Tuesday, August 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Army given charge of water, power supply lines
MC, UT employees’ stir today 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 — With a section of UT employees and Municipal Corporation employees gearing to go on a day-long strike on Tuesday, vital points like all major water supply stations have been handed over to the Army for technical operations while additional linemen have been posted for patrolling along power lines to keep power supply operational.

On the water supply front, the water works in Sectors 26, 32, 39 37, 12 and Mani Majra were taken over by the Corps of Engineers this evening. This was done to familiarise the armymen with the system before the strike by employees started at midnight tonight.

A total of 200 armymen under the command of Major Manoj Mehta arrived at various vital places designated by the Chandigarh Administration and understood their task of keeping the supply running. The Municipal Corporation has kept ready 25 tankers for emergency purposes. In addition to this, 10 tankers each that are available with the public health and the horticulture wing , respectively, have been requisitioned. Drivers from the Army , CTU and Fire wing have been put on duty to ensure supply at all times.

To operate the 25 tubewells in the city, services of private parties have been sought. At the water works, two SDOs and an Executive Engineer (XEN) will be manning each of the water work systems personally. At the biggest water works in Sector 39, three SDOs and two XENs have been posted.

Pumping of water from Kajuali headworks will not stop as Phase I and II are with the Punjab Government, while the third phase is handled by a private agency of the MC, a press release issued by the Chandigarh Administration said tonight. On the electricity front linemen, have been posted to patrol the lines. Besides, arrangements have been made to ensure that regular supply is maintained.

The power department will be using senior persons to man and supervise the substations. Besides, the MC has asked city residents to store water as supply is likely to be affected from Tuesday morning till Wednesday evening. For emergency purposes the MC has asked people to call following numbers 781156, 691882, 603205, 713727 .

Late tonight a press release issued by the employees said that they were going on strike to press for their demands, which included the shifting of government employees to the corporation. The coordination committee of government and MC employees and workers said that a meeting with the Administration on August 24 had not brought about results. The Administration had agreed in principle to accept all demands but the implementation was lagging, it was mentioned . Back



MCC to change 54,636 defective water meters
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 — Over 54,000 water meters, which had been lying defective for years together, will soon be replaced by the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh.

The Public Health wing of the corporation has identified 54,636 defective water meters, following a sector-wise survey. These meters will be replaced by corporation staff and private agencies by year-end, sources said.

The corporation would soon be inviting tenders for the replacement of water meters in the three subdivisions of the city, sources said, adding that the work might be entrusted to three different agencies so that it could be completed fast. Private agencies were being involved as the existing corporation staff would not be able to replace more than 10,000 meters.

Once the defective meters were replaced, the fund-starved corporation would stand to gain substantially as consumers with defective meters were billed on an average basis which was far less than the amount of the actual water charges. And with the MCC effecting a massive hike in the water tariff recently, the increase in the amount earned by way of accurate water billings could be substantial, the sources highlighted.

According to information available, Subdivision No. 6, comprising Sectors 1 to 6, 10 to 16, 23 to 25 and 35 to 43 had the largest number of defective water meters with 20,952 meters being "faulty". Similarly, there are 13,200 faulty meters in Subdivision No. 5, comprising Sectors 31 to 34, 44 to 47 and the Industrial Area, Phase II. Mani Majra alone has 5,189 defective water meters.

Subdivision No. 4, which has areas that include Sectors 17 to 19, 27 to 30, the Industrial Area, Phase 1, and Mauli Jagran, has 15,295 faulty meters. Private agencies and civic body staff would only test and install water meters since it was the responsibility of the consumers to buy meters, following changes in the water supply byelaws. The consumers will have to buy ISI-marked water meters and pay replacement and testing charges.


3 Punwire officials tracked, arrested
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Aug 28 — Special teams constituted by the Ropar police to arrest the employees of Punjab Wireless Systems Limited (Punwire) wanted in different cases of cheating and misappropriation of funds of the company to the tune of crore of rupees, yielded results when three of the suspects were arrested from different places in the country. A total of 14 persons are wanted by the police in 19 different cases.

Giving information about the arrests, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (City), Mr S.S. Gill, said N.K. Rawal, who was working as Manager (Materials) with Punwire, was arrested by a team headed by SI Gurcharan Singh from Gurgaon. He was working as a Vice-President with a Gurgoan-based private firm, Fibcom, before his arrest. He was allegedly involved in misappropriation of the company's funds to the tune of Rs 5 crore.

