SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

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

Everything for CWG ready, says Sheila
New Delhi, September 26
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today inspected the entire Games Village to get a first-hand account of the maintenance, security and other facilities for athletes and international delegates.
Army personnel build the foot overbridge near Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday. PICTURES TELL DIFFERENT STORY

Army personnel build the foot overbridge near Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday. Tribune photos: Manas Ranjan Bhui

1,000 cops at Games Village
Paramilitary police force along with Delhi police personnel keep a vigil on Games lane at Barapullah Road in New Delhi on Sunday. New Delhi, September 26
The Games Village is now being guarded by 1,000 security personnel, 24 hours.

Paramilitary police force along with Delhi police personnel keep a vigil on Games lane at Barapullah Road in New Delhi on Sunday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui


EARLIER STORIES


THE TRIBUNE
  SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS



Delhi not right choice for Games, reveals survey
New Delhi, September 26
Delhi is not the right choice to host the sporting event of the Commonwealth Games, reveals a survey report conducted by TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel forum. TripAdvisor.in is the fourth largest travel website in India. The survey was conducted with travellers from the UK and Canada.

Travel agents advising foreign tourists to skip CWG
New Delhi, September 26
Travel and tour agencies who were offering special packages to the foreign tourists for the Commonwealth Games are now sending e-mails to those who have already got their tour arranged for the CWG, saying that they should 'avoid the CWG as it is going to be a mess'.

Commuters hit as 1,600 Bluelines go off road
People wait for the bus at Laxmi Nagar in New Delhi on Sunday as Blueline buses are taken off road till the Games. New Delhi, September 26
City residents had a harrowing time on roads today as 1,600 Blueline buses went off road due to the Commonwealth Games. The worst hit was central and south Delhi where auto drivers hiked the fare.



People wait for the bus at Laxmi Nagar in New Delhi on Sunday as Blueline buses are taken off road till the Games. Tribune photo

Cultural extravaganza for guests
New Delhi, September 26
Tourists arriving for the XIX Commonwealth Games in the Capital will have loads of activities to experience Indian culture and hospitality.

Chatterati
National pride, taken for a ride
The CWG organisation community has never had it so bad. The Capital pundits are having a field day being paid to predict whether the Games will be a success.

Govt downplays dengue
New Delhi, September 26
Amidst fear of dengue outbreak moving fast towards becoming an epidemic, the government today preferred to downplay the concerns surrounding the threat, as the variant--dengue subtype 3--is milder this time.

ANOTHER CAVE-IN

A stretch caved in near Hailey Road on Kasturba Gandhi Marg in New Delhi on Sunday.
A stretch caved in near Hailey Road on Kasturba Gandhi Marg in New Delhi on Sunday. Tribune photo

Women get special coach in Metro
New Delhi, September 26
In view of the increasing number of women travelling on the Metro, the Delhi Metro rail Corporation (DMRC) has decided to reserve the first coach of each train for them. The service shall be put into effect from October 2, on an experimental basis.

90 pc families ignorant about dementia
New Delhi, September 26
An estimated 3.7 million people, 60 years and above, in India are suffering from dementia- memory-related progressive disorder; one in 50 households has a person with dementia. But worryingly, nearly 90 per cent of the families remain ignorant about the demented status till it reaches an advanced stage.

IMA chief aspirant accuses doctor of threats
Ghaziabad, September 26
A doctor contesting the Indian Medical Association (IMA) presidential elections has filed a criminal case against a Delhi-based doctor for sending defamatory and threatening messages to the voters, police said on Sunday.

Congress, INLD set to mobilise supporters
Faridabad, September 26
The ruling Congress in Haryana is trying to consolidate its mass in the state and its arch rival, the INLD, has also upped the ante to give it a challenge, after the completion of the Commonwealth Games.

DU girl takes to crime for 5-star living
Ghaziabad, September 26
An interstate gang of sophisticated criminals has been busted by the Ghaziabad police. The gangsters used to fly in and out of the major metros in north India. They would stay in 5-star hotels, conduct survey of its targets in the guise of courier boys and take the first flight back to its base in Ghaziabad.

12 hurt in 6 Noida mishaps
Gt Noida, September 26
Twelve persons were injured in six road accidents that took place in this satellite town adjoining the national Capital.

