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Tihar Jail to have its own cricket team

Dressed in white, soaking in tips from a former Indian cricket Test player and qualified coach, he practices for hours honing his batting and bowling skills. In his leisure hours, he intently watches the ICC Cricket World Cup that is underway. Abhishek Sharan reports.
Hindustan Times | By Abhishek Sharan, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2011 10:27 PM IST

Dressed in white, soaking in tips from a former Indian cricket Test player and qualified coach, he practices for hours honing his batting and bowling skills. In his leisure hours, he intently watches the ICC Cricket World Cup that is underway.

Santosh Kumar Singh might seem like a usual cricket trainee but for the setting. Convicted for life for the rape and murder of Delhi University (DU) law student Priyadarshini Mattoo last October by the Supreme Court, Singh, along with 103 other fellow inmates of the Tihar Jail, trains at a ground located at sub-jail number one. The 104 inmates are vying for a place in the jail’s first-ever, proposed official cricket team, the Tihar Eleven.

The Tihar Eleven cricket team, a recent initiative of the jail authorities, is being given shape by short-listing “cricketing talents” under the supervision of former Test player Rajinder Pal, according to the jail’s spokesperson Sunil Gupta.

“Our proposed team, the Tihar Eleven, will be ready in a few weeks from now and we have taken the help of renowned coach and former Test player Rajinder Pal, through the NGO Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan, to turn them into worthy players,” said Gupta.

The jail’s authorities are hoping to tap into the pulsating enthusiasm among the inmates for the World Cup. At the barracks and the common rooms across the sub-jails, inmates huddle around television sets when the matches are underway.

Pal, a former fast bowler “who had given bowling tips to former India captain Kapil Dev”, has selected the group of 104 players/inmates who will eventually form the nucleus for the Tihar Eleven, said Gupta.

From Monday, three other accredited cricket coaches will assist in fine-tuning the players’ skills along with Pal.

The group of 104 players includes convicts as well as under-trials. “We have already provided five sets of cricket gears and uniforms to the sub-jails. The funds for this purpose are being sourced from the Prisoners’ Welfare Fund,” said Gupta.

“We want to utilise the tremendous interest that cricket evokes among the inmates here to build our own cricket team, which will give them an opportunity to focus their mind and efforts in a positive manner,” said another jail official who is involved in the preparations.

Once selected to the proposed team, the players would get a chance to play in inter-jail tournaments and even corporate tournaments, said another jail official who is involved in the preparations. “A place in the Tihar Eleven team might ensure a job or a seat in a college/university as well,” said Gupta.


Warm Sunday for Delhiites

Press Trust of India

New Delhi

Delhiites enjoyed a relatively warm and pleasant Sunday with the sun shining brightly and day temperature moving up by several degrees.

The maximum temperature was recorded at 27.2°Celsius, 4.7 degrees more than Saturday’s high of 22.5°C and one degree below normal for this time of the season. The minimum temperature also rose to 13°C against Saturday’s 11.9°C, the Met department said. The minimum temperature was normal for this time of the year. The early hours saw a thin layer of fog enveloping some parts of the Capital.

The sky was mainly clear today and the sun shone brightly. The weatherman has forecast mist or shallow fog in the morning tomorrow while the temperatures are expected to be between 14°C and 27°C.

The city witnessed the season’s warmest day on February 5 when the mercury had settled at a maximum of 29.8°C.

According to the weather office, the mean temperature for the month of March is 15.4°C (minimum) and 30°C (maximum). In the last 11 years, the minimum had dropped below only in 2001 and 2003.


Security tightened for today’s match

Press Trust of India

New Delhi

Delhi Police has made elaborate security and traffic arrangements for the World Cup cricket match between Canada and Kenya here on Monday at Ferozeshah Kotla ground where armed security personnel are keeping a tight vigil.

Over 1,000 police personnel led by five deputy commissioners of police have been deployed in and around the stadium in central Delhi.

The police had earlier conducted several mock drills at the stadium to check the preparedness of security agencies in case of any eventualities like terror strike or any disaster, a senior police official said.

