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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

Evil dead: Ravana goes up in flames
New Delhi, October 17
Dussehra was celebrated with prayers and fervour in the national Capital with the effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakarana being burnt in various places, including the Ramlila Ground.
Devotees immerse an idol of goddess Durga in the Yamuna in New Delhi

Women play with vermillion as the 10-day festival ends at Aaram Bagh

An effigy of Ravana set on fire by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi at the Ramlila Ground

(Clockwise) Devotees immerse an idol of goddess Durga in the Yamuna in New Delhi on Sunday. An effigy of Ravana set on fire by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi at the Ramlila Ground. Women play with vermillion as the 10-day festival ends at Aaram Bagh. Tribune photos: Manas Ranjan Bhui


EARLIER STORIES



BJP burns effigies of CM, Kalmadi
New Delhi, October 17
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today burnt effigies of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Union sports minister M.S. Gill for allegedly being responsible for the huge corruption in the Commonwealth Games (CWG).
BJP activists burn the effigy of Sheila Dikshit at Town Hall in New Delhi on Sunday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui
BJP activists burn the effigy of Sheila Dikshit at Town Hall in New Delhi

No new tax to recover CWG cost: CM
New Delhi, October 17
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has ruled out levying any new tax to cover up the expenses of the Commonwealth Games which have cost the nation a whopping Rs 70,000 crore.

DU hostellers return to swanky rooms
New Delhi, October 17
Delhi University, which now boasts of new swanky hostels, has reopened its gates to students after the mid-term break which was scheduled to coincide with the Commonwealth Games.

Govt ready for CWG scam probe: Chauhan
New Delhi, October 17
Public works minister Raj Kumar Chauhan said that the city government was ready for any probe into the misappropriation of money in the Commonwealth Games projects.

Activists of the Ali Sena protest against the Central government on the Babri Masjid issue at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi
Activists of the Ali Sena protest against the Central government on the Babri Masjid issue at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Sunday. Tribune photo

Panchayat Polls
Names of 50,000 voters appear twice in list
Greater Noida, October 17
A large-scale tampering in voters' list for panchayat elections has been detected. The names of 50,000 voters have allegedly been entered twice in the list. According to sources, the matter was handed over to the SDM.

Alcohol intake among urban teens rising: Study
Delhi, NCR top the list
New Delhi, October 17
Easy money, lack of parental care, family abuse, rising stress and depression are the causes that have increased intake of alcohol among youngsters in the age group of 15 to 19 years, especially in metropolitan cities, says a survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

Chatterati
After the storm, the sunshine
In the end India has won not only a hundred and one gold medals but also applause worldwide. Everything was in order. The financial mismanagement, the threat of diseases and the overbridge that collapsed were in the past.

European style villas to come up on Taj e-way
Greater Noida, October 17
Elegant European style villas will line up both sides of the Taj Expressway, which will connect Noida and Greater Noida to Agra from the eastern side of the Yamuna. The Yamuna Expressway Authority is planning high-rise buildings on either side of the highway that will give it the look and ambiance of European highways.

Over 1,000 BSNL phones in Noida dead
Noida, October 17
More than 1,000 Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) landline phones are not functioning since last evening. On October 10, a fire at Sector-29 exchange disrupted services of 4,000 connections. "Till Saturday, around 70 per cent phones were made functional. The rest 30 per cent are yet to be connected."

Man held with Rs 18,000 fake notes
New Delhi, October 17
The Delhi police has arrested a man for allegedly being involved in printing and circulation of fake Indian currency notes of various denominations, the police said today. Fake notes worth Rs 18,000 have been seized from him.

Guard at ministerís house shoots self
New Delhi, October 17
A guard posted at the Delhi residence of water resources minister Pawan Kumar Bansal allegedly committed suicide today, the police said. The incident took place in the wee hours on Ashoka Road.





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Evil dead: Ravana goes up in flames
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 17
Dussehra was celebrated with prayers and fervour in the national Capital with the effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakarana being burnt in various places, including the Ramlila Ground.

Thousands of spectators gathered at the Ramlila Ground to watch the battle between Lord Rama and Ravana in which Ravana was killed.

