indulge in a spot of leg-pulling in appreciation of the weather in the Capital
Schoolchildren indulge in a spot of leg-pulling in appreciation of the weather in the Capital on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

in parliament
Delhi submits Rs 770-cr proposal to Planning Commission
New Delhi, July 27
A Rs 770-crore proposal submitted by the Government of the NCT of Delhi to the Planning Commission for the upgradation and development of roads, transport, power, water supply and health facilities was under active consideration.

Now, visit the post office to avail of RTI Act
Noida, July 27
The portals of selected post offices have been thrown open to the public for seeking information under the Right to Information Act from government departments now. Already, 10 applications have been received at the main post office in Sector 19 here.

Metro security to be handed over to CISF
New Delhi, July 27
The government has decided to hand over the security of “highly vulnerable” Delhi Metro rail to the CISF, a measure aimed at preventing a Mumbai-like terror attack on packed commuter trains here.

Expert suggests levying user charges on water
New Delhi, July 27
Levying appropriate user charges on water will help reduce its wastage and improve its availability and quality for all sections of society. Delivering a lecture on ‘Global Water Future: Challenges and Perspectives’, Prof Asit K. Biswas, President, Third World Centre for Water Management, Mexico, said that there was mismanagement in water pricing in developing countries.

Meerut massacre case: Evidence destroyed?
New Delhi, July 27
The 18 rifles used by Provincial Armed Constabulary jawans to allegedly mow down 42 Muslims of Mohalla Hashimpura at Meerut in 1987 have been redistributed among the personnel of the force, much to the surprise of the trial judge.

Trader who duped govt of Rs 400 cr held
Bulandshahr, July 27
The Economic Offences Wing at Meerut arrested a trader in Anupshahr during a raid. The man had fleeced the central government of Rs 400 crore. The EOW team took the offender into custody after informing the Kotwali Dehat police station here.

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City reels under traffic snarls, waterlogging
No loadshedding reported in city, say discoms
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
After the heaviest rainfall of the monsoon season yesterday, the Capital today again experienced moderate rains, bringing down the mercury further but also causing waterlogging and traffic snags at many places.

The rains, which began at around 9 am this morning, brought down the minimum temperature to 24.3 degree Celsius from 27.2 degrees yesterday. The maximum also dropped slightly to 28 degree C from 28.4 degree C yesterday.

Coming in the wake of yesterday’s daylong heavy downpour, which saw the Capital receive 104 mm of rainfall, the heaviest in a single day since the south-west monsoon hit the Capital in the second week of July, the rainfall led to waterlogging and traffic jams in many areas.

Sources in the MCD control room, monitoring problems of waterlogging in Delhi, said 87 complaints were received from various parts of Delhi during the day. A majority of these complaints came from the Old Delhi areas like Chandni Chowk and Kashmere Gate. Besides a large number of cases of waterlogging were also reported from the Rohini zone. The weatherman said the Capital had received 8 mm of rainfall till 2.30 pm.

With today’s rainfall, the Capital has experienced more than 150 mm rainfall since Tuesday morning.

Tomorrow could bring more heavy rains to the Capital with the weatherman forecasting a generally cloudy sky with a few more spells of rain and thundershowers with one or two heavy spells in some areas during the next 24 hours.

In fact, the coming days could witness an increase in rainfall activity in North-West India with the Met Office forecasting that the ongoing enhanced rainfall activity over the Western Himalayan region and the plains of North-West India was likely to continue for another two days.

Meanwhile, with rains continuing to shower their bounty over Delhi, the power situation in the Capital remained normal for the second consecutive day today, with the discoms claming to have successfully met the power demand of 3,050 MW. There was no loadshedding in Delhi today, they said.

What contributed to the comfortable power situation was the fact that 100 MW power from Haryana was added today to power supply in Delhi whereas 90 MW supply came from Himachal Pradesh.

Today is the second consecutive day that the power situation in Delhi has remained normal.

Yesterday too, the discoms were able to successfully meet the 3200 MW power demand in the Capital and did not have to resort to any loadshedding. 125 MW power from MP was added to Delhi supply yesterday.

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Haryana to promote eco-tourism, give thrust to heritage
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, July 27
The Haryana Government has decided to promote eco-tourism and give expansive thrust on increasing the green cover in the state, according to state Minister for Forest and Tourism Kiran Chaudhary.

The minister, who was here today to celebrate the 57th vanamahotsava, said her ministry was pushing for Kurukshetra to be given the official status of a religious city. She said various heritage and historical sites in the state would be upgraded. The Tourism Ministry had decided to annually organise a heritage festival to bring back the focus on cultural heritage of the state. In response to a question, she stressed that the government would not set up new tourist complexes. Rather, it would be through the public-private participation.

