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Shunglu panel reviews PWD, NDMC, MCD projects
Says officials delayed CWG works to make money
COST DELHI DEAR
New Delhi, March 25
Inordinate delay in the massive upgradation of the Capital's infrastructure, which was part of the Commonwealth Games projects, might have been a deliberate attempt by the government officials to make money in a league with complicit contractors as funds were not a constraint for the mega sporting event, said the Shunglu committee report.

BJP asks CM to table Shunglu report
Ruckus in Delhi Assembly
New Delhi, March 25
The members of the BJP in the Delhi Legislative Assembly today raised the issue of financial irregularities in the Commonwealth Games projects, demanding from the Chief Minister to table the VK Shunglu Committee report in the House. The committee studied the projects constructed by the city government.


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MCD writes to CM over dirty water
New Delhi, March 25
The health committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi today wrote to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, telling her that over 15 per cent of supply water samples tested during a study in the city were found to be contaminated and that the government and the civic body should join hands to combat the problem.

Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit administers oath to officials of the state secretariat on the eve of World Earth Day in New Delhi on Friday.
FOR MOTHER EARTH: Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit administers oath to officials of the state secretariat on the eve of World Earth Day in New Delhi on Friday. Tribune photo

Burglary at ministerís house
New Delhi, March 25
Some burglars allegedly broke into the house of environment minister Jairam Ramesh and decamped with some old vessels and scrap items from his official residence located at Rajesh Pilot Marg.

Changing role of teachers discussed
New Delhi, March 25
How relevant is a teacher in a world ruled by information technology, computers, web and other information aids? Is the role of a teacher today as relevant as it was two decades back?

Teachers warned against corporal punishment
New Delhi, March 25
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today said that strict action would be taken against teachers indulging in corporal punishment in municipal schools.

DU teachers, students protest sem
New Delhi, March 25
Where on one hand the Delhi University teachers and students today participated in a candlelight march opposing the implementation of semester system, on the other the university administration claimed more courses have agreed to comply with the switch to semester mode.

MCD seeks layout plan of illegal colonies 
New Delhi, March 25
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today wrote a letter to the Delhi government requesting it to send the layout plans of 733 unauthorised colonies in order to speed up the process of their regularisation.

4 cricket betting rackets busted
New Delhi, March 25
The crime branch of the Delhi police today claimed to have cracked four betting syndicates operating during yesterday's India-Australia cricket match and arrested 11 persons in this connection.

4 schoolgirls kidnapped in Mayur Vihar
New Delhi, March 25
In a baffling incident reported from the Mayur Vihar area of east Delhi, four teenaged schoolgirls went missing yesterday after appearing in a school exam in the afternoon.

BJP activists protest against the Delhi government near the Assembly in New Delhi on Friday.
BJP activists protest against the Delhi government near the Assembly in New Delhi on Friday. Tribune photo

Man kills his 3-yr-old niece
New Delhi, March 25
Angry maternal uncle threw away his three-year-old niece after a fight with the child's mother, leading to her death in the Neb Sarai area of south Delhi.

DU girl robs landlord
New Delhi, March 25
A second-year student of Delhi University's Satyawati College has been arrested for stealing jewellery from her landlord's house while he and his family were away.

Runaway criminal held
New Delhi, March 25
The special cell of the Delhi police today arrested Rehan, alias Gaonwala, a 'bad character' (BC) of the Chandni Mahal police station.

454 fake pen drives seized
New Delhi, March 25
With the arrest of three persons, Connaught Place police station has unearthed a racket of a sale of counterfeit Kingston's pen drives at Palika Bazar.





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Shunglu panel reviews PWD, NDMC, MCD projects
Says officials delayed CWG works to make money
COST DELHI DEAR
Kumar Rakesh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
Inordinate delay in the massive upgradation of the Capital's infrastructure, which was part of the Commonwealth Games projects, might have been a deliberate attempt by the government officials to make money in a league with complicit contractors as funds were not a constraint for the mega sporting event, said the Shunglu committee report.

The high-power one-man committee reviewed 11 out of 76 projects undertaken by the PWD, NDMC and MCD and estimated an "undue gain" of Rs 254.10 crore to the contractors of these projects and attributed it to various acts of omissions and commissions of the officials involved in the process.

It said Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit carried the responsibility for the decisions taken "which cost the city dear".

Detailing out how the PWD officials, which carried out most of the projects, benefited a few select contractors, the committee said different projects were split into smaller packages instead of bundling the smaller contracts into larger packages. Bigger firms like Gammon India, Larson & Toubro and Hindustan Construction Company were kept at bay by dividing these projects, it said.