Another suspect, Shiv Kumar (cashier), who was wanted in two cases, has been arrested from Jagadhri by a team headed by the SHO, Nayagoan, Gurmeet Singh and ASI Harmesh Kumar. An Assistant Accounts Officer with Punwire, Jagmohan Sharma, whose arrest had been stayed till September 1 by a court, has joined investigations with the police. Mr Gill said of the total 14 officials of Punwire wanted by the police, seven had been either arrested or granted bail by a court. The police teams were hopeful of arresting R.K. Gupta and Nidhi Verma, who had held senior positions in Punwire.

Mr Gill said to ensure that none of other suspects escaped from the country, their pictures along with information about them had been flashed to the airport authorities concerned. Efforts were also being made to get the Managing Director of Punwire, Mr Gurpal Singh, one of the main suspects in the cases, deported from the USA. The Managing Director reportedly fled to the USA when the company was in financial quagmire. He along with Ved Parkash, Executive Director, were declared proclaimed offenders (POs) on August.

The arrests have been made possible due to a concerted drive launched by a special team constituted on the directives of the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mr G.P.S. Bhullar. The team comprises the Superintendent of Police (Detective), Mr J.S. Khalon, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr S.S. Gill, the Station House Officers (SHOs) of Phase 1 police station and the Central police station, who were conducting raids on the possible hideouts of the suspects.

Mr Roshan Kak Chauhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today remanded GM (Materials) N.K.Rawal and Shiv Kumar (cashier) in police custody till August 30.


Petrol dealers go on strike
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 — Private sector petrol stations in the city will go on an indefinite strike from midnight tonight in protest against the hike in local tax and other levies which had made petrol costlier by Rs 1.63 and 98 paise per litre compared to the prevailing prices in the adjoining Haryana and Punjab, respectively. At present petrol is the costliest in Chandigarh.

This was announced today by the Chandigarh Petroleum Dealers Association whose members run 33 out of 39 filling stations in the city. The remaining six are run by oil companies themselves and they will continue to operate and dispense petrol and diesel.

Association President Arjan Singh told mediapersons here that the so-called uniform sales tax policy of the Union Government had been completely defeated because neither Punjab nor Haryana had raised taxes on petrol. He claimed that 4 per cent central sales tax had been levied by Haryana on supplies from bulk depot in Ambala to ferry it to Chandigarh only.

Mr Arjan Singh said that repeated requests for compensation had fallen on deaf ears of the Chandigarh Administration which had imposed flat 20 per cent taxes. He pointed out that during the past one year, the Administration had gradually and steadily taxed the people here so much that a single litre of petrol now costs Rs 5.13 more compared to 15 paise in July last year.

He also claimed that 15 paise motor spirit tax was peculiar to Chandigarh only and so the 2 per cent surcharge on sales tax, which were neither levied in Haryana nor in Punjab.

According to the association the sale of petrol at private filling stations had dipped by 40 per cent because the prices of petrol in neighbouring Panchkula and SAS Nagar was much cheaper.

The association president demanded withdrawal of all the improper levies to bring the price of petrol at level with those prevailing in the adjoining states. He also demanded that the oil companies should open depots in Chandigarh to avoid the levy of 4 per cent CST. When asked about the duration of the strike, the association said that it would be reviewing its decision on daily basis. A delegation of the association today met the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, as well as senior members of the oil companies.Back


Polling in 5 sensitive wards today
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Aug 28 — In wake of tomorrow’s poll in the four reserved wards of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council, the local administration has declared all the five polling stations as either very sensitive or sensitive. The polling will be held at 10 booths spread in five polling stations.

According to the information available, at least 60 police personnel have been deputed to ensure law and order. An additional 100 police personnel would be kept ready for any eventuality, said the Deputy Superintendent of Police ( City), Mr S.S. Gill.

The very sensitive polling booths are Paragoan School, Sector 71, Government Primary School, Phase 7, and Government Primary School, Guru Nanak Colony, Phase 10. The sensitive booths are Government Primary School, Sahi Majra and Government Primary School, Mohali village. At least six personnel would be permanently stationed at each polling booth.

The Station House Officers (SHOs) of the Phase 1 police station, Phase 8 police station, Nayagaon police station and Sohana police station had been made in charge of each of the four wards. The Superintendent of Police (Operation), Ropar, Mr Gurmeet Singh, and the Deputy Superintendent of Police (HQ), Ropar, Mr S.S. Uppal, would be at Ropar to monitor the situation.

