Thursday, September 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU Senate poll: How many bogus votes will surface?
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — Six voters' identity cards for the forthcoming Panjab University Senate elections under the graduate constituency are received on a single address: 755, Sector 22.

Out of the six cards issued under the seal of the Registrar, Panjab University (also Returning Officer for the elections), just one is in the name of the real occupant of the house, who had, at the time of filling up the form for enrolment as a registered graduate, furnished proof of his residence to the electoral branch of the university. The rest of the five cards received on the same address have been issued in the names of Jasvir Lal Bhatia (enrolment number 277222), Balvinder Singh (265111), Abdul Hai (277221), Rajesh Kumar (276368) and William (269884), who have never resided on the given address. They have, however, managed to get themselves enrolled as registered graduates to benefit a certain contestant, courtesy, casual approach adopted by the branch officials concerned at the time of checking relevant documents before getting the form for enrolment as a registered graduate filled up by the voter in question.

This is not an isolated case. Many such cases have come to light in Sectors 22, 15, 8 and 33, where various cards in different names have been received on single residential addresses, proving that large-scale fake registration of votes for the coming elections is going on, challenging the democratic process and the sanctity of the vote. Going by the intensity of this malpractice, the million-dollar-question is: how many out of about 1.25 lakh votes which find a place in the electoral list for this year's Senate election, are genuine. The answer could actually be anybody's guess. While about 10 to 15 cases have come to light and are being reported, there are thousands which will go unreported, resulting in high-scale bogus voting during the elections to be held on September 17, in which 17 persons are contesting.

That various such bogus votes have found a place into this year's voters' list reveals that the electoral branch of the university has not been cautious enough at the time of scrutinising documents required to be furnished at the time of filling up the form for enrolment. The form in question clearly mentions that an address under the care of another person will not be accepted. This further makes it mandatory that whosoever is offering himself as a registered graduate, must prove to the officials concerned that he or she is residing at a particular address.

Coming to the voter card, which has been issued by the university, the same is only an intimation card, which may be or may not be carried at the time of casting of the vote, leaving enough room for bogus voting, unless in a condition where the real occupant of a house chooses to stay back on the booth concerned and help nab the culprits, who can be booked for impersonation. This will seldom be done and as always, the future of the PU education policy, which is bound by the decisions of the Senators, will remain bleak because the election procedure has been rapt with anomalies.

The above-mentioned case of bogus voters' cards being received at house number 755, Sector 22, had also surfaced during the last Senate elections, held in September 1996. During that election, the real occupant of the house, Mr Ajay Jagga, had filed a civil writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against PU through the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar-cum-Returning Officer, PU. The petitioner had sought a direction against the respondents to conduct election of ordinary Fellows by registered graduates after removing the anomalies, as pointed out in the writ. In the writ, filed on September 12, 1996, the petitioner stated that he had received several voters' cards at his address in the name of voters, the same as mentioned above, who had never resided at the given address.

He had sought a stay on the elections and verification of voters' list by its own staff, but this direction could not be passed after the court observed that there was hardly any time left for it to verify the voters' list for elections, which were to be held on September 15. Strangely, the same five names which had featured in the civil writ petition in 1996, have again found a place in the electoral list this year, and that too from the same address in Sector 22, which is incorrect.


Telecom stir evokes mixed response
From Tribune Reporters

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — The nationwide strike by telecom employees from today had a mixed response in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

Even as no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the region, telephone subscribers were left helpless in case of problems with their phones .

Reports reaching here from various telecom districts said on a joint call of the National Federation of Telecom Employees, the Bharatiya Telephone Employees Federation and the Federation of National Telecom Organisations Class III and IV employees of the department went on an indefinite strike from today while officers of the department also showed solidarity by starting work-to-rule agitation.

The striking employees took out demonstrations and staged dharnas at various places, including Hoshiarpur, Sirsa, Rohtak and Ambala in protest against the government’s proposal for corporatisation of the department.

MANALI: The indefinite strike by the group C and D Telecom Department employees paralysed the functioning of the department here. Employees abstained from work and the local telephone exchange wore a deserted Look.

PHAGWARA: Employees of the local telephone exchange on Wednesday joined the countrywide indefinite telecom strike. The protesters held a rally which was addressed by the union leaders, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Ram Rattan, Mr Yashpal and Mr K.G. Kalia.

SHIMLA: Telecom services were partially affected in the state as over 3,000 Class C and D employees of the Telecom Department went on an indefinite strike from Wednesday in protest against the corporatisation of the department.

Trunk services and counter services at various offices of the department were the worst hit. There was virtually no staff to attend to faults as a result of which many telephones remained out of order.

While agitating employees claimed that the strike was almost cent per cent, the authorities maintained that only 67 per cent of the employees had struck work. Mr S.C. Chandhoc, General Manager, said the impact was more in Shimla, Kulu and Mandi service areas where almost 90 per cent employees had respond to the strike call.