Rs 4 lakh looted
Gt Noida, September 26
Three bike-borne men allegedly robbed two employees of a mobile company of Rs 4 lakh about 400 yards from the Kasna police station. The victims were going to deposit the cash in a bank when the incident took place.

2 snatchers arrested
New Delhi, September 26
The Delhi police has arrested two persons and has worked out seven cases of snatching in Civil Lines and Sonepat, the police said today.

 





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Everything for CWG ready, says Sheila
Tribune News Service

A worker repairs the musical fountain at CWG Village on Sunday.
A worker repairs the musical fountain at CWG Village on Sunday. Tribune photos: Manas Ranjan Bhui

New Delhi, September 26
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today inspected the entire Games Village to get a first-hand account of the maintenance, security and other facilities for athletes and international delegates. A few days ago, the maintenance of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) was entrusted to the city government.

She stayed at the village for 90 minutes and took stock of the progress of house-keeping work which has been criticised as filthy and unlivable.

Dikshit said the government did job of coordinating all agencies that were entrusted with different Games works.

She also checked the food and the recreational facilities at the village. Dikshit told reporters that the food was excellent.

"We have come here to ensure that athletes and other foreign delegates do not face any problems," she told reporters.

As far as the cleaning some of residential towers is concerned, the Chief Minister said every thing was being carried out properly. About 600 flats will be handed over today. There will be no problem in organising the Games. Everything for the event is ready.

The Games Village campus is spread over 63.5 hectares and has 34 residential towers, with 1,168 apartments comprising 4,008 bedrooms that will house the athletes and the delegates.

Dikshit's son Sandeep Dikshit, an MP from east Delhi, along with senior officials of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and senior police officials accompanied the Chief Minister to the village.

CWG organising committee (OC) vice-chairman Randhir Singh, who also inspected the facilities at the site, said there is nothing to worry and all is well at the village.

However, there were some complaints about filthy rooms. The authorities concerned have deployed about 800 labourers to do the cleaning job at the residential complexes in the village.

The OC in coordination with other agencies is doing its best to ensure that players and delegates do not come across any problem.

After the media's negative reports, the OC yesterday organised a guided tour of the Games' venues for journalists.

According to sources, the Chief Minister had also directed the officials concerned that there should be no laxity in maintaining the much criticised Games Village at a meeting held yesterday.

The reason for filthiness in the rooms is various agencies engaged in the work. Nobody is there to check the workers who chew tobacco and betel leaves and spit in the rooms. 

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1,000 cops at Games Village
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
The Games Village is now being guarded by 1,000 security personnel, 24 hours.

Taking a strong view of the security of the complex where athletes and officials, both from India and abroad, will be staying, the Delhi police has stepped up the security.

Personnel guarding the village are equipped with modern safety equipments to ensure the safety of the people.

Along the routes, Quick Reaction Team (QRT) vehicles are parked with gun-toting ITBP and Delhi Police commandos keeping a close eye on the movement of traffic. Watch towers have been erected with an ITBP commando in each, to keep an eagle's eye on the most talked about site of the town.

Just at the entrance, a large posse of policemen, including traffic police, is deployed. Only people with valid passes, issued after an extensive verification drive, are allowed entry.

Boom barriers and cement blocks have been set up. Vehicle scanners have also been installed and not to forget the underground metal stoppers that spring up to stop a speeding vehicle with just a push of a button, confirmed a police official.

To avoid traffic, the Delhi police has taken special measures to facilitate smooth movement of the Games related traffic as exclusive lanes became operational from today.

"These exclusive lanes will be from Games Village, NH 24, Ring Road up to the Barapullah flyover, 4th Avenue, Lodhi Road, Safdarjung Road, Kamal Ataturk Marg and Panchsheel Marg," said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police, traffic.

The Games lanes will be maintained till October 16.

A traffic bike blowing s siren and traffic staff at intersections will intimate people about the movement of Games-related traffic. At the time of movement, people are expected to give precedence to Games related traffic even on the roads where an exclusive lane is not operational at that time. There would be no special lanes for roads leading to practice venues. However, motor cycle patrols would lead the convoys of athletes.

These restrictions are not applicable to Delhi Police vehicles, ambulances, fire tenders and other emergency services vehicles, Garg added. 