Holiday today: The Punjab Government has declared August 29 as a holiday in all the government, semi-government, board and corporations, educational institutions, financial institutions, boards and corporations and educational institutions falling within the limits of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council in the wake of tomorrow’s poll to the civic body.

The Department of Labour and Employment, Punjab, has also declared tomorrow as a ‘closed day’ for all shops and commercial establishments located in the jurisdiction of the civic body.

For those residing in SAS Nagar and working in Chandigarh, a special casual leave for tomorrow has been allowed, according to a communiqué issued by the Chief Secretary of Punjab.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, has ordered that all the liquor vends within the limits of ward Nos. 1, 14, 17 and 20 will remain closed. Under Section 54 of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, neither storage or serving of liquor will be permitted at restaurants, liquor vends and hotels. 


Fewer PU Senate poll centres
Voters to travel long distances in HP, Haryana
By Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 — The reduction in the number of polling stations in Haryana, Himachal and Delhi for the Senate elections of Panjab University is likely to cause  inconvenience to a large number of voters belonging to these areas. The decision to have polling stations only at the Headquarters of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana was taken at the Syndicate meeting of August 4 and relates to the election of ordinary fellows by the heads of the affiliated colleges, professors, senior lecturers of affiliated arts colleges and registered graduates of Panjab University.

The number of centres in Haryana have been reduced from 42 to 19, in Himachal Pradesh from 16 to 10 and in Delhi from nine  to six. In spite of the fact that  the number of voters has gone up from almost 1,42,000  in 1996 to more than 1,60,000 this year, the centres have been reduced from 274 to 255.    

Those who will be  affected by this will be the voters from Baijnath, Dharamshala, Kot Khai, Nurpur, Palampur, Sudernagar in  Himachal as they will now have to travel  to the nearest district headquarters to cast their vote. Similarly, in Haryana, the voters from Naraingarh, Charkhi Dadri, Ballabhgarh, Palwal, Hansi, Tohana, Narwana, Safidon, Pundri, Siwan, Ladwa, Pehowa, Shahbad Markanda, Thanesar, Narnaul, Bahadurgarh, Sohana, Jagadhri, Sadhaura will be travelling to the nearest district headquarters to vote.  The voters from Kalka and Pinjore will go to  Panchkula to cast their vote.

The  reason  for this reduction being given by the authorities is that the number of voters from these areas is very small and it will be more economical to cut down the number of polling centres. What is noteworthy is the fact that the although the number of centres has been reduced, the number of polling booths has gone down only by 19. Now since the number of voters will increase at the headquarter centres, the number of polling booths have been increased  at these places. This shift will thus make not any substantial difference to the total expenditure of the university on these elections, which goes up to 40 lakhs.    

The number of voters in Haryana is more than 22000.  And at Panchkula alone this year almost 4500 voters will vote at four centres.  Similarly, at a single centre of Delhi more than 1700 voters will flock for voting. Though the number of voters in Himachal is not more than 3000, travelling in  the hills is considered an ordeal and  a reduction in the number of centres is likely to cause  inconvenience to the voters here.

Since no change has been made in the number of polling stations in Punjab, some of the candidates who have vote banks in Haryana and Himachal have also complained to the Panjab University Registrar about the same.Back


Shahabad-Panchkula transmission line inaugurated
Tribune News Service

MADANPUR (Panchkula), Aug 28 — The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, today warned the electricity staff to work honestly or he might be compelled to take action against them.

Mr Chautala, who was speaking at the inauguration of the 220-kv Shahabad-Panchkula power transmission line, said earlier, the Police Department was considered to be the most corrupt. But now people complained that work in the power department could not be done unless one greased the palms of the concerned officials.

He pointed out to the Chairperson of Power Utilities, Mrs Meenaxi Anand Chaudhary, that he had received various complaints against releasing power connections for tubewells under the Tatkal scheme. The power staff demanded money, in addition to the official charges.

He said if the power staff did not improve themselves, he would be compelled to take action against them. If the staff worked honestly he said not only would the government reward them but they would also earn the respect of the people.

Praising Mrs Chaudhary profusely he said, “She works at the speed of electricity” Mr Chautala said during the Lok Sabha elections last year, people were angry at the bad power situation in the state. They however, voted for the INLD-BJP combine, because they were perhaps sick of the “misrule” of Mr Bansi Lal. But the power situation now was comfortable, which would ease further as the third unit of the Faridabad gas-based power plant started operations today. The sixth unit of the Panipat plant would also be commissioned in December next.

