Delhi: A scared city?


Marching orders to hawkers on Rajpath

Reasons For Decision

Security Concerns Besides Obstruction To The View Of India Gate

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

New Delhi: Ice-cream stalls, balloon-sellers, relaxed families and friends chilling out on lush green lawns — that was Rajpath till only a few days back. But the most scenic part of the capital is now devoid of its colour and hustle-bustle with Delhi police commissioner Y S Dadwal recently directing that no hawking activity be allowed along the stretch. The decision is aimed at preventing any obstruction to the view of India Gate besides security concerns.

Said Delhi Police PRO Rajan Bhagat: ‘‘The commissioner had given orders to keep Rajpath free of hawkers. But the three crossroads — Man Singh Road, Rafi Marg and Janpath — are open to them.’’ The cops, however, pointed that with NDMC carrying out some construction work at Rafi Marg, there might be restrictions on movement of hawkers along the stretch. The police said they will assist NDMC in removing hawkers from the Rajpath area.

Meanwhile, NDMC said it would comply with the police orders. Said NDMC spokesperson Anand Tiwari: ‘‘No specific space was assigned by NDMC to these hawkers. Now, if the police feels the hawkers should be removed from the area due to security reasons we will comply with the orders. As far as identifying vending sites are concerned, we are still in the process of doing that and a committee has been formed to look into this matter.’’

The traffic police has been instructed to clear all unauthorized parking at Rajpath with the intention of providing a clear path for tourists at India Gate. ‘‘We have started prosecuting vehicles parked on Rajpath as they obstruct the path of pedestrians walking towards India Gate. An alternative parking lot has been provided behind the water channels, which is located within walking distance,’’ said a senior traffic police official.
Said Tiwari: ‘‘We are yet to get an official intimation from the police over where parking would be allowed in the area.’’
‘‘It was felt that with the Hockey World Cup being hosted near India Gate, a lot of tourists are expected to visit the monument. For this, the need to clear up Rajpath was felt for traffic and security reasons,’’ said a traffic official. .

Said Nina Singh, a DU student: ‘‘I have so many childhood memories of going for picnics with my family to Rajpath. And even today most of us head there for an icecream. The place will not have the same charm anymore with ice-cream vans removed from the area.’’

NOT FAR AWAY: Hawkers will still be allowed on Man Singh Road, Rafi Marg and Janpath intersections

Good Samaritans (some) of Bangalore Recognised


They make this city what it is

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Bangalore: Under the moonlit sky sprinkled with a few stars, the city’s real stars were honoured on Saturday.
The first Namma Bengaluru Awards were conferred on change makers at the Bangalore Palace. The 14 awardees, chosen from a final list of 26 nominees, were from diverse fields. The crowd’s favourite was Mahadeva, who cremates unclaimed bodies with all rituals.

Governor H R Bhardwaj said: “I am happy to see the efficiency of police. They are doing a commendable job and I have full trust in them.” He also applauded BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena’s work in improving the city and asked the public to cooperate.

Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa said others must emulate the awardees.
“I am happy because mine is a simple service. Earlier, I was catering to people who had relatives, but now I also look at those who have nobody to fall back on,” Sister Adelekorah said.

“This award will give us more exposure. We aim to spread the sustainable model across the country,” Ramamurthy of Sikshana Bangalore said.

Here’s a brief profile of the winners:

ASHIS K CHAND


Ashis has imparted quality healthcare in remote areas, assisted school drop-outs, and also helps develop schools. More than 1,500 spinal injury cases, 1,000 critical brain-stroke patients and over 10,000 neuro-surgical procedures in rural Karnataka have taken place under his guidance.

DR SUDARSHAN BALLAL
Ballal is director and chairman of Manipal Health Systems. The hospital provides worldclass treatment at affordable rates. He provides selfless service and heals poor patients for free.

MAHADEVA
He is responsible for taking care of bodies that are not claimed. So far, he has cremated more than 42,000 bodies. Mahadeva ensures all rituals are performed.

