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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

Guptaís Janta Darbar: Nothing to write home about
New Delhi, February 22
If you expect the Delhi police commissioner's 'Janta Darbar' something akin to 'darbars' held by political bosses where they immediately pass directions to officials concerned after hearing the grievances of the common man, then you could be in for a big disappointment.

Crime rate in Delhi has declined: PC
New Delhi, February 22
Amid concerns over growing crimes in Delhi, home minister P Chidambaram today insisted that the data showed a decline in crime rate between 2001 and 2010.



P. Chidambaram at the Parliament House in New Delhi on Tuesday. Tribune photo

P. Chidambaram at the Parliament House in New Delhi


EARLIER STORIES



Parliamentary panel backs NDMCís elected character
New Delhi, February 22
A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs discussion on the NDMC (Amendment) Bill lent a strong support for turning the New Delhi Municipal Council into an elected body, but the home ministry has opposed it, according to the meeting's minutes which were tabled in Parliament today.

Women participate in Charkha Yagya on the occasion of the death anniversary of Kasturba Gandhi at Gandhi Smriti in New Delhi
Women participate in Charkha Yagya on the occasion of the death anniversary of Kasturba Gandhi at Gandhi Smriti in New Delhi on Tuesday. Tribune Photo

MCD contractors reluctant to take new works
New Delhi, February 22
The Municipal Corporation of Delhiís ambitious plan to provide Rs 1.55 crore more to all the councillors this fiscal for development projects has run into rough weather with municipal contractors saying that they will not take up new works as the civic body is yet to clear over Rs 700 crore in dues.

Metro reaches IGI Airport today
New Delhi, February 22
The Delhi Metro's airport express, the country's first corridor to come up on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, will roll out for public tomorrow, turning the city's dream of a hassle-free ride to Indira Gandhi International Airport into a reality.

Sikh trust to give books to poor kids
New Delhi, February 22
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Delhi-UK president Jasjit Singh yesterday announced the First Sikh Book Bank Trust to provide reference books free of charge to poor students of class Xth and XIIth.

Surajpur-Jewar Road to be repaired
Greater Noida, February 22
UP Chief Minister Mayawati has directed the authorities to repair the Surajpur to Jewar road within three months. The officials concerned today visited the road and issued orders for floating tenders.

Venkataraman represented timeless values: Kalam
New Delhi, February 22
Former President APJ Abdul Kalam has a legion of admirers and seen as a mentor by many, even as he named today another former President, R Venkataraman, as a man whom he looked up to like a mentor.

South African cricket captain Graeme Smith (C) and teammates pose with HIV-affected people during a campaign of the ICC and the UN, ThinkWise, at Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi
South African cricket captain Graeme Smith (C) and teammates pose with HIV-affected people during a campaign of the ICC and the UN, ThinkWise, at Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

Rs 65 crore sought for slum projects
New Delhi, February 22
The urban development department has demanded Rs 65 crore from the finance department, currently under the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for development of roads and drains and improvement of other amenities in the slums.

No water supply in Punjabi Bagh for 3 days
New Delhi, February 22
The water supply in the areas of Punjabi Bagh will remain affected for the next three days due to cleaning of booster pump station and the underground reservoirs, said an official of the Delhi Jal Board.

55-yr-old held for minorís rape
New Delhi, February 22
The northeast district police has arrested a 55-year-old man for alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in the Onkar Nagar area. According to information, the accused Dhirpal was arrested from Moradabad UP, where he had taken the victim after drugging her with some eatables a few days ago.

One held for carjacking, driverís murder
New Delhi, February 22
With the arrest of Israr Malik, a resident of Mohan Nagar in Ghaziabad, the north-east district police has claimed to have solved a case of murder and carjacking. According to the police, Malik had killed Sandeep Mandal, the driver of a Toyota Fortuner car which had gone missing on January 30 from the Delhi Cantonment area.

Man who shot at bossís wife arrested
Wasim shot at his former employerís wife after he sacked him for drinking inside his factory
New Delhi, February 22
Bhajanpura police station sleuths have arrested 22-year-old Wasim who shot at his former employer's wife yesterday morning. According to the police, originally from Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), Wasim was arrested last night from the Jai Prakash Nagar area of Ghonda where he was staying at his sister's house.