Since the rising consumption of electricity was a sign of the state’s development, Mr Chautala said he wished that the demand for power would further go up. Efforts were on to set up more power plants.

He had held a number of meetings with his counterparts in Punjab and Himachal on the issue of exploiting the hydel potential of Himachal. The three Chief Ministers had then urged the Prime Minister to nationalise river waters on the pattern of natural minerals, so that their hydel potential could be exploited. The states did not have the requisite funds to do so.

Mr Chautala said, power utilities had ensured round-the-clock power supply in Gurgaon to encourage the information technology industry. But since Haryana was free from pollution, an essential requirement for the IT industry the same could be set up in Morni also. Therefore, the power utilities sector faced a challenge in providing round-the-clock power supply to the state.

He asked for a special power line, to be erected for the Raipur Rani area also.

Speaking on the occasion Mrs Chaudhary said, work on the new transmission line had been pending for the past 10 years. Over one lakh consumers of Panchkula, Morni, Naraingarh, Barwala, Raipur Rani, and 526 towns and villages of Sadhaura and Brara blocks would be benefited by the Rs 20 crore 67-km transmission line. Dependence on Himachal would also go.

Among others who spoke were Mr Samir Mathur, Managing Director of the HVPN, and Mr M.P. Gupta, Director of the HVPN.


Presidential form of government favoured
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 — States should look towards India as one unit of which they form an integral part, said Mr Hari Jaisingh, Editor, The Tribune, while expressing his concern over the deteriorating standard of public men and political institutions in the country.

Delivering the valedictory address at the two-day seminar on “Indian Constitution: A Review”, organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, here, Mr Hari Jaisingh said that personally he was in favour of the presidential form of government as the present political system was unable to deliver the goods.

He called upon the participants to prepare a model Constitution for the country keeping in view the needs of the present day society. He was also critical of the three wings of the government. Earlier, Prof M.P. Singh suggested electoral reforms at three levels to ensure conduct of free and fair elections, maintaining that party building was a vital link between the government and the people. He wanted that fragmentation of political parties should be stopped and recommended adoption of the French model of federal parliamentary system.

Dr S.S. Tiwana was critical of the Union Government’s interference in State subjects and argued for more autonomy for States. Mr Devendra Nath Pal, Dr S.L. Kaushik, Dr S.C. Arora, Prof Ranbir Sharma, Dr R.S. Sharma, Prof Hoshiar Singh, Prof R.N. Pal, Dr M.L. Sharma, Dr (Mrs) Sharma and Dr Jai Narain were the main participants.

During the second session on the penultimate day, Dr V.P. Dubey, said that Constitution being a sacred document, should be amended with caution and care. Dr S.R. Haldar supported presidential form of government.

Dr Vidya Bhushan Gupta held that Constitution was basically lifeline of the nation.

Dr A.D. Mishra wanted that political parties should be made accountable, and wanted that the nexus among the mafia, criminals and politicians should be exposed.

During the third session, which was chaired by Prof N.K. Sharda, functioning of political parties and working of political system came up for discussion.

Dr (Mrs) Sadhna Sharma, Dr Ravi Bhatia, Dr R.S. Ghuman and Dr R.K. Gupta were the main speakers during the session. Those who participated in discussions included Dr R.N. Pal, Dr M.L. Sharma, Mr Devendra Nath Pal, Mr Jitendra Prasad, Prof Ranbir Sharma, Dr N.K. Sharda, Dr Suneel Gupta, Dr Ashwani Kaushal and Dr Paramjeet Kaur Gill.


Three attempt suicide
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 — Three persons tried to commit suicide in various parts of the city today.

According to the police sources, 40-year-old Kailash Devi, a resident of Indira Colony, tried to burn herself. She was rushed to the PGI with serious burn injuries and her condition was stated to be serious.

Gurdham Singh, a 25-year-old, swallowed some poisonous substance and was rushed to hospital. His parents, however, said he had suffered a fit.

A Mauli Jagran resident, 24-year-old Sanjay Kumar, consumed a poisonous substance and was rushed to hospital. His condition is stated to be serious.

The police is investigating the cases.

Scooterist injured: Scooterist Hari Ram, a resident of Ram Darbar, was hit and injured by an unidentified vehicle near a police assistance booth in the colony. He was rushed to hospital. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered.