It was followed by Dharamsala (70 per cent) and Hamirpur (63 per cent). In Solan service areas, it was only 20 per cent.

The striking employees held a rally in front of the Central Telegraph office.

Meanwhile, the Telecom Engineering Officers Association has also joined the agitation. Mr Naresh Chauhan, secretary of the association, said members would hold dharnas at Shimla, Mandi, Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Kulu on September 7 and if no steps were taken to redress their grievances, they would also go on an indefinite strike.

YAMUNANAGAR: Telecom employees here staged a dharna in front of the telephone exchange on Wednesday.

The state president of the Telephone Employees Union, Mr Sumer Chand, and the local secretary, Mr Nathi Ram, said the government was playing a cruel joke with the employees of the department.


Walkout against lathicharge
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — The entire Opposition today walked out from the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in protest against the lathicharge on farmers, excesses on Dalits and indirect increase in power tariff and other power related charges.

The issue of the lathi charge and hike in power tariff was raised by Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, Leader of the Opposition Congress. Opposition MLAs raised slogans against the government and demanded an inquiry into yesterday’s lathicharge. Mr Hardev Arshi (CPI), said it would have been better if the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had personally received a memorandum from the farmers who had come here in their thousands to register their protest against the anti-farmer policies of the state government.

Opposition MLAs also staged a dharna in the well of the House before staging a walkout. There were embarrassing moments for the Treasury Benches when Mrs Daljit Kaur, an Akali MLA from Kharar, joined the opposition ranks and rushed to the well with them. She also accompanied them in their walkout but resumed her seat after MLAs from the Treasury Benches persuaded her.

There was another moment of embarassment for the government when certain MLAs, including Mr Baldev Singh Khiala, Mr Surjit Singh Kohli, Mr Harmel Tohra, Mr Hira Singh Gabrian and Mr Jagtar Singh Rajla, who belong to the SAD but are known to be close to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, rushed to the well and staged a dharna to demand time for speaking in the House. However, the Speaker did not grant them time and instead adjourned the House for 13 minutes, saying all the 13 MLAs could not be given time to speak on every issue.

Mrs Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, a BJP legislature and Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal also condemned the lathicharge on farmers. Raising the issue of Dalits, Mr Shangara Ram Sahungara, a BSP legislature, said that the under the Badal government Dalits were harassed and prosecuted. He, alone, dominated the well for over 10 minutes from which he harangued the state government. He resumed his seat only when the Chief Minister assured him that he was ready to probe any cases brought to his notice.

Earlier, during question hour, Mr Hardev Arshi sought details of missing coal from thermal plants and action taken in this connection from the Power Minister, Mr Sikander Singh Maluka.

The minister, referring to a report published in The Tribune with regard to the missing coal said that he had already ordered an inquiry and the report in this connection would be available by September 30. He said that Mr Arshi was mixing up two separate cases involving coal which went missing en route to thermal plants in Punjab from the loading point in Bihar and coal found missing from the premises of the Ropar thermal plant.


Jaitley concerned at pending cases
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — The tribunals have played an important role in reducing the pendency of cases that burdened the courts and efforts are afoot to reduce the number of vacancies in such forums, says Mr Arun Jaitley, Union Minister for Law, Justice and Company Affairs. He was addressing lawyers and members of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) after inaugurating the new office complex in the Kendriya Sadan in Sector 9 here this noon.

Applauding the system of tribunalised justice heralded in 1941, he said it had gained momentum. As a result, we had tribunals for dealing with service matters, excise and customs, debt recovery and so on. More specialised tribunals would have to be formed for dealing with cases pertaining to telecom and power.

Expressing his concern at the pending cases, nearly 2 crore in subordinate courts and 34 lakh in the High Courts, he said the government was trying to expedite the procedure and efforts were being made to fill up the vacancies in the courts. There are 167 vacancies. He said a way to reduce pending cases could be lesser number of appeals against judgements. This would depend on the quality of disposal by lower courts and members of the Bar, who would have to do their home work seriously. He added that the Supreme Court had been able to reduce the pendency to 1,800 from 1 lakh by adopting proper systematic procedure.

He also expressed his satisfaction over the performance of various tribunals, especially ITATs, which had given qualitative judgements and very few of these had been challenged in courts. He said the tax assessment procedure should be improved and the system of incentive for tax payers and disincentive for non-tax payers should be made essential. The number of assesses in the country was 2.5 crore, whereas 35 per cent of the population consisted of middle class. But unfortunately, only a fraction of them pay taxes.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Mr V Dongzathang, President of the ITAT, said in order to reduce 2.5 lakh pending cases, 15 new benches had been sanctioned and the process of appointment was underway. Shortage of accommodation in big cities was one of the main reasons in increasing the number of ITATs.