Man in police net after 20 years
New Delhi, February 22
The Delhi police has arrested a man who was evading arrests from the past 20 years by spreading rumor of his death. Akhtar, accused of being involved in several heinous cases, including a murder case, was declared a proclaimed offender by several courts.





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Guptaís Janta Darbar: Nothing to write home about
Sandeep Yadav
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
If you expect the Delhi police commissioner's 'Janta Darbar' something akin to 'darbars' held by political bosses where they immediately pass directions to officials concerned after hearing the grievances of the common man, then you could be in for a big disappointment.

Firstly, though commissioner Brijesh Gupta would like all to believe that he is holding a Darbar, the fact remains that you get to meet him individually in his office, after going through the scrutiny of his official staff, and then you might not be even allowed to meet him.

As it happened with one Surender Sharma, a Sarai Rohilla resident who had come with his complaint against local police who detained and beat him up without reason.

"I came around 12.05 pm and despite waiting for one hour, the officials outside his office did not let me meet the commissioner but instead directed me to the area joint commissioner," alleged Sharma sounding disturbed about the whole efforts.

Even those who got to meet the police commissioner are not too sure about whether he would be able to deliver considering the inquiry would ultimately come through police channels. Requesting anonymity, a complainant who met the police commissioner today said that after receiving his complaint, the commissioner marked it to his subordinate officer to look into the matter. "It would make more sense if the police official against whom I had complaint was called face to face with me and the commissioner would have judged for himself if I was lying or he was making up the story. Now the complaint would go from the joint commissioner to the DCP, ACP and then the SHO while I have already met some of them and no action was taken," he said.

Another complainant Akram who had come with a complaint against the Chandni Mahal police station regarding an attack on his brother by someone was asked to come with him.

"They asked me to come with my brother, but he is not in good health. I will come again, let us see what happens then," said Akram.

Another person who had a meeting with the commissioner regarding his complaint had an interesting take on the whole issue of 'Janta Darbar'.

"The parliament session began yesterday and so did the commissioner's darbar. I think all this is a sham to please the bosses in the home ministry. Bahai sahib feel good factor hai bus," he opined.

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Crime rate in Delhi has declined: PC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
Amid concerns over growing crimes in Delhi, home minister P Chidambaram today insisted that the data showed a decline in crime rate between 2001 and 2010. He said in the Lok Sabha during the Question Hour that the accepted yardstick for comparing crime was the number of crime per lakh population and if it were to be applied, the crime rate in the city was 281.34 in 2010 while it was 392.66 in 2001.

From these statistics, it could not be concluded that the crime was increasing. He, however, admitted that in a city like Delhi with ever-increasing population, certain crimes were inevitable.

The statistics showed that the cases of rape had risen to 458 in 2010 from 425 in 2009 and as many as 17 cases were reported in January.

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Parliamentary panel backs NDMCís elected character
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs discussion on the NDMC (Amendment) Bill lent a strong support for turning the New Delhi Municipal Council into an elected body, but the home ministry has opposed it, according to the meeting's minutes which were tabled in Parliament today.

The five meetings, minutes of which were tabled, of the committee were held between September 30, 2010 and January 5, 2011, and an overwhelming majority of its members were of the view that the council should be slowly turned into an elected body.

"First, the very concept of having an assembly for Delhi was supposed to be atrocious. All kinds of arguments were given gradually things moved. We have three lakh population in the NDMC area and this large chunk of population is denied an active role in the civic services of that region. It is not fair," said BJP stalwart and a member of the committee LK Advani.

Its chairman M Venkaiah Naidu also wondered why the home ministry was avoiding an elected body.

The ministry, however, said it was not supportive of such a move and as the area is full of government employees' families, most elected members of such a council might be from these families which would "politicise" them.

The proposed amendments seeks to reduce the number of MLAs in the council from three to two as only two constituencies fell in the area after delimitation. The amendments also propose to increase the council's strength from 11 to 13 with an increase in the number of professionals, lawyers, teachers, businessmen among others, from two to four. They would be nominated by the Central government in consultation with the Chief Minister.

There would be, according to the amendments, two members from the SC community instead of the existing one.

Several civic groups, whose views were heard by the committee, pushed for more elected representation and said it would allow the residents some say in the civic matters.