It has also questioned the awarding of the most of the contracts to a few firms like Afcons, Simplex and DSC.

"The committee finds it difficult to straightaway discount the strong public perception that there was a method in madness. Such undue delay was perhaps a deliberate attempt at higher levels to create a sense of panic with a view to giving undue advantage to all concerned," it said.

The manner in which estimates were prepared, specifications arbitrarily changed and project cost hiked up showed that everyone from top to bottom believed that once a project had been catagorised as a CWG project, funds were not a constraint at all, the committee observed in an indictment of the entire administrative top brass of the city.

The committee also rued the delay in the execution of these projects and said if they had commenced by 2007 instead of 2009, a saving of Rs 130.6 crore could have been made on the Barapullah Nullah project alone which cost over Rs 483 crore. It estimated that over 13 per cent of the total cost was attributable to these delays, meaning that the cost of delay worked out to be Rs 900 for these infrastructure projects.

From the big ticket projects like Barapullah Nullah elevated road to other projects like streetlights, street-scaping contracts and signage contracts have been singled out by the committee for the collusion of officials and contractors and how massive undue gains were made by the contractors.

The committee criticised the Delhi government for its ad hoc selection of projects, some of which were highly ambitious and abandoned midway. "Projects got added and deleted depending upon changing perception of the needs, priorities and exigencies of different situations. The 76 listed projects could therefore be considered at best those 'executed' rather than as 'planned and executed'," said the report.

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BJP asks CM to table Shunglu report
Ruckus in Delhi Assembly
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The members of the BJP in the Delhi Legislative Assembly today raised the issue of financial irregularities in the Commonwealth Games projects, demanding from the Chief Minister to table the VK Shunglu Committee report in the House. The committee studied the projects constructed by the city government.

However, Speaker Yoganand Shastri expelled them from the House for the whole day.

As soon as the House proceedings started, Leader of the Opposition Vijay Kumar Malhotra asked the Speaker that the Chief Minister should table the copy of the Shunglu Committee report in the House for discussion. When Speaker asked him to raise the issue after the question hour, Malhotra, along with his party members, continued their demand for tabling the report.

Later, they trooped to the Well of the House raising slogans against the government. When they continued making din in the House, the Speaker expelled them from the assembly for the whole day.

The Chief Minister said she had not yet studied the report.

Talking to the media, Malhotra asked that when Suresh Kalmadi was removed from the post of the secretary of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee why Dikshit could not be removed from the post of the Chief Minister?

An executive summary of third report of the High Level Committee (HLC) of VK Shunglu given by the BJP to the media pointed out irregularities in the Games projects saying that they were completed in a hurry.

Giving an example of Sunehri and Kushak Nullahs parking lots, the report said, "As against the contracted amount of Rs 303.97 crore, the work had been completed with a likely saving of Rs 7 crore which indicated that administrative approval and sanctions were given to badly prepared and ill-conceived estimates."

The executive summary also explained that for streetlights "restricted tendering system was adopted which was patently flawed. Besides, about 807 km of road length in the areas of MCD, NDMC and PWD was taken up for upgrading. The administrative approval was for a total sum of Rs 465 crore and the contracted amount was of Rs 285 crore. Unknown practice of involving a luminair manufacturer as the leading partner was introduced and a provision was made for fixing only imported luminair on certain stretches. Successful parties imported luminair at a much-lower price than quoted."

Unrealistically high estimates for streetscaping were prepared and even then there were large variations in the estimated and actual quantities.

There are serious reservations about the surface used for the footpaths and strong doubts about the quality of work executed. Horticulture intervention has been of a temporary nature as many plants have already withered," the executive summary said.

As far as signage is concerned, the high cost of sheets was justified on grounds of long life and low maintenance cost. However, installed signage is already getting worn out in the NDMC area.

The summary said, "There were anomalies in the NIT and instances of over-payment have come to light."

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MCD writes to CM over dirty water
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The health committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi today wrote to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, telling her that over 15 per cent of supply water samples tested during a study in the city were found to be contaminated and that the government and the civic body should join hands to combat the problem.

Chief of the health committee of the MCD and BJP councillor V.K. Monga sent a letter to Dikshit, saying that 126 of 747 water samples (over 16 per cent) tested were found to contain more than acceptable quantities of bacteria, usually of faecal origin.