“We have made all arrangements and put in place all the safety measures to avoid any untoward incident. The disaster management team is also here,” the official said.

Police have also made elaborate traffic arrangements to ensure that there is minimum inconvenience to commuters.

No parking will be allowed for general vehicles in proximity to the stadium tomorrow. For spectators, park and ride facility has been created at Mata Sundari Parking and Shanti Van Parking. Spectators can also walk down to the stadium.

“There will be very limited parking facilities for labelled vehicles in the proximity of the stadium and no parking will be allowed for general vehicles,” the official said.

No vehicle will be allowed to park on both the carriageways of Bahadurshah Zafar Marg and Jawaharlal Nehru Marg on the match days and vehicles parked on these roads will be towed away and action taken as per law, he said.

Though no diversion has been planned for BSZ Marg or JLN Marg, the official said, the general public is advised to avoid some roads from 12pm to 3.30pm and 9.30pm to 11.30pm.

The stretches are Rajghat to JLN Marg, from Kamla Market to Raj Ghat, Asaf Ali Road from Turkman Gate to Delhi Gate and BSZ Marg from Ram Charan Agarwal Chowk to Delhi Gate.

Spectators cannot bring electronic items like laptop, camera or video camera, transistor, digital diary, remote controlled car-keys, eatables, food packets, water bottles, cigarette lighter, match boxes, knives and arms.


Special children, normal needs

Joyeeta Ghosh

New Delhi

Raunak Singhal, 16, won three medals, one each of gold, silver and bronze in walking and ball throw events but was least bothered to receive them. He was instead eyeing the green and yellow packets of chips, which were to be distributed after the medal giving ceremony. “He is not abnormal, just different. He did not want the medals around his neck, it makes him uncomfortable,” said Pinky Singhal, his mother.

Singhal who suffers from cerebral palsy and 30 other students who suffer from autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and other related disorders participated in a sports event organised by Protection of the Rights of Differently Abled Children (PORDAC), an NGO, on Sunday.

A group of 40 parents are part of PORDAC, which was set up in November 2009 and is seeking to redefine inclusive education in schools. “It all started when eight schools rejected my son Auronyo who suffers from autism,” said Manjir Gupta, president of PORDAC.

What PORDAC is seeking to do is conduct detailed assessment for each child registered with the organisation and identify their interest areas to help them integrate with other normal children.

As a first step, it will begin a learning centre at the JD Tytler School in Munirka with 15 children between the age of 8-14 years from March 22. Special education, language therapy, occupational therapy, dance/ drama therapy, vocational training and physiotherapy are some of the facilities that will be provided at this centre.


Nursery admission guidelines don’t categorise kids: Centre

Harish V Nair

New Delhi

Challenging a PIL seeking quashing of the present nursery admission rules, the Centre has denied before the Delhi High Court that the guidelines followed by Delhi schools for admission this year eventually categorised kids and said the guidelinesconformed to the Right to Education Act (RTE).

The Centre’s affidavit in the court has come at a time when there is rampant criticism about the new rules giving enough leeway to schools to come out with their own admission policies.

“The decision to allow schools to develop categories on the basis of their objectives and follow a system of random selection within or outside the categories is consistent with the provisions of section 13(1) of the RTE Act,” the affidavit said.

The Centre refuted that the HRD ministry had consulted various educationists, academics, NGOs, civil society organisations and education secretaries of various states for suggestions to implement the RTE Act. The court will take up the Centre’s affidavit on March 8.

The PIL was filed by the civil rights group Social Jurist, challenging the validity of government notifications (Centre's November 2010 and GNCT Delhi’s December 2010). It was this NGO on whose petition the high court had banned schools from conducting interviews of children and parents in 2006.

“It is based on categorisation of children. The guidelines will lead to further commercialisation of education at the cost of hapless parents/students,” the PIL alleged. According to the NGO’s lawyer Ashok Agarwal, the policy has ignored a high court-appointed committee's recommendations in 2006.

The committee headed by the CBSE chairman Ashok Ganguly had called for transparency, elimination of interviews and minimising management’s discretion to evolve a common admission process, Agarwal added.

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