Home secretary Gopal K Pillai said as many as 2.2 lakh out of 3.2 persons living in the area were staying in the government colonies. A majority of the council members, in such eventuality, would be the family members of the government servants.

He said the decisions taken by the NDMC could lead to unnecessary issues between the Centre and state governments and the Centre and foreign mission. The policy, he said, had been to keep the council as a unique body.

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MCD contractors reluctant to take new works
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
The Municipal Corporation of Delhiís ambitious plan to provide Rs 1.55 crore more to all the councillors this fiscal for development projects has run into rough weather with municipal contractors saying that they will not take up new works as the civic body is yet to clear over Rs 700 crore in dues.

The MCD had passed its revised budget for 2010-11 making the provision for the additional funds and said the councillors can book their work orders by March 31.

However, the contractors are unwilling to take up new works as they feel there is no guarantee of the money being released in view of the fact that payment of hundreds of crores of rupees is already pending, said Delhi Municipal Contractors Association president Sunil Vohra.

He said the contractors are yet to take a decision on whether to go in for a stronger step like stopping work.

An MCD source said the contractors are to get Rs over 700 crore in dues from the civic body and they have reached an understanding among themselves not to take up new works sanctioned under the non-plan head.

The additional money had been promised by the MCD under non-plan head. The cash-strapped civic body has been struggling to clear payment to contractors and they have gone on the agitational path several times in the last few months.

When contacted, MCD Works Committee chairman Jagdish Mamgain said he has talked to the financial adviser of the corporation, asking him to release at least some of the payment due to the contractors as soon as possible.

Earlier, the opposition Congress had expressed apprehension that though the money has been promised, it will be impossible to release it within this fiscal.

MCD Standing Committee chairman Yogender Chandolia, however, said the money can be booked after the budget was passed and funds can even be released over a period of several months.

Meanwhile, Mamgain has directed the engineering department to curb the procedural delay of various works.

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Metro reaches IGI Airport today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
The Delhi Metro's airport express, the country's first corridor to come up on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, will roll out for public tomorrow, turning the city's dream of a hassle-free ride to Indira Gandhi International Airport into a reality.

The Central Industrial Security Force, which will guard the line, completed the deployment of its 400 personnel today on the 23-km corridor and conducted anti-sabotage and other mandatory operations so that the services can start tomorrow.

As the commercial operations begin from 2 pm without much fanfare, commuters will be able to get information about train timings, its frequency and other details through a dedicated helpline set up by Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited, the Reliance Infra-led consortium that will operate the line.

The customer care numbers will be functional everyday from 6 am to 10 pm, the operational hours of the 23-km high-speed link that promises a roller-coaster ride to commuters from Connaught Place in the heart of the city to the new swanky Terminal-3 of the IGI Airport.

Senior citizens and physically challenged can use the customer care number to book wheel chair and other facilities to ensure that they have a comfortable ride.

There will be no formal inauguration ceremony tomorrow though the DAMEPL wants a formal inauguration which is expected to take place sometime in March.

The first Airport Metro Express will start its journey from the New Delhi station at 2 pm and is expected to reach the IGI Airport in 20 minutes with a stoppage at Shivaji Stadium station. The high-speed link on which trains will initially run at a speed of 105 km per hour will open nearly five months after it missed its original deadline of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The line will begin operations with four operational stations New Delhi, Shivaji Stadium, IGI Airport and Dwarka Sec-21. Other two stations Dhaula Kuan and Delhi Aero City are expected to be ready by the time the formal inauguration takes place, sources said.

However, passengers will not be able to check-in their baggage at the stations as talks with Air India and other private airlines are still on.

Sources said the facility would be available by the time the formal inauguration takes place possibly in March. Though the corridor would have a 16-hour run initially, it might be increased to 20 hours later.

With this, Delhi will join the league of few world cities like London, Hong Kong, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur, which have a high-speed link connecting the city with the International Airport.

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Sikh trust to give books to poor kids
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Delhi-UK president Jasjit Singh yesterday announced the First Sikh Book Bank Trust to provide reference books free of charge to poor students of class Xth and XIIth.

The service is limited to Delhi schools to begin with. Later, services of the trust will be expanded to the neighbouring states particularly where Sikh schools are in large numbers.

This service is being provided jointly by the SAD (Delhi_UK) and its family, including Shri Guru Singh Sabha and a few social organizations, Jasjit said.