SANKARA EYE HOSPITAL, BANGALORE
This super-specialty eye hospital initiated Nanna Kannu programme for preventive and curative eye-care for children from economically weak sections. It’s also associated with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan and NRHM to create awareness.
SISTER ADELEKORAH
Once a principal, she provides counselling to prisoners of the central jail and admits their children to a residential school. She uplifts the spirit of inmates and helps in rehabilitating those who are released.
VATSALA PRABHU
She founded Vanita Seva Mandir School and is also founder of Ashadeep, which provides education to children who are mentally challenged.
RAIN WATER CLUB
Vishwanath (heads the club) has organized many camps to educate students about rainwater harvesting, recharging groundwater, reuse of water, etc.
SIKSHANA BANGALORE
It is the largest intervention for nurturing government schools. They adopt, empower and improve schools. Modern methods are used to train teachers. They provide technology inputs like PCs and multimedia content. Sikshana also runs the largest non-government scholarship programme in the state.

BELAKU TRUST
It has a free old-age home for women and an orphanage-cum-school. They initially started as a research organization for women’s and children’s health and nutrition. The objectives are to promote village-level health, research on healthcare practices and disseminate findings of research to appropriate policymaking authorities.

SPARSH VACHANA
It is a voluntary organization providing free cutting-edge treatment to children requiring orthopaedic intervention to lead normal lives. Over 200 surgeries have been conducted.

SOMASHEKHAR
This head constable from Nandini Layout helped nab culprits of a triple murder though the case wasn’t from his jurisdiction, showing extreme responsiveness and dedication.

KRISHNA PRAKASH T

He is a fingerprint expert in the commissioner’s office. With his assistance and focus, Bangalore police have been able to solve more than 265 cases. He has the distinction of having solved the highest number of cases in 2008. Krishna has earlier been awarded the CM’s medal for his performance.

BBMP ZERO GARBAGE
The pilot project was introduced in Gandhinagar. The concept demands immense responsibility and the BBMP has been successful in living up to it, leading to replication of the idea in other areas. The initiative was started in early 2009.
GOVT HIGH SCHOOL, KADABAGERE
For 23 years, this government school has excelled in terms of stressing on importance of socio-cultural activities and in creating awareness among children. The school has also been successful in imparting quality education, and not compromising on its core focus.

PUBLIC CHOICE
As part of the Namma Bengaluru Awards, the public was asked to send in nominations, and around 4,000 were received. A 14-member jury chaired by MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar and comprising prominent citizens including Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde, short-listed 26 finalists under four categories. From this list, 14 were selected as winners.

HAPPY HOLI 2010


HAPPY HOLI TO ALL

PURNIMA ka CHAND

RANGO ki doli,

CHAND se uski chandni boli,

KHUSHIYON se bhar jaye aapki jholi,

MUHBARK ho aapko

!RANG BIRANGI! ***HOLI***

Says Mr Watwani


Andher Nagari: Delhi Roads are Most Dangerous


Extracts from TOI and others

Capital shame

T HAT the national capital has come out as the most dangerous city in India as far as pedestrians are concerned will not surprise its residents.

A National Crime Records Bureau report says as many as 589 pedestrians were crushed to death on Delhi’s roads in 2008. In all, pedestrian deaths accounted for nearly 30 per cent of road casualties in Delhi, a rate four times the national average of 8.7 per cent.

This is a matter of shame for the national capital which should be setting standards for other cities in India to follow. And while there is no denying that the staggering number of vehicles on Delhi’s roads — nearly 4.5 million in March 2008, more than the figure for Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai put together — is partly responsible, the role of infringement of traffic regulations, rash and drunken driving and the step- motherly treatment meted out to pedestrians cannot be played down either.

For, let’s accept it: the pedestrian is a rather lowly creature on Delhi’s roads.

Cities in developed countries may set aside pathways for safe walking but Delhi’s roads— broad in comparison to our other metros— make no such provision.

