Friday, June 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Maneka pulls up NGOs for non-performance
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 28
The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ms Maneka Gandhi, today made it clear that financial assistance from the government to NGOs who fail to come up to a certain standard would be stopped unless they get their act together quickly.

The occasion for Ms Gandhi’s warning was the inauguration of Bal Bhawan in Sector 15, built at a cost of Rs 65 lakh. The function was attended by representatives of a large number of NGOs of the township.

Good or bad, she had something to say to everybody at the function, which also included an exhibition where the NGOs had put on display their achievements. Ms Gandhi made the remarks as she closely scrutinised the charts on display.

However, district officials who were expecting the programme to be a cakewalk were taken by surprise. The gruelling half-an-hour as the minister grilled the NGOs proved too hot to handle as some of them got a dressing-down for non-performance.

“My only idea is to make them work and give it their best shot,” she said as she made her way from one room to another in the bhawan decorated with rangoli, paintings and posters.

First in the line of fire was the very concept of the Bal Bhawan. She wanted to know which strata of children it would cater to and how it would function, appearing completely dissatisfied with the response as the officials fumbled in response.

The hardest hit was the co-ordinator of the drug de-addiction counselling centre as Ms Gandhi threatened to stop all aid for not upgrading it to a medical centre. “The upgradation should have happened two years ago. Were you sleeping then? I will discontinue funds to you,” she said even as the co-ordinator made vain attempts to explain her side.

Later, she asked the Deputy Commissioner to keep an eye on the functioning of such organisations. She said with the very high relapse rate among the patients was an indicator that the counselling centre was doing nothing.

An NGO teaching stitching to rural women was also at the receiving end. “Have you ever gone back to the women you have trained and seen if they have got work? It is hardly enough to train them on a sewing machine for the financial assistance you receive. This does not suffice,” she said.

The Saket Prosthetics centre was also not spared as Ms Maneka Gandhi studied the artificial limbs offered to the disabled. “This is ancient in comparison to what is being produced today. What is the use of an artificial leg if the person has to take it off before having food. In Bhavnagar, they make limbs which bend at the joints. Let them go to such centres and learn about the latest,” she instructed.

Critical of the computer room, she said, “What use is a computer when a child does not know how to read or write? All this is a big waste. We can do without it. I do not see any sense in wasting so much money.” Appreciative of the work of the Bal Niketan in rehabilitating destitutes, she gave a patient hearing to whatever was said. She also appreciated an NGO, Sewaks, for carrying out social service by arranging medical camps and eye operations in rural areas.

Later, in her speech she said the Rs 65-lakh bhawan would serve better purpose if it was used as an orphanage or a public library for residents was opened in its place.

In reply, the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, said the suggestions were well taken and the administration would try to put these in practice at the bhawan.

Earlier, the minister announced a plan of the Central Government to set up three centres for the disabled in Haryana. She said these centres would have the facility of school and hospital to meet the needs of physically challenged persons. She said for admission to Bal Bhawan, preference should be given to the children of labourers, who had no other place to live while they go on work. She said this Bal Bhawan could also be utilised as vocational centre in the evening to train children, women, the aged and widows.

Ms Gandhi appreciated the gesture of the Haryana Government to set up Vridh Vishram Greh in all villages of the state. She said she had special affection for the people of Haryana as she had worked as junior to Devi Lal when he was a Union minister and also worked closely with Mr Om Prakash Chautala during his earlier tenure as Chief Minister. She assured all help of her ministry for ongoing welfare schemes being implemented for the down-trodden in the State.

Ms Gandhi suggested that a long-term strategy should be chalked out in the country to provide gainful employment to the youth. With the increase in population, there was a need to adopt new employment avenues, besides pursuing the traditional ones, she added.

She said after a survey was conducted by the Central Government, one lakh families of Karnal were being imparted training in various avenues of employment to enable them to become self-dependent. She said the youth of Haryana could be successful in the security agencies for which training was being imparted. She said raising of nurseries of fruit trees could also be gainful employment. She said artificial leather goods should also be promoted in the country, as was being done in China, as these were becoming very popular in the world.