Pillai satisfied with security

Union home secretary G K Pillai today said he was satisfied with the arrangements made for the event.

After a meeting with police commissioner YS Dadwal, NSG director-general RK Medhekar, Games venue commanders and district police heads, Pillai said, "We had a review of security arrangements, looking at various issues and anticipating what threats could arise. We are prepared to meet any eventuality." 

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Delhi not right choice for Games, reveals survey
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
Delhi is not the right choice to host the sporting event of the Commonwealth Games, reveals a survey report conducted by TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel forum. TripAdvisor.in is the fourth largest travel website in India. The survey was conducted with travellers from the UK and Canada.

The Common Games Survey reveals that while over 68 per cent were aware of the Games being held in Delhi, 56.7 per cent believe that Delhi is not the right choice to host this sporting event.

Nearly 93.5 per cent respondent said that they would not be visiting Delhi to witness this event. The respondents gave reasons for not travelling to Delhi--30 per cent are interested in Games, 25 per cent plan to go to other destinations, 14 per cent respondents are concerned about security during the Games and seven per cent said Delhi would not offer a great experience.

According to respondents, allegations of corruption have tarnished the image of the Games.

It took 15 days to complete the survey from August 31 to September 14, 2010. As many as 635 responses were received during this period.

According to Sharat Dhall, managing director, TripAdvisor India, said, "There has been a lot of interest in the Games. So, we wanted to find out what the international travelling community thought of the Delhi Games 2010, and commissioned the survey. The image of the city has taken a beating, especially in the backdrop of the government's inability to project the works it has done to make the city better."

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Travel agents advising foreign tourists to skip CWG
Rashi Agarwal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
Travel and tour agencies who were offering special packages to the foreign tourists for the Commonwealth Games are now sending e-mails to those who have already got their tour arranged for the CWG, saying that they should 'avoid the CWG as it is going to be a mess'.

"The preparations for the Games are incomplete and it seems that the event is going to be a mess. It is better to avoid coming to Delhi. So, we offer you special tour packages in India where you can enjoy your holidays at discounted rates," the mail read, according to sources.

The travel agencies are also advising the tourists who want to watch the CWG to stay in Mumbai or Jaipur and avoid the Capital.

"Delhi is much expensive than the other states. So we are offering packages to tourists where they will stay in cities like Jaipur or Mumbai and can take a flight from there to Delhi if they want to witness the Games. In this way, they can enjoy the event at much cheaper rates," said various travel agents in the city.

The hospitality sector in Delhi has become very expensive. Taking a flight for every event from other states to Delhi is costing tourists much less than staying and commuting from here, said Sanjeev Vohra, a travel agent.

Unhappy with the response of tourists who are not interested in the tour packages for the CWG, the tour and travel agencies said that they stopped receiving queries for the mega sporting event since July.

People are interested in coming to India only after CWG is done. "We only get one or two queries a day for the CWG tour package. It seems that even the foreigners are aware of the city's situation and do not want to spoil their holidays. The event was supposed to boost the tourism sector, but it does not seem to do so," said travel agent Vikas Dhawan.

Looking at the poor response of the tourists, even the hotels in Delhi are gradually reducing their tariff.

"The hotels that we had tied up with have reduced their tariff up to 50 per cent. Even then they have requested us to confirm the rates if the customer finds it expensive. The situation is so bad," said another travel agent.

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Commuters hit as 1,600 Bluelines go off road
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
City residents had a harrowing time on roads today as 1,600 Blueline buses went off road due to the Commonwealth Games. The worst hit was central and south Delhi where auto drivers hiked the fare. It being a Sunday today, there were fewer passengers out today. Situation might worsen tomorrow when there will be the office-going crowd.

The Delhi government had decided to take the Blueline buses off from routes near the Commonwealth Games venues and the Games Village from Sunday till October 16.

Even though officials had earlier said that these buses would be replaced with the equal number of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses, it will surely take some time as of now.

Some of the busiest routes, including New Delhi Railway Station-Vasant Kunj, Shivaji Stadium-Hauz Khas, Ambedkar Nagar-Central Secretariat, Mehrauli-Anand Vihar, Greater Kailash-New Delhi Railway Station, Badarpur Border-Minto Road, Kapashera Border-Mori Gate and Saket-Old Delhi Railway Station remained badly hit.