Earlier, Mr RN Mehta, Chairman, ITAT, welcomed the chief guest. Others who spoke on the occasion were Mr Pawan Bansal, MP, and Mr SS Rikhy, President of the ITAT Bar Association. Those present included Ms Surinder Pal Kaur and Mr JS Ahluwalia, Chief Income Tax Commissioners, several judges of the High Court and officers from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

He later went to the Punjab and Haryana High Court and inaugurated the computer section in the office of the Advocate General (AG). Addressing the law officers, he said it was high time to introduce computerisation in every organisation to make its functioning more effective and result oriented.

Mr Prakash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab, said the state would soon compete with any developed nation in the field of computerisation and IT. Mr H S Mattewal, AG, said efforts were afoot to dispose of all pending cases and computerisation would speed up the process. Present on the occasion were Chief Justice AB Saharya, Mr Surya Kant, Haryana AG and and Mr GK Chatrath, President of the Bar Association.


PUDA demolishes 90 structures
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Sept 6 — Continuing with its drive against encroachments, the enforcement wing of the local Estate Office of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) today razed at least 90 structures in Sector 69 and Matour village here today. Around 12 acres of prime land, reserved for residential and commercial use, was cleared of encroachments in the drive.

No untoward incident happened though residents of Lambian village blocked the main road leading to Kumbra traffic lights for some time late in the evening. The police had to be called from the central police station to remove the blockade. When the drive started at around 10 a.m. to remove unauthorised shops in Sector 69, a number of residents of Lambian village protested against the drive and raised slogan against the government suspecting that the next target of the demolition would be their houses.

Meanwhile when the drive to demolish the shops in Sector 69 was in progress the affected shopkeepers protested lamenting that they were not given enough time to remove their belongings. They could be seen making frantic efforts to remove their belongings to safer place. Most of the demolished structures were being used to run timber, iron and marble business. The shopkeepers lamented that the alternative sites offered to them earlier were too expensive. A JCB used to raze the structures accidentally damaged one of the traffic lights at the Kumbra crossing. A Electricity pole was also damaged by the JCB.

No resistance was offered to the demolition squad at Kumbra village. At least 35 sheds being used to house milch cattle and 12 jhuggis of migrant labour were demolished. Some other jhuggis in Sector 69 were also removed. The residents of Matour village said the action of the PUDA was propelled by its sharp criticism in the Vidhan Sabha yesterday. The drive is expected to continue in the coming days.

Sources in PUDA said the authority had written to the state electricity board to disconnect power connections of the unauthorised structures in Sector 69. Today’s drive was led by the Estate Officer, Mr GS Ghuman and SDO, Mr Pritam Singh and four junior engineers of the estate office.


VC’s order valid, HC told
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — In a reply submitted before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Panjab University today stated that Vice-Chancellor’s order rejecting the nomination paper for Senate elections of the Director of Centre for Adult Continuing Education and Extension, Dr. Ajaib Singh, was valid.

The respondents, in their 23-page reply before Mr. Justice Amarbir Singh Gill and Mr. Justice V.S. Aggarwal, stated that Dr. Ajaib Singh was neither a professor, a lecturer, a reader nor a teacher approved by the Senate. The case will now come up hearing on September 11.

Seeking the quashing of the order, Dr Ajaib Singh had earlier asked for directions to the university to permit him to contest the elections after accepting his nomination papers.

Claiming to have been rendered disqualified to contest the elections as a result of the order, counsel for the petitioner had contended on his behalf that the same was passed on August 17 even though the Syndicate had already declared him eligible for elections scheduled for September 17.

The order, he had added, was liable to be set aside as the VC had decided the question regarding the petitioner’s entitlement to contest the elections even though it was beyond the power conferred upon him under the regulations.

Going into the background, he had added that the VC had set aside the returning officer’s decision and had rejected the petitioner’s nomination papers on the ground of his candidature being “hit by disqualification imposed by Section 16 of Panjab University Act”.

Respondent Dr. B.N. Singh and others, counsel had added, had earlier raised objections against the filing of the papers by the petitioner on the grounds that the petitioner was whole time paid servant of the university and not on the teaching side and as such was disqualified for contesting the elections under Section 16 of the PU Act.


ZP chief’s car challaned
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Sept 6 — The car of the Zila Parishad Chairperson, Ms Shimla Devi, was challaned at the mini-secretariat for use of a red light, here today. The car (HR-12-E-0024), belonging to the chairperson, was standing in the official parking area and was being used by her husband, Mr Ravinder Batod.

Interestingly, the election has been challenged in the High Court by Ms Upinder Kaur, member of the Zila Parishad. She says, “In the absence of a decision in the case, Ms Shimla Devi cannot use a red light atop her car, much less her husband, who is not even a member. Moreover, it is atop her private vehicle.”