The panel, which tested the Delhi Jal Board water, had last week said that 18 per cent of the samples were found to be contaminated. Asked about the difference in the figure, Monga said that it was an ongoing study and more samples were being collected. These samples were collected till March 15.He said the samples had been tested at an accredited laboratory and it was a public health problem.

In summer, contaminated water can lead to diseases like jaundice, typhoid and gastro-enteritis, he said, adding, that there was a need to check water pipelines passing along sewers to prevent mixing of sewage and water, clean old pipes and repair them. 

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Burglary at ministerís house
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
Some burglars allegedly broke into the house of environment minister Jairam Ramesh and decamped with some old vessels and scrap items from his official residence located at Rajesh Pilot Marg.

"One of the minister's staff members found some vessels and scrap were missing from the garage that is located outside his residence. He claimed to have locked the garage last night and everything was in order. However, today morning when he went to the garage for routine work, he found things missing," said a police official.

The incident came a day after twomotorbike-borne assailants targeted the wife of a personal secretary of A Sai Pratap, minister of state for heavy industries, and snatched her chain barely a few hundred metres from the Parliament. 

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Changing role of teachers discussed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
How relevant is a teacher in a world ruled by information technology, computers, web and other information aids? Is the role of a teacher today as relevant as it was two decades back? Also, how do the contemporary teachers manage to stay updated in today's fast-changing knowledge environment? These were some of the questions that were discussed at a one-day national seminar held at Amity University on 'Reinventing professionalism of the contemporary teacher.'

Phool Kaul, director, Amity Institute of Education, spoke candidly, saying, "The world of teaching and learning is changing rapidly. A contemporary teacher is expected to create and manage learning environments for students with diverse backgrounds, which entail setting of targets, using a wide range of strategies and support systems to reach out to every student in the class and above all, communicating meaningfully and effectively with all the stake holders in the education of a student."

She laid great stress on a thorough training of teachers.

"No one else but the teachers are the nation builders," said S. Regunathan, former chief secretary, government of NCT.

He stressed that teaching is a profession that requires constant reinvention and upgradation in terms of knowledge and insight. Teachers essentially need to develop a passion for their profession to be able to evoke the interest of children.

Regunathan added that, "Teachers essentially need to be an embodiment of patience, inspiration and motivation for the children to create a conducive environment of learning for them and thereby tap young talents."

Meanwhile, former director of the NCERT, J.S. Rajput, said, "In the contemporary times where the world is changing rapidly, the teachers are the ones who are responsible for giving an ideal shape to the future of the nation."

Rajput stressed that it is a teacher who identifies and interprets the pros and cons of the upcoming changes for students and moulds them accordingly to contribute to the society.

"As such the health and future of a society is dependant to a large extent on the influence that teachers wield on the young minds," he said.

"Teachers play a vital role in shaping young minds by influencing their thought processes. The world is changing at a phenomenal rate resulting in a lot of challenges and turbulence in the minds of young people. Education is now widely acknowledged as a full-fledged industry with students as the clients. It is the task of the teachers and institutions as service providers to deliver quality service to their clients," said Ashok K. Chauhan, founder president, Amity Group.

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Teachers warned against corporal punishment
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today said that strict action would be taken against teachers indulging in corporal punishment in municipal schools.

Mayor Prithvi Raj Sawhney cautioned MCD teachers against taking harsh measures to discipline students and urged them to motivate children, including those who have dropped out, to join school.

"Keep the iron rod away and encourage a child to study in a school," he said.

The Mayor was releasing literature for 'learning without fear' campaign at a workshop on corporal punishment organised by the Plan India and Society for All Round Development, at Town Hall.

The Mayor said that corporal punishment is a criminal offence and teachers should provide a violence-free environment in schools so that children can study without fear.

Adding that it is important to understand the changing needs of the students, Sawhney urged teachers, parents and NGOs to work together in bringing children to schools.

"By 2013, they should ensure that every child in the city is enrolled in a school".

Stating that it is a tough task to implement the Right to Education Act, the Mayor said that more teachers should be appointed to implement the 1:30 teacher- student ratio provision of the Act.

At present, the MCD has a teacher-student ratio of 1:40 or 1:45 in its schools. He directed the MCD principals to involve teachers and parents in creating awareness about the provisions of the Act.

"The principals should install a complaint box in their schools for children so that they could give their complaints in writing against teachers without fear. Principals should take quick action against erring teachers to win the confidence of the students," Sawhney said.

For the first time, the MCD has roped in NGOs like Plan India and SARD besides Oxfam and Save the Children, to sensitise its teachers on corporal punishment.