Huge effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakarana accompanied by lighting of different hues kept the spectators entertained. Before the effigies were set ablaze, colourful fireworks enthralled the audience.

Apart from thousands of people who had thronged the Ramlila Ground to enjoy Vijayadashmi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi graced the occasion.

They were the distinguished guests at Ramlila Ground, this evening.

The office-bearers of the Commonwealth Games organising committee (OC) presented special souvenirs, depicting the episode of Ramlila, to Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi.

They picked up bows and pointed their arrows towards the effigies that kept the attention of the people present on the ground.

The chief patron of Ramlila organising committee, Jai Prakash Agarwal, MP, who is also the president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, in his address said that Vijayadashmi symbolised the victory of the good over the evil and truth over falsehood.

Meanwhile, the Bengali community in the Capital celebrated the culmination of the Durga Puja in grand fervour as they bid farewell to the goddess on the final day of the festivity by immersing the idols in the Yamuna.

Chanting slogans like -- "Bolo Durga mai ki, jai", people took the giant idols of the goddess from puja pandals to the river banks across the city and immersed amidst prayers.

They went to the river banks in trucks and other vehicles and expressed their joy by dancing at traffic signals where the vehicles were stopped for a few minutes.

Special rituals were performed in front of the idols before they were taken to the river banks for immersion.

The puja venues at Chittaranjan Park and Karol Bagh witnessed a large number of people this morning.

The ceremony before the immersion led to traffic snarls in many areas, including Kalindi Kunj, Wazirpur and C.R. Park.

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BJP burns effigies of CM, Kalmadi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 17
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today burnt effigies of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Union sports minister M.S. Gill for allegedly being responsible for the huge corruption in the Commonwealth Games (CWG). It also demanded punishment for the others involved in the scam.

Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta said Dikshit, who had allegedly indulged in the corruption of thousands of crores, was now passing the buck and escaping from taking the responsibility. He alleged that she had misappropriated around Rs 700 crore meant for the Schedule Caste Welfare Fund. Gupta said that the just before the Games, the foot overbridge at the JN Stadium had collapsed and the inquiry report was to be submitted in two days, but it has not been submitted yet.

He has demanded that the report on the bridge collapse should be made public soon.

Dikshit should admit the irregularities in the CWG before the people of Delhi and should resign immediately. An impartial and high-level agency should probe the matter. The inquiry should be complete, comprehensive and time-bound, only then the entire CWG corruption will be exposed.

Around Rs 70,000 crore have been spent on the Games. Such an amount could built a new city, he said.

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No new tax to recover CWG cost: CM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 17
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has ruled out levying any new tax to cover up the expenses of the Commonwealth Games which have cost the nation a whopping Rs 70,000 crore.

The government does not need to impose new tax to cover up the expenses. However, there is a need to make the government's collection system more transparent and efficient, she said.

In the budget session of the assembly, the government had increased taxes on various goods, but later withdrew them after facing resistance from the opposition parties. People had also protested against the proposed increase in taxes.

However, the government withdrew the subsidy on cooking gas and power and increased water tariff and bus fares.

Sources said the city government had faced financial difficulties in conduction the Games, especially after the Centre substantially curtailed its allocation to Delhi in this year's Union budget.

Delhi was allocated a meager sum of Rs 50 crore for projects linked to the Games against its demand of a special assistance of Rs 2,000 crore.

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DU hostellers return to swanky rooms
Jyoti Rai
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 17
Delhi University, which now boasts of new swanky hostels, has reopened its gates to students after the mid-term break which was scheduled to coincide with the Commonwealth Games.

For the hostellers, who had to live in expensive and crammed paying guest accommodations after vacating the hostels for the Games guests, the spruced-up rooms will be a consolation to some extent.

However, the eviction now seems futile because even as the authorities expected overbooking of the hostels during the international sports event, only nine CWG guests turned up. The development came as a disappointment considering the fact that about 2,000 students were evicted for the purpose.

Most colleges are done with hostel admission.

While first year students have already paid their hostel fees, the seniors are yet to do so. College officials are expecting the students to move in by October 20.