The case was registered on the instance of Mr Virender Singh, member of the Zila Parishad, who was visiting the secretariat along with Ms Upinder Kaur’s husband. “We saw this car in the parking meant for officials and asked the security personnel why he was not letting us park there. His answer was that this car carries a red light. We rushed to the Superintendent of Police and informed her of the violation of rules,” he says.

It was only after this that a police personnel came downstairs and checked it. Finding the violation in the absence of any permission for the same, the registration card of the car was taken away.

He later pointed out that almost a month back, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr SK Monga, was also informed of the violation, but he refused to take any action in this regard. Mr Monga, however, refuted the claim that any complaint of illegal use of red light had been brought to his notice. “I have not received any complaint in writing and I do not recall any verbal complaint, if at all it was made to me,’’ he says. Mr Ravinder Batod and Ms Shimla Devi were not available for comment.


KBC help books flood Chandigarh
By Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — With more and more eyes getting glued to a Star TV hit show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, the wish to be on the show and walk off with mega cheques signed by Big B himself is increasing with each passing day among Chandigarhians.

However, the juggernaut of the KBC which has not only triggered off a war to get a toe-hold back in prime time but also caught the attention of several publication houses. A number of publishers in the region have come out with various books on objective type general knowledge questions.

A visit to various book shops in Sector 17 and Sector 22 on Wednesday revealed that various help books namely Kaun Banega Crorepati and Quiz Time had swamped the shops in a big way. Most of the shopkeepers had displayed the books prominently.

“Every day we are selling nearly 30 to 40 books and the sale is increasing with each passing day”, said Mr Rajiv Chaudhary, owner of English Book Shop in Sector 17. No doubt there was an overall increase in the sale of GK books but the demand for books sporting various logos of the serial on the cover like 50:50, phone-a-friend and an audience poll was more, said Rajiv.

As far as the buyers are concerned they are from all-age groups. Of course most of them are teenagers. The price of books between Rs 30 and Rs 100.

It is the KBC mania which has attracted the attention of publishers to enter into this “money-spinning” business, said another shop owner of Sector 17 on condition of anonymity. It was the one way of fleecing aspirants, especially children, who wanted to be a celebrity overnightly by winning the biggest amount on the quiz, he added.

Interestingly, most of the books were launched after the KBC reached the most watched TV show in India. The only USP of these books is the pattern of questions with four answers as Amitabh Bachchan asked the contestants.

“I am practicing as if I am sitting face-to-face with Big B, just 15 questions away from being multi-millionaire”, said Divya, a Class XII student. “I am trying for the past three weeks to get through to KBC, but failed. It is all luck. Of course nobody knows when the luck favours. Once you are selected in the phone-in round then there are only 15 to 20 days to prepare. So I started preparing in advance”, she added.

“I never participated in any quiz nor am I interested in jackpot. I simply want to meet my idol, Amitabh”, said Vipul, a senior marketing manager with a multinational concern.

“I was praying for a young woman all time”, said Ms Shewta Ahuja, a housewife, referring to a contestant who withdrew after reaching the Rs 12.50 lakh mark.


Bougainvillea Garden losing charm
From Kulwinder Sangha

SAS NAGAR, Sept 6 — The Bougainvillea Garden in Phase IV here is gradually deteriorating with visitors expressing unhappiness over its neglect by the authorities concerned who have failed to take a decision on its maintenance.

The garden, which is frequented by a large number of residents every day, now hardly gives the look of a well-maintained area.

Till now PUDA had been maintaining the garden, but around mid-August a meeting was held where it was decided to hand over the maintenance of various gardens to the municipal council. However, the municipal council is yet to take over charge of maintenance as PUDA wanted to hand over the part minus the nursery and the office building attached to the garden.

It is learnt that the municipal council at present is reluctant to take the charge of the gardens because of the ongoing inquiry into the alleged irregularities by the horticulture wing of PUDA. The authorities want to take over the gardens only after the probe is over.

Mr D.K. Soni, a retired SDO of the PWD, said on Tuesday that he was a regular visitor to the garden. Of late, the garden had not been maintained. There was wild growth all over. Water collected in one part of the garden as the outlet was choked. The problem had existed for the past two or three years. Many representations had been made by the Phase IV Residents Welfare Association to the officials concerned but to no avail.

Mr Sarwan Kumar, vice-president of the welfare association, expressed concern that there could be snakes in the wild growth. The fountain in the garden was not functional. Though the drinking water facility had been provided, the park lacked a public toilet.

Though the condition of the Rose Garden in Phase III B1 is better as compared to the Bougainvillea Garden, one sees wild growth in the rose beds. In this garden, too, water collects in one portion of the premises. However, cutting and deweeding work was in progress on Tuesday to spruce up the area.

The condition of the Silvi Garden in Phase X, which is looked after by the council, is satisfactory, say residents. However, one part relating to children’s games is not functional.