"Even though Metro has come to south Delhi, I prefer taking the straight bus for my office at ITO. For Metro, I need to change the train three to four times. Now with such less frequency of buses on roads, it is going to be difficult. The effect will really be evident during peak hours tomorrow," said Mukesh Kharbanda, who lives near the Talkatora Stadium.

The Delhi government has inducted 6,500 DTC buses in the run-up to the Games. Of these, 1,400 would cater to athletes, delegates and security personnel during the October 3-14 event. Another 1,200 buses will ply on special routes while 10 per cent will be kept as stand-by.

However, the Delhi government is sure that people will have no trouble in commuting during the Games.

"DTC never had so many buses in its fleet. The convenience of the public is our top priority," said Delhi transport minister Arvinder Singh Lovely. 

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Cultural extravaganza for guests
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
Tourists arriving for the XIX Commonwealth Games in the Capital will have loads of activities to experience Indian culture and hospitality.

Here is a brief look at the major festivals that will coincide with the Games, providing everyone with an opportunity to explore different aspects of the Indian heritage. Right from shopping, food, dance, films to theatre, there will be plenty of options to pick from.

Jashn-e-bachpan

The national theatre festival for children is being organised by the National School of Drama at the India International Centre during the Commonwealth Games.

The festival called, "Jashn-e-bachpan", will coincide with the Games and will feature 27 productions, including four international, for the first time. The festival will not only showcase productions, but also entail discussions by famous theatre personalities.

Musical euphoria

Delhi's famous dance and music festival, 'Qutub Festival', will be much bigger and better this time around as it coincides with the October 3-14 Commonwealth Games.

The usually three-day-long festival will be held for 10 days this year from October 4.

The visitors, while listening to a wide variety of music in an overwhelming ambience, can take bites of the multi-cuisine at a nearby food court.

Shopping delight

The Games shopping festival has started in the Capital's leading markets. The fest will provide tourists an insight into Indian heritage, apart from the decoration and illumination in the markets.

The festival, an initiative of the Commonwealth Games organising committee and the Delhi Traders' Association, is on till October 15 in all main markets of Delhi.

A free volunteer service has also been put in place to guard foreign tourists against fleecing. 

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Chatterati
National pride, taken for a ride
by Devi Cherian

The CWG organisation community has never had it so bad. The Capital pundits are having a field day being paid to predict whether the Games will be a success.

The shootout at Old Delhi was enough to scare the visitors from abroad. Spreading diseases have put everyone's programme on hold. The day the OC opened the Games Village and everyone was busy giving sound bites to the media, enjoying the luxurious spread of food, there was chaos as a fountain had burst and water came gushing.

To cap it, the power department is now not sure of giving its services. The rain god has not been kind either as the rains have been hampering the progress of CWG projects.

The response of the CWG officials on the filthy state of the village was understandable. But Indians could not help getting angry at the response of an OC official that 'Hygiene standards vary'. Oops! Are we a filthy nation? We claim to be a superpower today, but when we will clean the dirt in our system.

Delhiites are feeling let down, cheated and ashamed. The sleazy way of the CWG is giving the people here sleepless nights. They were okay with spending hours in jams, with diseases spreading like wildfire; after all, it was for national pride. It was an issue of every Indian's pride. But what they saw on the media was disgraceful. Huge sums of the taxpayer's money have been spent on these Games, but what one gets. That we are a superpower today, though cannot organise the Games. We had seven years to make the village, stadiums, roads and the bridges. Obviously, too much time was spent on arranging the underhand deals and roaming around the world with family and friends, and thus, left everything to the last minute.

The government too is answerable for leaving the arrangements to corrupt officials. Does human life have no value? Bridges collapse, ceilings give way and water and mud all over the roads. The public is asking for answers, but no one seems to have any answer. Delhities are fed up of the everyday chaos and the next two weeks will only make it worse.

A rich party!

The BJP is concerned about the disappearance of an envelope which contained money during the meeting of the executive members. The Delhi unit president even called the SHO to file a complaint.

In another instance, a sum of Rs 2.5 crore disappeared during the last election, and no fuss was created. Loads of money disappearing from the political offices is not a healthy sign. The BJP high-flying Mumbai-based treasurer should be a worried man. A rich party, no doubt, where loss is in crores!