Kirori Mal College hostel warden K. Singh said the college would start processing hostel applications on Monday and students will be allowed to move in by October 25.

Meanwhile, students who have already entered hostels say they are happy with the new good-looking rooms with quality furniture and better electricity and water arrangements. However, not many can digest that fact that all the hassles were done for only nine guests.

"Of course it feels nice with better rooms, but I had to go through a lot of the ordeals in the last three months. I had to look for a PG close to my college and then had to manage within a limited budget. Everything comes for a price, but in this case, the price was paid by the students, not authorities," said Kirti Mathur, a first year sociology student at Hansraj College.

However, what came as a relief for the students was that the colleges have decided not to hike hostel fees after the renovations.

"Though maintenance costs have gone up post-renovation, no hostel is likely to increase the fees this year. The students have already suffered a lot in the last four months. The hostels were renovated for the CWG, but ultimately they will be useful to students in the long run," said one of the board members of the Miranda House hostel committee.

However, students' bodies on the other hand contend that the authorities had already come in for huge criticism regarding hostel renovation and hiking the fees would have been the last nail in coffin.

"The move had roped in enough bad publicity. There were rumours before the Games that the authorities were contemplating hostel fee hike. But since not many guests arrived, the move was retracted," said one of the senior executive council members requesting anonymity.

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Govt ready for CWG scam probe: Chauhan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 17
Public works minister Raj Kumar Chauhan said that the city government was ready for any probe into the misappropriation of money in the Commonwealth Games projects.

His statement comes after Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's admission that there was corruption in the organising committee (OC) and some government departments. Dikshit had said this two days ago.

Chauhan said the departments concerned had been instructed to prepare the details.

Most of the projects like -- flyovers, road repairing and construction, renovation of a few streets was carried out by the PWD. It carried out beautification work on PWD roads also. The transport department had purchased buses and constructed depots and bus queue shelters. If any inquiry takes place to unearth the misuse of money in the Games, Delhi government departments would also not be spared, sources said.

Chauhan said the government's conduct had been clean and it would support any probe to nail the wrongdoers. All the money that comes through tax belongs to the common man and if there is any corruption, it should be probed, he said.

Just after the Games got over, the government constituted a committee to look into the allegations of misappropriation of public money. The committee is headed by former CAG chief V.K. Shungloo.

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Panchayat Polls
Names of 50,000 voters appear twice in list
Parmindar Singh

Greater Noida, October 17
A large-scale tampering in voters' list for panchayat elections has been detected. The names of 50,000 voters have allegedly been entered twice in the list. According to sources, the matter was handed over to the SDM.

The Gautam Buddh Nagar district is conducting panchayat polls in two stages - the first on October 20 in Javer and Dankore blocks and the second on October 25 in Dadri and Bisarakh blocks.

The contesting candidates and their relatives have allegedly tampered with the voters' list in collusion with block level officers (BLO). They had allegedly entered the names of their loyal voters twice in the list.

SDM Sadar Vishal Singh said that tampering of list could not be detected earlier. Now, everything has been finalised with printed voters' lists having been distributed.

It was quite late when the authorities received complaints from candidates and voters about it. Singh said that he had received complaints from villages like -- Atta, Dankore, Luksar, Jaganpur, Kulesra and Sakipur. Some 60 complaints point out that the names of 100 to 300 voters have appeared at more than one place.

Dadri SDM Somaya Srivastava said that half a dozen people came to him daily, pointing out duplication of names in voters' list.

According to a senior administrative officer, at least 50,000 names have been entered twice in the list.

It is difficult to keep an eye on bogus voters when the total number of voters is above 6 lakh. It is not possible to strike the names that have appeared more than once in the voters' list, he said. Even if one voter is caught casting his franchise twice, it could lead to chaos and violence.

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Alcohol intake among urban teens rising: Study
Delhi, NCR top the list
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 17
Easy money, lack of parental care, family abuse, rising stress and depression are the causes that have increased intake of alcohol among youngsters in the age group of 15 to 19 years, especially in metropolitan cities, says a survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

According to the survey, around 45 per cent of class XII students have the habit of drinking. They consume liquor five to six times a month.