Mrs Paramjit Kaur, a resident of Phase X, says the toy train is not operational and the pool for boating seems to have merely become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Boating does not take place. Residents had twice got the pool water drained out but once again rain water had collected, she adds.

Municipal council officials say a contract had been given for the running of the toy train, boating and other games for children. The contract ended after a year and advertisement had been given twice for a fresh contract. So far, the interested parties wanted a contract ranging between three years and five years as one-year contract was not financially viable. A proposal to this effect had been sent to the Director, Local Government, for approval, they add.


Trenches or virtual death-traps ?
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — Dug-up trenches in certain parts of the city have become virtual “death traps” endangering the lives of the residents and the animals.A random survey of certain sectors revealed that the trenches, meant for laying underground cables, had been lying dug-up for the past several days putting general public to inconvenience. In certain cases, a number of stray cattle had fallen in the ditches.

A case in point is the trench in Sector 37-C along the house of Mr V.B. Arora, a retired Haryana Government officer. Laying dug-up for the past about two months, it has become a “death trap” for stray animals. In fact, during the past four days, two cows have fallen into the ditch the last being early this morning. Fortunately, the cow was saved with the help of the Fire Brigade personnel.

Since the area along the trench is covered with grass it has become all the more risky. Mr Arora while demanding the filling of the trench, said he had to keep a regular watch so that stray animals did not fall into it.

Meanwhile, a number of professionals working from Quiet Office in Sector 35 are also at the receiving end on account of the digging of the trenches in the area. In the process of digging and laying cables the men-at-work have severed off the running underground telephone lines resulting in the disconnections of a number of telephone lines for over 15 days, alleged Mr RP Malhotra, president of Samadhaan, a pressure group for social justice.

The matter has to be assessed in the perspective of the parking problem near the Quiet Office, whose occupants have been struggling for a proper parking place for a long time. The area, a thickly-populated spot, located on the busy road has a community centre — Khukhrain Bhavan — facing the complex. The parking problem gets compounded whenever there was a function at the bhavan, he added.


Encroachment on shamlat land
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Sept 6 — About seven acres of shamlat land in Chappar Chirri Khurd village, worth about more than a crore of rupees, is allegedly being encroached upon, but the government has taken no step in spite of complaints for the past three years.

Mr Zora Singh Bhuller, a former sarpanch of the village, told mediamen here yesterday that this village came into existence in 1950, when plots were allotted by the Punjab Government to the winners of the Gallantry Award in World War I and II. He said at that time, some plots were not allotted. Plots were again allotted in 1964 and 1974, but this land, about seven acres, was not allotted.

Mr Bhuller said encroachment on some portions of this land started in 1997. He had complained to the SDM, Mohali, who in turn directed the tehsildar to remove the encroachments, but nothing had happened so far. He added that he appealed to the SDM to allot this land or use it for common purposes. This issue was raised by him in a sangat darshan in 1997, but nothing happened.


NABARD forms committee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — Realising the urgency to look into issues concerning rural credit, NABARD has formed an expert committee. The committee will be headed by Prof V.S.Vyas, ex-Director of IIM, Ahmedabad, and Professor Emeritus, Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur.

Mr A. Ramanathan, General Manager, NABARD, said in a press note that the committee would concentrate on identification of institutional issues and finding solutions for the same in areas like structure of institutions, instruments used by them for credit dispensation, skills available in institutions, legal framework for recovery of their loans,administrative bottlenecks etc. Among the reference of the committee are the structure of the rural credit system and the roles of its major components, development policies and support system for effective rural credit strategy to meet gaps in the supply of rural credit in relation to development needs of regions, sectors, client groups etc.


100 compete for Bal Shree Award
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — One hundred students from 15 schools participated in Bal Shree Award-2000, a state-level competition organised by the Indian Council for Child Welfare, at Bal Bhawan, Sector 23, here today.

Four events — arts, science, performing arts and creative writing — were conducted today. The first and second winners of these competitions will compete in zonal level competition on September 9 and 10. Over 200 students from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Chandigarh and other states are expected to participate. Students selected from the zone level competition will compete for the National Bal Shree Award-2000,

The results of today’s competitions are as follows —art: Arshadeep Saini of Shishu Niketan Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 22 (1) and Shallu Payal of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33 (2); science: Ishita of Sacred Heart School, Sector 26 (1) and Jyoti of Government High School, Sector 7 (2); performing arts: Poonam Rajput of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33 (1) and Preet of Shishu Niketan Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 22 (2); creative writing: Simran of Sacred Heart School, Sector 26 (1) and Jyoti of Government High School, Sector 38 (2).


Radhashtami celebrated with gaiety
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — The local body of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), celebrated Radhashtami with great enthusiasm and fervour at the Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B. Thousands of ISKCON devotees thronged the temple on the occasion, according to its local body president, Bhakti Vinod Dasa Prabhu.