Didi's cyber enemy

Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee is an impatient angry lady at the moment. Miffed by Rahul Gandhi's press conference in Kolkata, she has openly criticized the Congress, its partner at the centre. Mamata is known for her mood swings.

These are things she can handle as she's is on a high in Bengal. But what she can't fathom out is the campaign against her in cyberspace.

"We hate Mamata Banerjee" has come up all of a sudden and is getting a lot of response. As the railway minister is not Net-savvy, her supporters have taken it upon themselves to counter this attack. A Chinese company has also hacked the official website of the Kolkata Metro railway. Our ministers should be conscious of their enemies inside cyberspace. 

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Govt downplays dengue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
Amidst fear of dengue outbreak moving fast towards becoming an epidemic, the government today preferred to downplay the concerns surrounding the threat, as the variant--dengue subtype 3--is milder this time.

"Dengue count in the country is still low. The type of vector-borne disease is subtype 3, which is not very dangerous," said Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at the launch of the sports injury centre here.

In the countries like Sri Lanka and Indonesia, such cases have been significantly high. In Sri Lanka, nearly 15,000 cases of dengue have come up along with over 200 deaths and Indonesia has had over 80,000 cases of the vector-borne infection, Azad said.

With several participating contingents expressing their concerns over the menace, the government's attempt to downplay the dengue danger may enable the authorities to host a successful event. However, nothing seems to be stopping the dengue virus from expanding its net, with the figures close to surpassing the 2006 record of 3,336. The city saw 95 fresh cases today, pushing the cumulative tally to 2,916.

Meanwhile, while all the participating countries and visitors have been asked to carry full-sleeve clothes along with mosquito repellent creams and mats, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi would begin another round of anti-larval measures from tomorrow.

"Rising water of the Yamuna washed away the insecticides sprayed a few days back and so tomorrow, fogging and spraying would be done again around the Games Village," said Dr N K Yadav, the chairperson of MCD's health committee.

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Women get special coach in Metro
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
In view of the increasing number of women travelling on the Metro, the Delhi Metro rail Corporation (DMRC) has decided to reserve the first coach of each train for them. The service shall be put into effect from October 2, on an experimental basis.

The decision was taken by DMRC managing director E. Sreedharan, keeping in view the requests received from various quarters and that about a quarter of the total passengers taking the Metro consisted of women.

The reserved coach for ladies will be next to the driver's in each train. Besides, children up to 12 years of age accompanied by women will be allowed to travel in the reserved coach.

While, in the other coaches, the existing seats reserved for ladies (four seats), old and physically challenged (four seats) and other suggestive seats with stickers above asking people to offer the seats to someone in need (six seats) will continue.

The DMRC will place stickers on platforms to mark entry to the first coach. For the first few days, it has been planned to depute staff who would inform passengers about the same. Announcements in this regard will also be made.

This will reduce crowd in other coaches. According to a commuter survey conducted by the DMRC, about one-fourth of the total commuters are ladies.

The first coach of a Metro train can accommodate about 361 commuters (43 seating and 318 standing).

The Delhi Metro is running 129 trains on a network of 138 kms and 117 stations. The average daily ridership on weekdays is about 14 lakh. By the next month, it will cover over 185 km. 

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90 pc families ignorant about dementia
Ananya Panda
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
An estimated 3.7 million people, 60 years and above, in India are suffering from dementia- memory-related progressive disorder; one in 50 households has a person with dementia. But worryingly, nearly 90 per cent of the families remain ignorant about the demented status till it reaches an advanced stage.

Even as those suffering from memory disorder are expected to double by 2030 owing to several reasons, including the demographic transition, the crumbling social structure and lack of awareness among the doctors and the public, the problem is considered to be a normal part of ageing.

Consequently, most of the cases remain undetected and 50 per cent of the families which were unaware about the disease had even visited the doctor for some other medical pupose in the last three months.

This is highlighted in a report, brought out by 10/66 dementia research group under the Alzheimer's and Related Disorders of India (ARDI).

"No doubt, the elderly are more prone to get it, but it does not go hand in hand with ageing and requires urgent medical intervention. For, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better for the patient," said geriatrician and epidemiologist, Dr Amit Dias, who is also the coordinator of the medical and scientific council of the ARDI.