Launching the trust during a function, a cheque for Rs 25,000 was presented by Tarvinder Singh Marwah, parliamentary secretary of the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to Sarandeep, a nine-year-old Sikh student of class four enrolled in an MCD school in Nand Nagri.

He could not get admission in Guru Harikishan Public School (GHPS) in Shahdara as his father, a tailor, could not pay the fee of the school. The annual tuition fee of the school is Rs 25,000. Now this year he will take admission in the GHPS.

Addressing the gathering at the function, Jasjit said that there would be no discrimination in the name of caste, creed or religion.

The students who are enrolled in the Sikh schools whether they belong to Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or any other community can get the benefit of the book bank trust provided their parents are not able to bear the expenses of theirstudies.

The books will be donated from the next session to be started from April. To avail the facility, the students have to fill in a form available on the website of the First Sikh Book School Bank. Recommendation of the school principal will be mandatory.

All the books obtained from the trust will be returned at any given time within the period of one academic year so that the same books can be allotted to the other students next year, Jasjit said.

The target for this academic year is to provide books to at least 500 students and gradually more students will be accommodated. The selection of the books will be done by an expert committee of teachers.

In the special case, stationery and other benefits will also be given to the students of class Xth and XIIth. The book bank trust will also give scholarship to those excelling in different streams of class XIIth.

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Surajpur-Jewar Road to be repaired
Parmindar Singh

Greater Noida, February 22
UP Chief Minister Mayawati has directed the authorities to repair the Surajpur to Jewar road within three months. The officials concerned today visited the road and issued orders for floating tenders.

Mayawati has also changed the policing pattern and formed NCR police zone comprising districts of state coming under NCR region.

She said this will bring better coordination with the Delhi police and other NCR towns.

The UP Chief Minister had visited the Ambedkar village Chikbirampur under Jewar tehsil two days ago on Sunday.

Her helicopter landed at 8 pm in Jewar. District magistrate Deepak Aggarwal accompanied her to Ambedkar village.

She inspected the development and met villagers to get feedback. Villagers alleged that they were not allowed to come out of the room during the CM visit.

From Jewar, she went to Sadar Tehsil office at Dhada village by road. This stretch of road was in a very bad shape.

Villagers told her they avoid this stretch. She was very upset by the road condition.

She had then directed the DM to get the road remetalled in the next three months. She told him she would come and visit again. The DM yesterday had directed the authority to get the work done.

Meanwhile, SSP Amitabh Yash, SP Atul Saxena, SP HN Singh have been transferred by Mayawati. Three deputy superintendents of police, an assistant superintendent of police and an SHO have also been transferred.

She was very upset by the deteriorating law and order in the twin cities.

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Venkataraman represented timeless values: Kalam
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
Former President APJ Abdul Kalam has a legion of admirers and seen as a mentor by many, even as he named today another former President, R Venkataraman, as a man whom he looked up to like a mentor.

Speaking at the India International Centre, which hosted the second lecture as a part of the celebration for the country's eighth President's centenary year - named RV's Centenary by the organisers, Kalam said people of the kind of Venkataraman were rare and he brought dignity and values to the public life and made it richer with his presence. Values were timeless and he taught us not only how to run the administration but also how to live, Kalam said.

The IIC in collaboration with the family of the former President jointly held the event.

To celebrate RV's Centenary, a series of programmes are being organised till December 4, 2011, to mark the values and culture of his generation.

Lakshmi V Venkatasan, his youngest daughter, said the purpose was not only to remember him or pay him homage but to highlight the values he stood for.

She said her father was a visionary who spoke way back in 1952 about the scourge of unemployment and propounded the idea of economic liberalization in 1959.

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Rs 65 crore sought for slum projects
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
The urban development department has demanded Rs 65 crore from the finance department, currently under the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for development of roads and drains and improvement of other amenities in the slums.

Urban development minister Rajkumar Chauhan said there were 685 slums in the Capital where the government had to start 136 development projects. When the slum department was under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, no plan was made for providing basic amenities to the colonies. But now, since it has been taken over by the government, the plan for development has been prepared, Chauhan said.

The fund will be sanctioned in April, but the process of inviting tenders will start now so that the work could start immediately after the release of the money, he said.