The programme began at 4.30 a.m. with charan dharsan of Radharani followed by tulsi aarti at 5 a.m. An annual souvenir along with a monthly newsletter by the ISKCON Youth Forum were also released by H.G. Kanti Dasa Prabhu on the occasion.

As a part of Radhasthami celebrations, a large nagar kirtan was also taken out by ISKCON devotees, dancing and chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.

The main attraction of the programme was the nauka vihar. In a decorated nauka (boat) idols of Lord Krishna and Radharani were installed and floated on water for a round in the evening by the ISKCON devotees.


Harkrishan Lall dead
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — Renowned painter Harkrishan Lall, who is credited with holding various solo exhibitions of his works in India and abroad, died in a Calicut hospital today after a prolonged illness. He was 80 and had been suffering from paralysis for six years.

Lall, a native of Ludhiana, graduated from Government College, Ludhiana and later acquired graduation in fine arts from the J.J. School of Art, Mumbai. He was a friend and colleague of Urdu poet Sahir Ludhianavi and the two were honoured together by Government College, Ludhiana.


Brigadier Kher takes charge
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — Brig Arun Kumar Kher has taken over as Director Resettlement, Western Zone at Chandigarh. Prior to his present assignment, he was Commandant, No.1 EME Centre, Secunderabad.He takes over from Brig S.K. Gupta, who has been posted out to the North-East.An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Brigadier Kher was commissioned in the Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1966 and subsequently completed his ME in automobile engineering from Bombay University, MBA and the Long Defence Management Course from the College of Defence Management, Secunderabad.


Play on blood donation
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — Children of Go Banana Kids Club presented a play to spread the idea of blood donation among the parents and children, at Rotary Vocational Training Centre here today. Children between 4 and 12 years of age participated in this programme.


Shanta Kumar’s meet the Press
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — Mr Shanta Kumar, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, will meet the Press at the Chandigarh Press Club, Sector 27, today at 10 a.m. All regular and candidate members are invited.


UT electricity consumers being harassed

THE office of the Assistant Executive Engineer of the Operating Subdivision 2, Electricity Department of the UT Chandigarh in Sector 10, has included thousands of rupees as “sundry charges” in the electricity bills of a large number of consumers. These charges range from Rs 2,000 to Rs 11,000. In some cases it may even be more. This is the latest example of the arbitrary functioning of the government departments and their high-handed way of dealing with the public.

On enquiry, it was found that these amounts represented charges for January, 1996, to January, 1997, when, the department claims, these consumers’ meters were out of order. What is difficult to understand is that in this period, the department had issued bills to these consumers on the basis of ‘average consumption’ and the consumers had paid these bills. Now, after more than four years, the department is claiming that these consumers had been undercharged and is suddenly demanding lump-sum payment to clear the “arrears”.

The Electricity Department owns the meters and charges rent from the consumers for these. It is the department’s job to keep them in order. It has no right to penalise the consumers if it is so inefficient that it cannot repair or replace a meter for one full year.

It is only the law-abiding consumers who are harassed and exploited in this manner. The department has failed to stop the theft of electricity through ‘kundis’ and continues to lose huge amounts because of this. The problem is that there is no solidarity among the consumers to fight such arbitrary actions of the Electricity Department. They should protest en masse and refuse to be made scapegoats for the incompetence of the department.

This is a clear case of arbitrariness on the part of the department which is asking consumers to pay again the bills they had paid years ago. The various consumer forums should take note of this and come to the rescue of the hapless consumers. Such harassment only strengthens the case for early privatisation of the power sector, especially the distribution wing.

Sarabjit Singh

About two years ago, traffic-lights were installed on a few roads in Rajpura. Going by the speed at which most of the drivers jump the red signal, it appears that they treat these traffic-lights merely as decoration pieces. Bus and truck drivers in particular drive most unpredictably, often like a bull who runs faster on seeing the red colour. They endanger not only their own, but also the lives of others by driving rashly and disregarding the traffic rules. Even a five-year-old child is taught about traffic signals in school. It is high time the process of issuing driving licences was made more stringent.

Padmini Jain

Chandigarh Police
The Chandigarh Police must be complimented for arresting the two suspects in the double murder of employees of a liquor vend and the biggest ever dacoity in the city. This, however, was not an isolated incident. Murders, kidnappings and thefts occur almost every other day. The police has limited resources at its disposal; it can perform its duty well only if it gets the cooperation of the public.

It has been observed that those from the lowest strata of society living in jhuggi colonies, are easily lured by the temptation to make a quick buck by committing thefts, murders or sundry other crimes. Many a times they win the confidence of their employers before committing the crime.

It is difficult to eliminate this menace altogether. However, an attempt should be made to minimise such crimes. The migrant labourers should be required to get themselves registered on their arrival in the city. Their employers should provide details of their antecedents to the police who can get these verified. This should help in controlling crime in the city.