About 50-60 per cent of those coming to several memory clinics, including the one at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) come at the late stage and Dr Manjari Tripathi, neurologist and psychiatrist from AIIMS, attributes it to low awareness about the disease and the treatment available.

Dementia, not a diagnosis but a clinical syndrome, manifested through several symptoms starting with memory loss to the extent that a person is unable to carry on with his/ her routine activities to urinating frequently and losing speech.

"Beginning with memory loss, it goes on to affect the orientation-ability to communicate effectively in continuance with sleep problem in the advanced stage. Early detection helps in better management of the case," said Dr Amit.

Though the disease is incurable, it can be tackled better after it is detected based on what the patient's family reports as, in ignorance, the families fail to cope with the related problems and, as a result, old people continue to suffer in silence and unknowing neglect.

According to neurologists and psychiatrists, biggest buffet in the event of dementia is home care and in addition to timely pharmacological intervention, intense care by the family is crucial as by virtue of dementia, the average lifespan of the person decreases by five-seven years.

"Barring the 5 per cent reversible dementia, other kinds of dementia cannot be cured, but with medication and care, the progress of the condition can be slowed," said Dr S E S Krishnamurthi, CEO of the Voluntary Health Services Hospital, Chennai.

With the extended family system gradually suffering a blow, the problem calls for a multidisciplinary approach, with focus on training medical force, primary healthcare workers and establishing more domiciliary care centres across the country, said Dr K Jacob, chairperson of the ARDI.

In the country, currently 30 per cent of those above 80 years old have the disease.

India stands second after China in terms of the figures. 

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IMA chief aspirant accuses doctor of threats

Ghaziabad, September 26
A doctor contesting the Indian Medical Association (IMA) presidential elections has filed a criminal case against a Delhi-based doctor for sending defamatory and threatening messages to the voters, police said on Sunday.

The police has registered a case against radiologist Pankaj Singhal on the complaint of Vinay Agrawal, who alleged that Singhal, who is not a voter in the election, has sent SMSes and e-mails to local members of IMA containing "defamatory, derogatory and threatening language". "Dr Agarwal said Singhal has texted objectionable language to 2,500 voters of the IMA across the Delhi and in surrounding areas. On his complaint, we have registered a case, SP city said.  IANS

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Congress, INLD set to mobilise supporters
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, September 26
The ruling Congress in Haryana is trying to consolidate its mass in the state and its arch rival, the INLD, has also upped the ante to give it a challenge, after the completion of the Commonwealth Games.

Significantly, the two parties are concentrating in south Haryana, which primarily encompasses the districts of Faridabad, Palwal, Gurgaon, Rewari, Mahendergarh and Mewat. They account for about 20 Assembly constituencies.

According to political observers, there will soon be a battle royal between the two parties, especially after the INLD leadership has visited almost the entire state for mass mobilisation in order to celebrate the birth anniversary of the late Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, which was on September 25.

The former Chief Minister and INLD supremo, Om Prakash Chautala has also addressed a public meeting in Mahendergarh on the occasion of "Rao Tula Ram Saheedi Diwas" on September 23 in south Haryana--an area dominated by the non-Jat section of society.

While Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, regarded as the mascot of the Haryana Congress, has recently addressed two public meetings in Rewari and Mahendergarh--considered to be nerve centres of Ahirwal politics in the state. Both the areas are parts of south Haryana. This has given added confidence to the Congress workers who say that Hooda is still popular in all parts of the state.

According to them, his 'decent' image is an added asset to the party, apart from a number of development works done in the state by his government.

The Congress has gone ahead and will convene a state-level public rally of 'most backward' sections of society at Kaithal on November 21. The rally has been christened 'Aastha' (faith) rally.

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DU girl takes to crime for 5-star living
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, September 26
An interstate gang of sophisticated criminals has been busted by the Ghaziabad police. The gangsters used to fly in and out of the major metros in north India. They would stay in 5-star hotels, conduct survey of its targets in the guise of courier boys and take the first flight back to its base in Ghaziabad.

The police has arrested seven members of the 'courier gang' and recovered cash and jewellery worth over Rs 2.25 crore from them. A Honda City car and a Wagon R have also been seized. The police has recovered several flight tickets and posh hotel booking vouchers from their possession.