"The NCERT and UNESCO are providing technical support for it. More than 1,700 MCD principals have been briefed during the workshop organised by the Plan India and SARD about the Right to Education Act, its provisions and ways of motivating children to join school. 

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DU teachers, students protest sem
Jyoti Rai
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
Where on one hand the Delhi University teachers and students today participated in a candlelight march opposing the implementation of semester system, on the other the university administration claimed more courses have agreed to comply with the switch to semester mode.

A group of over 400 teachers meeting as a Joint Action Body, along with some students from several departments, held a candlelight vigil to protest the semester system of the undergraduate courses in the university. The students and the teachers shouted the songs of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Majaaz demonstrating against what they called the imposition of the semester system in a dictatorial way.

Many wore T-shirts with slogans like..."VC leave us alone"..."Join the stir" and "We do not need no education".

Among concerns put forth by the agitating teachers was their contention that the semester system is exam-oriented rather than being oriented towards teaching-learning process.

Later in the day today, an official statement by the registrar of the university said the committee of courses of department of music, commerce, Bcom (Hons) and Bcom had unanimously approved the new semester module to be taught from the new academic session. It further claimed that contrary to the media reports, the department of economics and political science were already in the process of completing the task of semester system. It said the only courses that had not yet approved the semester system were sociology and history.

"Just two days back, the social sciences faculty stalled the passing of any of the courses from the department which include economics, political science, geography, social work, history and sociology. Since we cannot stage strikes and protests, we sought this different mode of protest after organising the open teaching days in DU lawns.

Amidst plays, songs and musicals, the evening at the arts faculty today aims at mobilising students and teachers together against the semester system," said Abha Dev Habib, physics faculty member, Miranda House.

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MCD seeks layout plan of illegal colonies 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today wrote a letter to the Delhi government requesting it to send the layout plans of 733 unauthorised colonies in order to speed up the process of their regularisation.

The Leader of the House, Subhash Arya, said the civic agency had written to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in this regard.

"The government has failed to provide us the layout plans making it difficult for us to make assessment of basic issues like boundaries, provision of civic services, etc.," said Arya.

He said in order to regularise these colonies the government had to provide MCD with necessary inputs. Even the layout plans of 90 colonies sent back to the government more than two and half months back seeking more clarification, had not been replied, he said.

"The plans were forwarded to the Delhi government, along with comments from the MCD, as we wanted clarification with regard to boundaries, ownership and position of hindrances. But no response till date has been received, leaving us in lurch," said Arya.

In the letter, the Chief Minister has been informed of the disputes between the Survey of India and the Private Surveyor, which has been assigned the job of preparing and providing layout plans.

"It is because of this rift that the MCD has not been provided with either soft or hard copies of the plan holding up the work. The MCD could not approve layout in the given circumstances," said Arya.

He added that we were also looking forward to receive replies in respect of 90 colonies. It was almost two and half months when we sent the layout plans of these colonies with our observation.

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4 cricket betting rackets busted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The crime branch of the Delhi police today claimed to have cracked four betting syndicates operating during yesterday's India-Australia cricket match and arrested 11 persons in this connection.

According to Ashok Chand, DCP (crime), the rackets were operating in Tri Nagar, Vishnu Garden, Budh Vihar and Palam Colony and the raids led to arrest of four property dealers among the total of 11 arrested persons.

"The total bets received by these four betting syndicates were around Rs 3.70 crore. Three laptops, 55 mobile phones, a data card, four TVs, four calculators and note books have been seized in the raids," said Chand.

Ajay Kumar (43), Prehlad Keshwani (38) and Ankur Kumar Bhutani (33) were apprehended from a raid at Tri Nagar while Bimal Kumar (47), Gaurav Sharma (26) and Sanjay Bakshi (36) were arrested from the Vishnu Garden area.

Another syndicate was smashed in Budh Vihar where Narender Kumar (41) and Suresh Kumar (41) were arrested while taking the bet on the match.

The fourth betting syndicate was cracked in Palam Colony with the arrest of Deepak Pundir (32), Ranjeet Singh Saini (30) and Sachin Gupta (24).

According to Chand, the interrogation of the accused has revealed that the rate of odds between the two teams originates from outside India and based on it the bets are taken during the match.

"After the match, the profit and the loss are calculated by specifically generated software known as Back N Lay Pro," Chand said.

Ever since the commencement of the cricket world cup, the crime branch has busted 12 betting syndicates till date.