Ujagar Singh

For the tourist
This is with reference to the report “Jacob unhappy with ISBT” (Chandigarh Tribune, Aug 12). The observation made by the Administrator that “there is no room available at Rs 300 per day in the city except in the unauthorised guest houses in Sectors 21 and 22” is not correct. Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Sector 19 provides to tourists a neat and clean room with a double-bed at Rs 60 in Guru Amar Dass Serai attached with this gurdwara. As for the unauthorised guest houses in Sectors 21 and 22, the tourists, both domestic and foreign, are directed to these guest houses by the Chandigarh Administration’s Tourist Information Centre at the bus terminus in Sector 17. There have been several complaints against the functioning of this centre, especially by foreign tourists. Several letters to this effect have been appearing in various newspapers from time to time. Lieutenant-General Jacob has paid several surprise visits to the bus terminus in Sector 17 during the past three or four months, but he has not visited the Tourist Information Centre at the terminus. A visit to this centre can be revealing.

Narinder Singh

Heavy school bags
The report “Groaning under the weight of school bags” (Chandigarh Tribune, Aug 13) has highlighted the problem which has been assailing the parents as well as the children for a long time. I fail to understand why such a huge syllabus is prescribed for children of such tender age so that they have to carry a heavy load of books and notebooks. Are we so running against time that we must teach the children everything at the primary stage?

My children are studying in a public school in Sector 7. They do not know how to form a correct sentence, but they are supposed to cram essays or letters running into three or four pages. My son in Class III has to study 10 subjects involving 20 books and has to carry as many notebooks. Parents go mad finding material for project work which, by no stretch of imagination, can be handled by the child himself.

The CBSE does not prescribe any fixed syllabus up to Class V. It is difficult to understand why children are forced to cram things which are beyond their comprehension. Little attention is paid to nurturing the child’s creativity and imagination. The new concepts in education and environment can be put into practice without subjecting the child to such ordeal.

Computer education should be practical at the primary level, but children in Class II are asked to write long answers consisting of words like “electrical”, “electronics” and “mechanical”. More stress is laid on cramming rather than understanding the subject.

The media should build an opinion against this system of education and help in bringing radical changes according to the changing times.

Ashutosh Vermani

Defence Colony woes
We, the residents of the Defence Colony, in Sector 35-D, seek to air our grievances through the columns of your esteemed paper. Soon after the concept of southern sectors originated, the Administration approved a separate lay-out plan for each of these sectors. In 1967, in the plan for the Defence Colony in Sector 35, an area of about six kanals was reserved for service shops near Government Model Secondary School. Space for garbage dumps was also earmarked in the plan.

Whereas the residential plots allotted in 1967 with a direction to build the houses within three years are already occupied, the area for the shops is still lying vacant and has been turned into a dumping ground for waste building material, filth and garbage. Rag pickers and stray cattle roam the area freely. The site is also being used for parking trucks and cars. Congress grass and other wild shrubs grow in abundance. The place stinks and breeds mosquitoes and flies. A garbage bin has been placed in the centre. Several requests to the Health Officer to shift the bin to a more suitable place have gone unheeded. Encroachers have also moved in.

We urge the authorities either to construct the shops or raise a boundary wall to keep the place clean and prevent encroachments. The site can also be used as a playground for children and a park for old citizens.

D. R. Malhotra,


Darua resident arrested
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — The police has arrested a resident of Darua village on the charges of outraging the modesty of a woman.

According to police sources, Raju was arrested for outraging the modesty of a woman of the same village in the jungle adjacent to the railway station. He, thereafter, threatened her not to disclose the incident to anyone.

The accused was arrested and booked under Sections 354 and 506 of the IPC.

One injured
Rickshaw-puller Binda was hit and injured by a car, DL 03C 3730, near the Sector 38\40 dividing road. The driver fled from the spot. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered.

Two thefts
Sector 28 resident Jaswant Singh reported that his scooter CH 23 T 1657 has been stolen from Sector 9.

Similarly, Sector 16 resident Rohit Bansal reported that his motor cycle, choim 0664, was stolen from Panjab University. Cases under Section 379 of the ipc has been registered.

One arrested
The police arrested a thief from Sector 29 here this morning.

According to police sources, Nur Mohammad, a resident of New Delhi, was arrested by the Industrial Area police. His modus operandi was to steal the streetlight bulbs during the night time and sell them in New Delhi. As many as 10 mercury bulbs had been recovered from his possession.

He has been remanded to police custody till September 9, the sources added.


‘Encourage mutual guarantee scheme’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — India is emerging as an industrial power. Ours is not a weak economy, though a high cost economy. Stating this at a discussion on Small Industry in North India, Mr D.P. Bagchi, Secretary, SSI, Government of India, said there was urgent need to control the cases of defaults in banks.