The star performer of the gang of six men is the charming 18-year-old girl Mansi Bhatt, a student of law in Delhi University, who helped the gang in booking hotel rooms and getting into the targeted households without arousing a suspicion.

Seven members of the gang were arrested 11 days after officials of the Ghanta-Ghar police station here nabbed a chain snatcher Harish Sharma and recovered valuables worth more than Rs 1 crore from his possession. Sharma spilled the beans when interrogated by the police.

The police said the gang targeted houses by posing as employees of a courier company. They would then break in using crowbars and steal valuables.

"Having targeted several houses in posh localities like Indirapuram and Vasundhara in Ghaziabad, the gangsters became bold and graduated into conducting 'operations' in Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan, Vadodara and Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Their latest destination was Mumbai in Maharashtra," said the senior superintendent of police, Ghaziabad, Raghubir Lal. The gang always targeted the rich households.

The gangsters used to make travel arrangements to target their victims in various cities. The gang had pooled money to buy a Wagon R car. They even stole a Honda City car for their operations, the police said.

Their woman accomplice was used as a cover to enter houses and book rooms in posh hotels.

The gang had been tracked down by the UP police during its three-day operation in Mumbai.

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12 hurt in 6 Noida mishaps
Our Correspondent

Gt Noida, September 26
Twelve persons were injured in six road accidents that took place in this satellite town adjoining the national Capital.

Four of these occurred on Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, the venue for the Commonwealth Games (CWG) cycling events. The four accidents were reported from Expressway in a mere one and a half hours. Two took place on CWG cycling track and two just 500 metres away from it.

According to the police, 12 persons who sustained injuries include five from Honda Ceil Company. The five were going to Delhi in a cab. The cab reportedly turned turtle after it hit a buffalo. Of them, Prem is admitted in the ICU of a local hospital and is in a critical condition.

Earlier, an Indica car had hit a buffalo and turned turtle near Surajpur village.

In another incident, one Vivek's car met with an accident when it hit a divider. It was allegedly being driven in a rash way. The car has damaged the fencing fixed for the CWG cycling track events. The air bag saved Vivek, though his car has been damaged.

Another incident was reported around 5:30 pm when a car being allegedly driven at high speed tried to overtake a truck near Galgotia College. The truck hit a divider and its driver lost control over the vehicle. After hitting the divider, the truck landed in the service lane. The driver Ramesh and cleaner are injured.

Two other accidents occurred near Paras Nath round-about when a car hit a divider, while a three-wheeler hit a bike in Sector Bita-1. Two persons were injured.

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Rs 4 lakh looted
Our Correspondent

Gt Noida, September 26
Three bike-borne men allegedly robbed two employees of a mobile company of Rs 4 lakh about 400 yards from the Kasna police station. The victims were going to deposit the cash in a bank when the incident took place.

The Kasna police has lodged a report in this regard.

Satyam Sales Company in Sector Bita-II deals in the distribution of mobile handsets. The company's director Rakesh Kumar said his employees Surinder Singh, alias Sonu, and Sanjay Singh had left around 11 am to deposit Rs 4.2 lakh in the Jagat Farm branch of Syndicate Bank yesterday. About 100 metres from their office, three miscreants on a black Pulsar motor cycle blocked the bike of Sonu and Sanjay and asked for the way to Sector Bita-II. The accused allegedly engaged the victims in a conversation.

They then allegedly snatched the bag containing cash at gunpoint from Sanjay and Sonu.

The victims raised an alarm. As people came out of their houses, the robbers panicked and fled leaving their bike. The bike has been seized.

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2 snatchers arrested
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
The Delhi police has arrested two persons and has worked out seven cases of snatching in Civil Lines and Sonepat, the police said today.

The accused have been identified as Pardeep, alias Gurri (20), and Birju, alias Vijay (18).

A gold chain and a Pulsar used in the crime have been recovered from them.

They were arrested on September 24 at about 5.30 pm, when the duo allegedly snatched a gold chain of a woman from Narela Bus Terminal and tried to flee. A patrolling team heard the alarm of the woman and overpowered the snatchers.

The accused are members of the Rocky gang.

The duo used to sell stolen chains to a goldsmith Rakesh, who runs a jewellery shop in Narela. Rakesh is in judicial custody for receiving stolen property.

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