According to sources, when the finance department was with A. K. Walia, a few ministers and MLAs faced difficulties in getting funds sanctioned for projects. This issue was raised by Patparganj MLA Naseeb Singh at an interaction meeting called by the Chief Minister.

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No water supply in Punjabi Bagh for 3 days
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
The water supply in the areas of Punjabi Bagh will remain affected for the next three days due to cleaning of booster pump station and the underground reservoirs, said an official of the Delhi Jal Board.

The supply will be affected from February 24 to 26 in Punjabi Bagh, Moti Nagar, Karampura, Basai Darapur.

Due to installation of flow meter at flag staff reservoir outlet to Timarpur, there will be no water supply on February 24 to the next morning in the university area.

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55-yr-old held for minorís rape
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
The northeast district police has arrested a 55-year-old man for alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in the Onkar Nagar area. According to information, the accused Dhirpal was arrested from Moradabad UP, where he had taken the victim after drugging her with some eatables a few days ago.

According to the police, the victim and Dhirpal were neighbours and since he lived alone, the girl's family used to serve meal to him. "The victim was known to the accused and often came to give him food. A few days ago, this man offered her some snacks induced with sedatives. When she became unconscious, he took her to Moradabad and raped her several times. The police team managed to trace him," said a police official of the area.

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One held for carjacking, driverís murder
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
With the arrest of Israr Malik, a resident of Mohan Nagar in Ghaziabad, the north-east district police has claimed to have solved a case of murder and carjacking. According to the police, Malik had killed Sandeep Mandal, the driver of a Toyota Fortuner car which had gone missing on January 30 from the Delhi Cantonment area.

According to S.K. Jain, DCP (Northeast), a team was constituted to find the missing driver. But after failing to trace the driver, the investigators probed the case from the angle of carjacking.

"The missing car was recovered from Simbhawali in Uttar Pradesh. Since the car was found in UP, we believed that the gang involved in its jacking had links with Meerut and Ghaziabad. After several enquiries at petrol pumps, auto workshops and car shops in Meerut and Ghaziabad, the police learnt that Malik, a driver by profession, was recently seen in a Toyota Fortuner with three other men," said Jain.

Malik was nabbed yesterday from his hideout in Delhi-Ghaziabad Apsara border.

Malik disclosed that he wanted to roam around in a luxury car to impress girls. For this, he along with his three accomplices planned to steal a luxury car.

"On the day of the crime, all the four came to Ashram Chowk around 9.30 pm. On spotting a Toyota Fortuner car, they asked the driver for a lift. The driver agreed and asked Rs 10 from each of them. Later, in the car, they hit the driver on the head and strangulated him somewhere in Ghaziabad and fled with the car," said Jain, adding that efforts were on to arrest the other accused.

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Man who shot at bossís wife arrested
Wasim shot at his former employerís wife after he sacked him for drinking inside his factory
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
Bhajanpura police station sleuths have arrested 22-year-old Wasim who shot at his former employer's wife yesterday morning. According to the police, originally from Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), Wasim was arrested last night from the Jai Prakash Nagar area of Ghonda where he was staying at his sister's house.

Wasim had shot at Shanaz Khan, wife of his former employer Sabeer Khan, after he had sacked him for drinking inside his factory.

Shanaz received bullet injury on her right elbow and is currently recuperating at GTB Hospital.

In his confession to the police, Wasim said that angered by his dismissal he had decided to teach them a lesson.

"With these intentions, he reached the factory yesterday morning and confronted Shanaz. Seething with anger and humiliation, he fired upon her and then fled from the spot," said S K Jain, DCP (North east).

He obtained 'katta' from one of his friends Nahna, resident of Rampur who used to live near his parental house. Both used to work together.

From his disclosure, a 'katta' of 12 bore and one live cartridge were recovered.

According to the police, Wasim is illiterate and has no previous criminal case.

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Man in police net after 20 years
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
The Delhi police has arrested a man who was evading arrests from the past 20 years by spreading rumor of his death. Akhtar, accused of being involved in several heinous cases, including a murder case, was declared a proclaimed offender by several courts.

The police arrested him from near Mehrauli bus terminal when he was boarding a bus to Pul Prahaladpur.

On interrogation, he introduced himself as Shadiq Khan and produced his voter election card in support of his identity. However, he finally broke down and admitted to be a proclaimed offender Akhtar.

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