She said that during the current financial year the Forest Ministry had decided to plant 4.5 crore plants and saplings throughout the state. For Gurgaon district, the target is 5.5 lakh in an effort to increase the green cover.

A programme worth Rs 286 crore, funded by Japanese International Development Bank, is being implemented all over the state. The seven-year programme which commenced from 2004 has provisions for promoting self-help groups. The programme envisions conservation and protection of forest land as well as boosting the economic standard of people residing near forest areas.

She said in order to save ecology the Forest Ministry had achieved a major target of getting Dico Phlanaic drug banned all over the country. The drug was given to animals. The carcasses of animals were proving to be life-threatening to vultures. It was at the initiative of her ministry that the Prime Minister got an order for banning the drug to save vultures, which are an important link in the food chain.

She further said that in order to save the environment and to boost the economy of the farmers the government would lay thrust on alternative farming. Herbal parks were being set in all districts of the state to give a boost to ecology.

In response to specific question, she came out strongly in defence of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ). When referred to the apparent brouhaha on the issue, she said forces opposed to the Congress were needlessly kicking up a furore as the project would boost the economy and infrastructure in a big way.

She said that the land given to Reliance in Gurgaon for the SEZ project was acquired and compensation already given to the farmers by the preceding INLD government.

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Jamia limps back to normalcy
Charu Singh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
Despite the university’s marked attempts to normalise the situation, agitated students continued to sit on an indefinite hunger strike for the fourth day today.

The university, in a major step yesterday, accepted the resignation of the Proctor, Rocket Ibrahim, who had allegedly threatened a delegation of students at gunpoint. Attempts are also on to begin classes in most departments. Classes have begun in the Education Department.

The university authorities have also agreed to discuss the admissions issue with the agitating students.

However, students continue to be upset and despite the rain the indefinite hunger strike is continuing. Sajid Ali informs, “We are far from satisfied and will not relent till all our demands are met. We have been treated very unfairly, been beaten up, threatened and humiliated and will not back off easily. Right now, a group of students is on its way to meet the Union HRD minister, Mr Arjun Singh. We will represent our grievances to him.”

Meanwhile, one of the students sitting on strike, Satyaprakash Mishra, informed the Press that the university authorities are demanding the withdrawal of the FIR made out against them by students. They had also conceded that the admission applications of all genuine students would be reconsidered and an inquiry into the July 18 incident by an independent body would be allowed. He, however, stressed that the proctor’s resignation should have come earlier and the fast unto death would continue till the FIR against six students, including Jamia students’ union president Shams Pervez, was withdrawn.

Student unrest at Jamia has resulted due to allegations of major injustice being meted out to students by the university administration.

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Education campaign a victim of corruption
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 27
The state government has announced that an amount of Rs 15.39 crore will be spent on the development of infrastructure for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

The scheme aims to have every child up to the age of 14 enrolled for elementary education in the district during the current financial year. As many as 559 rooms will be constructed for students registered under this scheme. A part of this amount has already been released.

According to the authorities concerned, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is being run by the District Elementary Education Office here under the supervision of a district coordinator.

While several NGOs have also been engaged in the campaign, several committees have been constituted to supervise the work of construction of rooms.

The government spent more than Rs 5.72 crore on the construction of additional 322 rooms, 129 toilets, 111 water tanks and provision of electricity supply to about 104 schools in the district last year. The availability of these basic facilities has not been very satisfactory, according to sources.

Insiders claim the main focus of the officials concerned has been more on gaining publicity than producing results. Perhaps this is why despite the campaign being several years old, it has failed to rope in the expected number of students for education.

Alleging misuse of funds under this head, Mr Raj Kumar Gaur, a social activist here, claimed that some of the organisations involved in this work had been functioning on paper alone. There was hardly any improvement on the ground. He said complaints of misuse of funds had gone unheard and unattended so far. No corrupt official or employee had been punished.

He added there were hundreds of small children who did not attend school in the dozens of colonies dotting the city and the villages. There was no one who could motivate their parents to get their wards enrolled for education.

Ms Raj Dubey, head of an NGO involved in social work related to women and children in the region, claimed that there was lack of cooperation and support from the government officials and agencies. She said a large number of children in the age group of 6-14 in the city and the district, living in slums and unauthorised colonies, were being denied education due to various factors.

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in parliament
Delhi submits Rs 770-cr proposal to Planning Commission
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
A Rs 770-crore proposal submitted by the Government of the NCT of Delhi to the Planning Commission for the upgradation and development of roads, transport, power, water supply and health facilities was under active consideration.