Purse snatched: A Sector 40 resident, Jaswant Singh, reported that an unidentified youth had snatched her purse near a school in the same sector. The purse contained Rs 600 in cash. A case under Sections 356 and 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Liquor seized: A Kangra resident, Kishan Lal, was arrested from the Sector 43 ISBT and 192 pouches of liquor were seized from him. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Assault alleged: A Sector 45 resident, V.S. Sandhu, has reported that Raman Gill, a resident of Sector 15, and his friends assaulted him in front of a discotheque in Sector 9. He was injured and admitted to hospital. A case under Sections 147, 149, 323 and 506 of the IPC has been registered.

Girls kidnapped: A Mauli Jagran resident, Kokla Devi, has reported that Sonu, a resident of Ram Darbar, has abducted her daughter and her friend, Kamlesh Kumari, from near the railway station. A case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC has been registered.Back


'Absent policemen' suspended
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Aug 28 — For negligence of duty, the Ropar police has suspended at least 25 police personnel who formed part of the additional force requisitioned from the border range to have better policing in the town. The cops failed to appear on duty during the recent poll to the local civic body. In some of the cases the personnel after joining were "missing" from duty.

As part of the plan to improve policing in the town, the Director-General of Police (DGP), Punjab, had sanctioned at least 195 additional personnel from the border range which comprises Tarn Taran, Batala, Majitha, Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts. The cops from the border range have been "reluctant" to join their new assignment and as a result at least 50 per cent of them are reportedly missing from duty.

Action against the erring cops has been taken after the DIG (Border Range) had asked the Ropar police authorities to provide a list of those "absent from duty". While two of the suspended head constables and four constables are from Batala district, the remaining, an ASI and 18 constables, are from Amritsar district.

But the transferred cops are annoyed at the manner in which they were kept in the dark about their new assignment. A disgruntled cop, on condition of anonymity, said: "We would approach the court if we were permanently stationed at SAS Nagar. We were made to believe that we are being sent on VIP duty to the town. We came to know the reality only when we reached here."

The annoyed cops said that that they were not even given time to settle their families. They lament that were being forced to live under pathetic conditions at the Phase 1 police station and the central police station in Phase 8 here. They lamented that the had to go all the way to Amritsar to draw their salary but were being refused leave.

With the suspension of the cops policing of the town has once again come under focus. Implementing a scheme to split the force into day and night duties has also been slowed down. According to an earlier proposal sent by the local police authorities to the state government, a requirement of at least 70 NGOs, 100 head constables, 360 constables, besides the other paraphernalia, had been projected. 


SSP orders inquiry into ear chopping case
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, Aug 28 — Mr H.S. Sidhu, SSP, Patiala has ordered an inquiry into the ‘‘ear chopping case’’ and has asked the DSP of Dera Bassi to submit a report after verifying the facts.

Earlier, a constable Jan Pal, who used to be the driver of the DSP, had chopped off the left ear of Mr Ram Bhadur, an employee of a meat shop at Zirakpur on Saturday night. He was taken to the Sector 32 hospital for medical treatment.

It is also learnt that the police personnel had settled the issue by giving some amount to Mr Jagtar Singh, the owner of the shop for the treatment of servant, Ram Bhadur.


Shopkeepers remove encroachments
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 — Shopkeepers of Palika Bazar in Sector 19 today set an example for others by voluntarily clearing off the corridors and removing other encroachments from the market.

According to information available, the anti-enforcement wing of the Chandigarh Administration had warned the shopkeepers to clear the corridors and pull down a boundary wall on August 26. The shopkeepers had displayed their wares in the corrdiors which obstructed the public passage.

Similarly, the boundary wall was used by the shopkeepers to cover extra space which obstructed the ventilation. Besides this, the tin sheds also obstructed the passage of air and some of the shopkeepers had reportedly complained about this.

Today the shopkeepers themselves pulled down the boundary wall before the anti-encroachment staff could begin the operation. The shopkeepers also demolished illegal extensions on the first floor of the market.

Mr Rajesh Mahajan, Treasurer of the Palika Bazar Market Association, said the shopkeepers had themselves cleared the corridors for the benefit of the general public and they did not want any confrontation with the authorities.

Mr H.S. Sohal, Anti-Encroachment Magistrate, while appreciating the action of the Palika Market shopkeepers appealed to the other markets to remove the encroachments.

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