Even the zebra crossings don’t function, with drivers refusing to grant pedestrians the right of way. There are few, if any, signaled pedestrian crossovers. Footpaths which pedestrians can use are often encroached upon by vehicles and vendors.

There aren’t enough foot overbridges and subways. In any case, the subways, being unsafe and unclean, are not used by most people, especially women.

What is needed is better infrastructure for pedestrians, tighter regulation of traffic and public awareness about the need for road safety.

Man rides into 9inch-deep pothole, fractures hands

Stuti Agarwal | TNN


New Delhi: In yet another incident that points to persistent callousness on the part of civic agencies, a 57-year-old man had both his hands fractured as the two-wheeler he was riding tumbled over a 9inch-deep pothole on the Shakarpur Master Block road in east Delhi.

The accident took place around 11.35pm on Saturday in front of Agarwal Dharamshala in Vyast Guru Angad Nagar when J P Sharma, manager of Riverside Club in Mayur Vihar I, was returning to his Laxmi Nagar residence after work.

Locals say in the absence of any repair of the large number of potholes dotting the stretch, such accidents have become common these days. According to Sharma, he fell on the road and couldn’t even move to a side as a result of the injuries. ‘‘I was lying in the middle of the road and saw an Innova speeding towards me.

Fortunately, the driver noticed me and stopped the car before running me over,’’ said Sharma, who suffered two fractures in his right hand, a minor one in his left hand besides getting bruises on his knees.

A few people from the nearby dharamshala offered help by taking him inside and informed his family. Sharma’s youngest son, Vishal (33), rushed to the dharamshala and carried him to a private clinic where he was given painkillers. The next day morning Sharma was taken for an x-ray. His left-hand injuries are reportedly serious and will take over a month to heal as Sharma already has had an iron rod fitted in the hand since he met with an accident two years back.

‘‘I am well aware of those potholes as I take that route every day. But somehow I did not notice this one in time. Now I am fully dependent on my wife and can’t even take the medicines myself,’’ he said.

The road comes under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. When contacted, the agency’s PRO, Deep Mathur said, ‘‘We are not aware of any such incident, so we cannot comment on it.’’

Curiously, the 9inch-deep pothole was filled with loose mud just two days after Sharma’s accident.
While construction material for repair of the road is lying at the site, no work has yet begun. Sharma, who is also the president of Bhartiya Brahman Manch, Delhi, believes the accident happened because of ‘‘the negligence of the contractor’’.
toireporter@timesgroup.com

IN BAD SHAPE: J P Sharma (top) was injured when his scooter fell into one of the many potholes on Shakarpur Master Block road

Madras High Court: Remove CMs photos


Lawyers want CM’s photo removed from court halls

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Madurai: Nearly 50 lawyers of the Madurai bench of the Madras high court have submitted a petition to Chief Justice HL Gokhale demanding that the state government calendars with photographs of chief minister M Karunanidhi be removed immediately from the court halls.

Speaking to The Times Of India, S Rathinam, advocate and social activist who is leading the campaign, said calendars with political personalities imprinted on them was a violation of Article 50 of the Constitution, which mandates that the state should take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive and should be removed from the court halls.

Only then can the judiciary maintain its independence, he said.

The lawyers, from Madurai and Chennai, had met the chief justice on February 3 and submitted the petition. They urged the chief justice to replace the calendars with a new set without any political affiliation or colour so that the faith of the common man in the judiciary is restored. A copy of the petition was also submitted to the chief secretary.

In a petition last year, Rathinam and over 150 other lawyers from various parts of the state, including Madurai, Chennai, Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Karur and Erode, had demanded that the portrait of BR Ambedkar be placed in all the court halls and that his statue be installed in the Madurai bench.
timeschennai@timesgroup.com

Mumbai Forest Land Case: Some Hope?


CM takes up forest land case

Somit Sen I TNN

Mumbai: Chief minister  Ashok Chavan has assured petitioners in a forest land case that he would take up the matter of those who paid Net Price Value (NPV) as per Supreme Court orders and pursue it with the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) for regularisation.