This was stated by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, Minister for Panchayati Raj and Youth Affairs and Sports, in the Rajya Sabha today.

Answering a query on preparations for the Commonwealth Games 2010, the minister said that the plans for the required infrastructure included the provision of additional rooms for accommodating tourists, adequate parking and smooth connectivity through an inter-modal system comprising rail, Metro and bus transport system.

Mr Aiyar also informed that decisions regarding the venues for the 15 disciplines and three others proposed to be included besides the Games Village, which was to be developed by the DDA, had already been taken.

DDA endeavour to streamline functioning

The Minister of State for Urban Development, Mr Ajay Maken, informed the Rajya Sabha that among the steps taken by the DDA to streamline its functioning were information dissemination and facilitation, system improvement and redressal of grievances.

He said systematic improvement had been made in the allotment of institutional land, alternative plots, conversion of property from leasehold to freehold and videography of vacant, encroached land.

The Tejendra Khanna Committee had recommended the imposition of a reasonable compounding fee for extra coverage of floor area and a more severe scale of penalty/special compounding fee for violation of height restrictions and building of additional floors in the city.

He said the committee, which was appointed to look into various matters relating to unauthorised constructions and misuse of premises in the city, among other things, also recommended a differential approach to the mixed land use policy.

After considering the recommendations of the committee, which submitted its report on May 13, the government asked the DDA to issue a public notice inviting objections and suggestions from the public to proposed modification of the development control norms for residential plotted development in the Delhi Master Plan 2001 and revision in the mixed use regulation.

The DDA issued the public notice on July 21.

Banquet halls in NDMC, MCD areas

In response to another question, Mr Maken said the NDMC had reported that halls, banquet halls and parks for the purpose of marriage were adequate in the areas under its jurisdiction. The MCD, on the other hand, had informed that the facilities were inadequate during the peak season.

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Now, visit the post office to avail of RTI Act
Parmindar Singh

Noida, July 27
The portals of selected post offices have been thrown open to the public for seeking information under the Right to Information Act from government departments now. Already, 10 applications have been received at the main post office in Sector 19 here.

The postmaster there said the replies giving the desired information would be made available within 35 days of asking for information.

A fee of Rs10 has to be deposited for seeking information written on plain sheet at the post office. The receipt of Rs 10 has to be enclosed along with the request.

People can contact the assistant public information officers at the designated post offices and submit their application for seeking information. Officials will be punished in case of delays or in the eventuality of denial of information.

Those seeking information under the RTI will have to furnish their name, full address and phone number to the postal department. This facility was started at the Sector 19 Sector main post office here on July 19.

Says social activist, Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd), “This step will prove to be a boon for those who want to seek information under the Act. It will, indeed, bring it within the reach of the common man throughout the country”. The post offices will bear the expenses of sending replies through registered letter to those seeking information.

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Metro security to be handed over to CISF
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
The government has decided to hand over the security of “highly vulnerable” Delhi Metro rail to the CISF, a measure aimed at preventing a Mumbai-like terror attack on packed commuter trains here.

Considered a soft target for terror attacks, the Union Home Ministry has approved deployment of dedicated force in metro stations in view of CISF’s expertise in guarding the industrial and other vital installations.

At present the CISF is also guarding 54 airports in the country.

In the first phase, 1,600 CISF personnel will be deployed to cover the 59 stations of mass transit system, stretching over 62 kms, as against the present system of 700-odd men guarding the network round the clock.

Currently, Delhi Police is in charge of overall security of the rail system with CISF assisting them and after the switch over, the local police’s role would be confined to maintaining law and order outside stations, an official told reporters.

The decision to induct CISF into metro security was taken at a high-level meeting held at the Union Home Ministry here last week and the paramilitary force was awaiting orders from the government, he added.

“We are waiting for the Cabinet approval in this regard and hope to take over the new assignment soon, may be within a fortnight ahead of August 15,” he said.

Once deployed, CISF plans to upgrade and overhaul the security apparatus and install new gadgets for access control and surveillance.

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Expert suggests levying user charges on water
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
Levying appropriate user charges on water will help reduce its wastage and improve its availability and quality for all sections of society.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Global Water Future: Challenges and Perspectives’, Prof Asit K. Biswas, President, Third World Centre for Water Management, Mexico, said that there was mismanagement in water pricing in developing countries.

Giving illustrations of water management in Delhi and Singapore, he said a huge quantity of water was wasted during supply in the national Capital. “The wastage is only five per cent in Singapore,” he said.

Mr Biswas said the per capita use of water was higher in Delhi. Stressing on the need to learn from examples, he said the percentage of staff per thousand connections was 10 times higher in Delhi than in Singapore.