“For this mutual guarantee scheme, which is a popular concept in western countries, needs to be encouraged in India also. Default rate under this scheme, where part of the finance share is of the bank and part is contributed by the members, is very low. In Italy, for instance, the default rate has reduced to 1 per cent”, said he. He urged Punjab and Haryana governments to take the lead.

Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, Secretary, Industries, Punjab, highlighting the problems being faced by the small industrial units in the state, said there was lack of any mechanism to settle industrial sickness in the state. “There is urgent need to identify sickness and also to provide for an effective statutory base for settlement”, said he. Emphasising on the need to provide some package to the State Financial Institutions, Mr Singh said the NPAs of SFIs had accumulated over time and these institutions were uncompetitive due to high rate of interest of refinancing.

He also said the small industrialists in the state needed to have access to information on the latest technology. “A dedicated venture-based fund for the same is required”, said he. He, however, expressed satisfaction that industrial sickness in the state was only 1 per cent (much lower than the national average) and the growth rate of industry was 10 per cent, which is higher than the national average of 7 per cent.

Mr M. Saleem Beg, Director, Industries and Commerce, Jammu and Kashmir, said small industry in the state was suffering not only due to the problem of power, but problems with banking were also existing. “According to the figures by the banks itself, in more than 75 per cent of the cases, the delay between the application and the sanction of loan is more than one year”, said he. He urged the Central Government to create a special task force for the north-eastern states which could specifically look in to the problems of this region.


Dreams have come true fast
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 — For 22-year-old Ankush Aggarwal, Director, Northern Soft Net Ltd, dreams have come true, rather fast. It was only eight months back that he had conceptualised a website of his own. Since then, Ankush has worked hard. He put in more than five hours a day, or rather the night, at times more, to single-handedly design and programme the website, www., which was officially launched today by the Union Minister of Food and Consumer Affairs, Mr Shanta Kumar, here today.Ankush graduates next year as a metallurgic engineer from Punjab Engineering College. He is also one of the 11 youngsters in the world to be selected for the Integrated Login Programme list of He was attracted to the world of computers when he was in Class VI. “At that time, only MS DOS was available. I made a quiz using the basic language. Later, like any other child, I was also fascinated by computer games,” he says It was in 1996 that his parents gifted him his own very own PC. “My father had promised me that if I manage to clear my entrance exam to an engineering college, he would buy me a computer”. Thus started his adventure with the futuristic world of computers which has now become his destiny. “Even though my family business is related to chemicals, I hope that the facilities that I am offering at my website will succeed in the next two years. If I get enough visitors, I hope to achieve an advertisement value,” he adds.Ankush is aware of the tough competition he will have to face with a website being launched everyday. However, he hopes that he will be able to find a niche for himself. He explains, “Other sites are using pure H.T.M.L., whereas I would be using ASP on N.T. servers. ASP makes integration with the data pages more dynamic. In any case, all major sites use ASP,” he adds.This young metallurgic engineer has not had any formal training, as far as computers is concerned. “In this area, I have had learnt with inputs from the internet and a few books,” he adds. He is sure that his site will offer more information than others available in the city. “It contains all features which other sites are offering. I have more facilities like tourist information, city guide, e-Mail, meta search engines to give better results, dating, college board, matrimonial; you name it and the information is there at the click of a button. My portal will serve for the local needs, which is the need of the hour.”His future plans includes selling templates and readymade websites besides designing sites for different cities “I plan to feature online shopping For this project, I had invested Rs 40,000. Since I have the code ready, I think I can sell it to anyone wanting to design a similar website,” he says. Congratulating Ankush, the minister said Democracy also meant providing correct information at the right time at the right place. “The world is changing rapidly and so is the concept of information technology. We need to integrate it in our day-to-day work to ensure that the country progresses and does not lag behind,” he said.Elaborating on the need to incorporate the concept of information technology, he said his department distributes free rations worth Rs 33 crore to poor people. “However, 50 per cent of this rations does not reach the desired place because of various reasons. The major reason is that the poor people do not come to know of the benefits that the government is offering due to lack of information.We plan is to link all the 2,60,000 fair price shops in the 543 districts of the country by using modern information technology,” he added.


Industrialists resent hike in power tariff
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, Sept 6 — Members of the Dera Bassi Industrial Focal Point Association have criticised the decision of the Punjab State Electricity Board to hike power tariff, increase minimum charges and meter charges.

In a press statement, Mr R.C. Kalia, general secretary of the association, said an unprecedent hike from Rs 96 to Rs 200 per kw up to the load of 60 kw and also Rs 200 from 60 kw to 100 kw was not justified.

Mr Kalia, said small-scale industries and small units in focal point had already been facing recession. Due to heavy crunch of loan and interests and the non-payments of subsidy, some units in the focal points had been closed down and some are on the verge of closure.

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