The statistics indicate an almost 100 per cent increase in teenage drinking in the past 10 years and majority of them drink to get rid of tension, said the survey. More than 2,000 students were contacted during survey. The students said they initially drank with friends, but gradually started drinking alone.

The major cities which were included in the survey are Mumbai, Goa, Cochin, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh and Dehradun.

Interestingly, it was observed that consumption of liquor is more in fashion in Delhi and NCR, followed by Mumbai, Chandigarh and Hyderabad. It is not so popular in smaller cities like Indore, Patna, Dehradun and Cochin.

More than 32 per cent of the teenagers who admitted to drinking say they drink when they are upset, 18 per cent say they drink alone, 15 per cent say they drink when they are bored and 46 per cent say they drink to get high.

Approximately, one-third of the teenagers surveyed had their first drink before entering college.

Further, the survey has found that girls are now taking to drinking at a younger age. Only 40 per cent of the girls said they had their first drink when they were 15 to 17 years old. Nearly 16 per cent teenagers began drinking alcohol before the age of 15.

The data projects that more and more young Indians are taking to alcohol. The trend has been attributed to the society getting liberal, growing spending power and wide availability of liquor brands.

Factors like family history of substance abuse, parental exposure to alcohol, poor parent-child relationship, inadequate parent-child communication, conduct disorders, rebelliousness, depression, anxiety, academic problems, positive attitudes about alcohol, stress and poor coping skills also contribute to early drinking, disclosed the survey.

The survey found that advertisements also influence the drinking patterns of the youth.

Alcohol advertisements that make drinking look cool influence the teenagers.

Lack of parental care has been found as a major reason behind growing use of alcohol by youngsters Forty five per cent of the teens said their parents do not know where they go in their spare time and do not try to impose any restriction.

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Chatterati
After the storm, the sunshine
by Devi Cherian

Suresh Kalmadi In the end India has won not only a hundred and one gold medals but also applause worldwide. Everything was in order. The financial mismanagement, the threat of diseases and the overbridge that collapsed were in the past.

It was a complete Indian wedding being put together in a chaotic manner and as usual everything ended well. The hard work of the athletes gained a renewed interest and respect for a variety of sports away from cricket.

The Pakistani delegation in the opening ceremony got applause of a lifetime. The 71 countries that participated in the two week's fun and games went home happy and satisfied. There was non-stop entertainment and excitement from the beginning till the end. The markets in Delhi were full of visitors. The one person who was booed through and through was Suresh Kalmadi. During the week, when he went for dinner at a local restaurant, the crowd went hysterical and asked him to leave the restaurant. They did not want to share the space with somebody so tainted. Everybody is now waiting and watching with interest as to how Suresh Kalmadi is going to answer at the mismanagement of funds. As the country's rich and powerful sat with the common man to watch the largest sports event that the country has ever hosted, there is a matter of national pride.

Social workers galore

Lalu YadavUttar Pradesh has the largest numbers of social workers elected to Parliament. It seems all our bigwig politicians like Kamal Nath, Farooq Abdullah, Bhajan Lal and Lalu Prasad Yadav are also social workers who have just drifted into the politics. The member of Parliament from Andhra Pradesh who has become famous for slapping the bank manager is also a social worker.

This is the list of professions that the newly elected members of Parliament have given to the Lok Sabha Secretariat. The second largest numbers of members of Parliament are agriculturists. Sharad Pawar, Deve Gowda and his sons are all agriculturists. Charan Singh's son Ajit Singh has listed himself as computer scientist; the industrialists are Praful Patel, Milind Deora and Navin Jindal. We have two professors in Parliament, Girija Vyas and Manohar Joshi. The lady speaker Meira Kumar is the only civil servant who has come to Parliament.

Bhajan LalIt's a great mix where Jaya Prada is from the film industry while Rahul Gandhi's brigade is listed in the farmer's list.

The lawyers, also the party's best spokespersons, are Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, P. Chidambaram and Sushma Swaraj. It's an interesting list of personalities but the social workers take the cake.