Asserting that water crisis was not due to quantity but quality, Mr Biswas said poor people had little access to safe water.

“In Singapore, everybody pays (for water). The poor may be subsidised by the government but they have to pay to the authority managing water,” he said.

Mr Biswas, who won this year’s Stockholm Water Prize, said the world was not facing a water crisis but crisis of managing water. “India has enough water if managed properly,” he said.

He said policies of globalisation had impact on water availability. On the inter-basin transfer of water, he said the concept was difficult to implement as there were problems in defining an inter-basin area. Mr Biswas said that inadequate attention was paid to water demands of smaller cities. He said China and India would overtake by 2050 the leading members of G-8 in terms of the size of their GDPs and there was need to look at water use in terms of such “explosive growth.”

Calling for a change in the higher education system and introduction of new water management courses in institutions such as IITs, Mr Biswas said a single paradigm of water management may not suit a country as diverse as India.

Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz and Centre for Science and Environment Director Sunita Narain also spoke.

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Meerut massacre case: Evidence destroyed?
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
The 18 rifles used by Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) jawans to allegedly mow down 42 Muslims of Mohalla Hashimpura at Meerut in 1987 have been redistributed among the personnel of the force, much to the surprise of the trial judge.

The shifting of the case property, a vital evidence, from the custody of the investigating agency has put a question mark on the fate of the 19-year-old case transferred to Delhi from Ghaziabad on the orders of the Supreme Court in 2002. The rifles had been sent to CFSL, Hyderabad for forensic analysis and the report has already come.

Additional Sessions Judge N P Kaushik, who sought to see the case property on the second day of the trial on July 22, was shocked to know that the rifles had been redistributed among the jawans of 41-B Vahini Battalion of the PAC.

Incidentally, the accused also belonged to the same Battalion. The court has asked Special Public Prosecutor S Adhlakha and Additional SP of CB-CID, Meerut to produce the rifles in court on July 31, the next date of hearing.

It also sought to know who gave the order to return the weapons to PAC.

Legal experts are divided on the issue calling it either a “destruction of evidence” or “an unintentional foolish act” on the part of the investigating agency.

“This is destruction of evidence and is punishable under the law,” senior lawyer P N Lekhi said.

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Trader who duped govt of Rs 400 cr held
Our Correspondent

Bulandshahr, July 27
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) at Meerut arrested a trader in Anupshahr during a raid. The man had fleeced the central government of Rs 400 crore. The EOW team took the offender into custody after informing the Kotwali Dehat police station here.

The SO Kotwali Dehat had arrested Lakhmi Chand, son of Madan Lal, in a raid on the Anupshahr road. A case had been registered against Lakhmi Chand in the Pilkhua police station. He had registered a fictitious firm. Besides, a fertiliser factory was in existence on paper only. On the basis of this non-existent factory, Lakhmi Chand used to bring raw material from Jhansi and show fertiliser production on paper. He would then sell it off in the market.

The central government gives 80 per cent subsidy on raw materials for manufacturing fertilisers. On the issuance of a letter of intent, additional 20 per cent subsidy is also allowed by the government. The trader had fleeced the government of crores of rupees.

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Villagers block road to protest girl’s abduction

New Delhi, July 27
A Class 10th student of Open School was allegedly abducted in Bawana area of North-West Delhi this evening, following which agitated people blocked road and stopped traffic. Daughter of a police constable, the 15-year-old was pulled into a van at about 17.30 pm while she was on her way to fetch milk from a close by ‘goshala’ in Bawana’s Auchandi village, according to eyewitnesses.

The girl was walking a few steps ahead of her mother, who had recently undergone an operation, while going to the ‘goshala’’.

Villagers blocked road demanding arrest of the accused and stopped traffic for more than an hour. — TNS

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Property dealer robbed of Rs 41 lakh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, July 27
A property dealer was looted of Rs 41 lakh at a restaurant parking in Sector 29 this afternoon.

The victim, Arun, had gone inside Bikaner restaurant for a quick grub after parking his car when miscreants broke open his car window and decamped with the bag containing Rs 41 lakh, according to the police. Investigations are on to nab the culprits.

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Special counter at Pragati Maidan for filing IT returns

New Delhi, July 27
To make it easy for income tax payers, the Income Tax Department today notified 93 post offices in Delhi for the collection of income tax returns from July 26.

The department has also announced special counter for salaried and pensioners (Delhi circle) for filing return at Pragati Maidan, Hall number 11A, to function from tomorrow to July 31. People who do not have another source of income like business may file their return in form number 2D, 2E and 2 F, a spokesman of the Income Tax Department said. — TNS

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