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4 schoolgirls kidnapped in Mayur Vihar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
In a baffling incident reported from the Mayur Vihar area of east Delhi, four teenaged schoolgirls went missing yesterday after appearing in a school exam in the afternoon.

The Mayur Vihar police station has registered a case under Section 363 (kidnapping) of the IPC and is investigating the matter.

The girls, identified as Sweta (13), Anjali (14), Kajal (13) and Bhavana (14), are students of Class VIII at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya located in Pocket 4 of Mayur Vihar, Phase I. All four girls are residents of Trilokpuri and commute to school by rickshaw everyday.

"The girls had left their homes for school yesterday around 1 pm to appear for an exam. They left the campus together after the exam around 5.30 pm. They were last seen at Nilgiri Restaurnat located near the school. The waiter who served them confirmed this after seeing their photographs," revealed a police official.

Iinitially, a missing complaint was registered but when the girls did not return till late in the night, it was converted into a kidnapping case.

Four police teams have been deputed to investigate the matter.

The police has not ruled out a love angle. "It is very unlikely that someone kidnapped the four girls in one go. Possibly they were lured by somebody. It could be a love affair or some other reason and maybe the girls went on their own. We will find them soon," said the official.

However, the parents of all four girls have refuted allegations of any love affair involving their daughters. "My daughter was not involved in any affair with anyone. She is even hesitant to speak to strangers," said Rakesh Sood, father of Bhavana.

The shocked parents and guardians of the missing girls allege that they reported the matter to the police around 7 pm but they were told to search their girls on their own.

"Despite informing the police at the earliest, the policemen did not make any effort to launch a hunt for our girls. They first lodged a missing complaint and only later when we approached senior police officials was a kidnapping case registered," alleged Sanjay Kumar, a victim father.

O P Mishra, DCP (east), said the police has got some leads in the case and is investigating accordingly. 

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Man kills his 3-yr-old niece
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
Angry maternal uncle threw away his three-year-old niece after a fight with the child's mother, leading to her death in the Neb Sarai area of south Delhi.

According to the police, Victim Babita died at AIIMS Trauma Centre this morning while accused Ravi is absconding.

"Ravi's sister Poonam, along with her daughters, was living with him after leaving her husband's house for the past some time due to his drinking habit. Last evening, Poonam and Ravi had a fight over some petty issue wherein Ravi first beat Poonam and her elder daughter with stick and then threw Babita away who became unconscious," said a police official.

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DU girl robs landlord

New Delhi, March 25
A second-year student of Delhi University's Satyawati College has been arrested for stealing jewellery from her landlord's house while he and his family were away.

Savitri, 22, had moved to the first floor of Vijay Grover's house in the Avantika area of Rohini 15 days ago, said DCP Chhaya Sharma.

"We interrogated Savitri who confessed to crime. She used to visit the house of her landlord and knew about the jewellery being there," said Sharma.She was arrested and all the stolen jewellery recovered from her.

Pursuing BA, Savitri was married in 2010 but developed strained relations with her husband Deepak, who has filed for a divorce. - IANS

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Runaway criminal held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The special cell of the Delhi police today arrested Rehan, alias Gaonwala, a 'bad character' (BC) of the Chandni Mahal police station.

Rehan escaped from police custody on March 21 while being produced in the Tis Hazari courts. He is allegedly involved in 18 criminal cases like murder, attempt to murder, extortion, snatching, criminal intimidation, house trespassing and cases under the Arms Act.

According to the police, Rehan was arrested from near Rajghat with a 9 mm pistol and two cartridges.

According to Arun Kampani, DCP, Rehan is a notorious criminal of Walled City and has been extorting money from various builders and businessmen in the area for the past seven to eight years.

After his escape from Tis Hazari courts, he made several extortion calls to businessmen of Walled City. 

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454 fake pen drives seized
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
With the arrest of three persons, Connaught Place police station has unearthed a racket of a sale of counterfeit Kingston's pen drives at Palika Bazar.

Hundreds of fake pen drives were seized during the search operations.

According to KC Dwivedi, Additional Commissioner ), the raids were conducted after a complaint of Vimal Kak, an authorised representative of M/s Kingston Technology based in US against the sale of spurious pen drives of make Kingston at different parts of Delhi, including Palika Bazar.

"A raid was conducted and the police succeeded in nabbing the accused, Vinod Kumar, who was exhibiting fake Kingston pen drives for sale at his shop in Palika Bazar. Around 454 counterfeit products were seized from Palika Bazar," said Dwivedi. Amit Kumar and Tanuj Sharma have also been arrested.

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