The apex court had recently passed an order, directing those affected in Mulund and Nahur to pay the NPV as per recommendations of the Central Empowered Committee.

Petitioner Prakash Padikkal, who met Chavan on Thursday, said about 395 societies/individual complexes in the area would benefit from the order.

Kerala: CITU men assault Kerala dalit woman auto driver


Red roadblock for Dalit auto driver

By Preetha Nair in New Delhi

CITU men assault Kerala woman to force her to quit means of livelihood

A DALIT woman who dared to drive an autorickshaw for a living is allegedly facing the brunt of Left goondaism in Kerala’s Payyannur district.

Chitralekha, 34, alleged Centre of Indian Trade Unions ( CITU) — the powerful Left trade union wing of the CPM — wants her to leave the profession, considered a male bastion.

The woman said she and her husband have been beaten up by CPM party cadre and the police several times. Her autorickshaw, the only means of her livelihood, was also burnt by them.

Despite Kerala- based women’s groups joining hands to buy her a new autorickshaw, she lives under constant death threats and has to put up with casteist taunts.

On January 20, Chitralekha and her husband Sreeshkanth — who’s unemployed — were allegedly brutally attacked by CPM men for parking their auto in front of a medical shop, where they had gone to buy medicine for their son.

What ensued was an exhibition of the CPM-police nexus. “When I refused to remove my auto, a local union leader and some other people beat us up. The By Preetha Nair in New Delhi police reached the spot and took us to the station. We were severely beaten up by them and kept in the lockup till evening,” said Chitralekha.

The police also slapped a case against Chitralekha and Sreeshkanth, claiming he was in an inebriated condition. “I am scared to work now. They might even kill me and nobody will question them,” she said. P.P. Damodaran, CPM area secretary, put the blame on Chitralekha and said she “doesn’t behave like a woman”. “Why are such incidents happening only to her? This means something is wrong with her. She doesn’t follow any societal rules and is a headache for us,” he said. Brinda Karat, CPM politburo member, declined to comment as she “wasn’t aware of the issue”.

Kozhikode-based women’s group, Anweshi, visited the couple after the incident. “They had bruises all over their bodies. The police have no right to beat them up even if the man was drunk. It’s a perfect example of the CPMpolice nexus. Chitralekha has the right to earn her livelihood, but local politicians won’t let her,” said K. Ajita, president of Anweshi.

Chitralekha’s nightmare began in 2004 when she got an autorickshaw under Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana. On her first day at work, she was taunted by an allmale group of non- Dalit, CITUaffiliated drivers who heaped casteist abuses against her.

It was only after three months and many petitions to CITU leaders that she managed to get permission to park in the auto stand.

Her vehicle’s hood was ripped apart by fellow drivers but she was only ridiculed by the union when she sought help. “ I filed a complaint, but this led to more trouble.

I was dragged out of my vehicle and an auto was run over my feet. I didn’t go to the police as I knew it was of no use,” she said.

“ My colleagues then resorted to character assassination and said

I was a prostitute. But I learnt to ignore their barbs because for me, it’s a question of sustenance.” But Chitralekha’s auto was burnt by fellow drivers in 2005. No action was taken against the accused, but it was the beginning of a harrowing ordeal for Chitralekha and her family who began receiving death threats. The goons wanted her to withdraw the case. Finally, Chitralekha and her husband had to flee Payyannur and remain in exile for two years.

A civil society group intervened and started collecting money to bring them back. “ We started rehabilitation work for Chitralekha and collected money to buy an auto for her,” said Jenny Rowena, an activist and lecturer in Delhi University.

K. M. Venugopal, human rights activist, said: “ It is a clear case of gender and caste politics. The CPM won’t let people live if they don’t toe their line.” Chitralekha’s case may be one among the many that dot CPM’s opportunistic casteist politics. It also brings to the fore the devilish underbelly of God’s own country.