This is truly a house whose occupants are democratically equal in wealth. Among the 55 members elected to the Rajya Sabha from 13 states, 43 are crorepaties with their average net worth being Rs 25.24 crore. The richest of the new lot is United Breweries chairman Vijay Mallya with Rs 615 crore. The second-time MP from Karnataka is an independent member of the upper house. MP Y. Satyanarayanayan Chowdhary from Andhra Pradesh is worth Rs 187 crore, while MP Kanwardeep Singh has Rs 82.6 crore in his kitty. The poorest Rajya Sabha MP is Anil Dave from Madhya Pradesh, according to a survey by the Association for Democratic Reforms.

Quite like the Lok Sabha, the upper house is not bereft of its black either. As many as 15 Rajya Sabha MPs have criminal charges pending against them, with six involved in attempt to murder, cheating and forgery cases. These notables cut across all the party lines and belong to the Congress, BJP, TDP and NCP.

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European style villas to come up on Taj e-way
Our Correspondent

Greater Noida, October 17
Elegant European style villas will line up both sides of the Taj Expressway, which will connect Noida and Greater Noida to Agra from the eastern side of the Yamuna. The Yamuna Expressway Authority is planning high-rise buildings on either side of the highway that will give it the look and ambiance of European highways.

The bhoomi poojan of the complex where the villas would stand was performed on Friday. In three years, hundreds of elegant villas would be seen lining the Taj Expressway.

The Yamuna Expressway Authority had recently launched a scheme along the highway between Greater Noida and Agra, under which plots were allotted to builders. According to sources, the scheme has been a hit as it evoked a sumptuous response from the builders' community. Some of the allottees have reportedly initiated building works.

The MD of a building developing company, R.K. Arora and GMD Sangeeta Arora were present at the bhoomi poojan on Friday.

A part of these stylish villas will be developed as a green zone with artificial lakes, while facilities like -- schools, hospitals, shopping complexes, hotels, food courts, gyms, squash courts, golf courses and swimming pools would be developed along the expressway, sources said.

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Over 1,000 BSNL phones in Noida dead
Our Correspondent

Noida, October 17
More than 1,000 Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) landline phones are not functioning since last evening. On October 10, a fire at Sector-29 exchange disrupted services of 4,000 connections. "Till Saturday, around 70 per cent phones were made functional. The rest 30 per cent are yet to be connected."

BSNL general manager U.S. Pandey said that by Sunday evening, it is expected that all lines would be made operational.

R.R. Tandon, a resident of sector-31, said, "On Friday evening, I was getting calls directed to another number as my line was wrongly connected. Despite repeated visits to the exchange, my phone connection was not working till Saturday afternoon."

"The pairing data was destroyed in the fire. Faulty connections are a result of the absence of updated data," Pandey said.

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Man held with Rs 18,000 fake notes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 17
The Delhi police has arrested a man for allegedly being involved in printing and circulation of fake Indian currency notes of various denominations, the police said today. Fake notes worth Rs 18,000 have been seized from him.

The accused has been identified as Dharmender (34), a resident of Najafgarh. With his arrest, the police claims to have busted a gang involved in the circulation of fake notes.

His arrest was made on a tip off that fake notes were being printed at R-6 block, Rama Park in Uttam Nagar on October 15.

The police has seized one packet, containing 100 fake notes of Rs 50 denomination. Other notes of Rs 20 and Rs 10 denomination were found from his house, said a senior police official. The notes amount to Rs 18,000. Some half printed fake notes were also seized, the official added.

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Guard at ministerís house shoots self
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 17
A guard posted at the Delhi residence of water resources minister Pawan Kumar Bansal allegedly committed suicide today, the police said. The incident took place in the wee hours on Ashoka Road.

The victim, Shamling, of the Meghalaya Armed Police allegedly shot himself in the head with his service gun.

The police says that Shamling took the extreme step as he was depressed over some family problems.

However, the police did not find any suicide note from the spot.

A senior police official investigating the matter said that the police was waiting for the postmortem report to ascertain if there was any foul play in the death of the victim.

"Prima facie it appears to be a suicide. But we are awaiting the postmortem report to be sure," he said.

Shamling, who was in his late twenties, was posted at the minister's residence a few months ago.

Sources say that Shamling's family will reach the national Capital tomorrow morning.

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