Earlier, the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala said his government was providing ample opportunities to the children of the poor so that they could become responsible citizens. He said the state government had started teaching English from Class I and computer education from Class VI so as to groom the children from an early age to meet the needs of new industries coming up in the state.

Mr Chautala said a number of welfare schemes had been initiated for the welfare of the poor and down-trodden and these included kanyadan scheme for the benefit of girls belonging to weaker sections of the society.

The Minister of State for Social Welfare, Mr Risal Singh, sought more financial assistance from the minister for smooth functioning of welfare schemes.

Earlier, the Finance Commissioner and Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr Bhagwari Prashad, thanked the Union minister for allocating a record assistance of Rs 11 crore last year to provide subsidy to the members belonging to scheduled castes and backward classes. He also sought her assistance in setting up an old-age home at Mansa Devi Complex and also for making the orthopaedic centre at Saket a leading centre in northern India to provide artificial limbs to the disabled.

Ms Gandhi also distributed prizes to the children who had excelled in making painting, posters, kites, collages, clay modeling and pottery. A colourful cultural programme was also presented on the occasion. She later visited Saket hospital to know for herself the activities being undertaken by this institution.


Maneka’s “pet hates”
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 28
There is quicksilver delicacy in her facial expressions as they blow from hot to cold to warm. And the Union Minister for Social Justice and empowerment, Ms Maneka Gandhi, has a mind of her own — she dictates and takes nothing lying down.

Passionately involved with whatever she takes up, Ms Gandhi has her priorities clear and they begin with setting her house in order, the non-government organisations taking up most of her time.

“Silai-kadhai, silai-kadhai, silai-kadhai followed by computers are two things which make me see red. These are my pet hates yet everybody has only this to offer to society,’’ she admits, nonchalantly, in an exclusive interview to The Tribune as her siren-blaring car finds its way through the traffic.

Coming from an NGO background herself, she says, ``Most of the organisations are out to pull wool over your eyes and get sanction for finances. They are more inventive at writing project proposals than they are at looking after society.’’

She adds: “The NGOs have become a reason for people who do nothing, to feel useful for the country. Their work is sporadic and wasteful. The only real problem is that they are using government funds, public money. How can a chiffon-sari clad woman ever approach a truck driver and talk to him about AIDS and condoms? It is just not possible.’’

Taking cue from her experience of the NGO sector, Ms Gandhi has set up her own trained ``task force’’ to carry out surprise checks into any bungling.``I run my department like a housewife where I expect every rupee spent to pay for itself. I don’t tolerate any inefficiency and the task force is an off-shoot of this,’’ she explains.

Having on its panel retired army officers, specialists from all walks of life and social welfare graduates, the group has been trained by Ms Maneka Gandhi herself.

“I have told them just what to look for when they are out on inspection. Consequently, we have blacklisted dozens of NGOs and taken the money back for non-performance. If we find the performance of an NGO not up to the mark, we issue a warning and reinspect after three months. No improvement means they have to shut shop and get going,’’ she informs.

In a mind that’s bursting with ideas, she thinks aloud, "One wonders why NGOs can’t come up with innovative ideas for making the unemployed self-reliant. There is food craft, plumbing, pottery, specialists in embroidery where they can spread out and diversify but they just don’t seem interested.’’

“If Goa can come up with using pineapple fibre and make it the most sought after material and another state can tap the potential of oil hidden in an apricot kernel, why do we have to carry on with a dairy project which involves two cows, two goats and two pigs? They have to put their thinking caps on if they looking for finances,’’ she claims.

For those doing their job well, she adds, "The money they get is incentive enough for them to keep improving. Besides, we handpick the best NGOs for a commendation certificate each year.’’

The Union Minister was in the city to inaugurate the newly constructed Bal Bhavan in Sector 15.



Dy Mayor also seeks Mayor’s resignation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Faction-ridden Congress in the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh (MCC) today received yet another jolt with the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala demanding the resignation of the Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal for allegedly damaging the image of the party.

Addressing a press conference in his office today, Mr Kala in the presence of two other Congress Councillors, Ms Kamlesh and Ms Suneeta talked about yesterday’s meeting to clarify that both the councillors had come to meet the Mayor on Monday and added that the Mayor, by denying the same was simply telling lies.

Answering the queries posed by the mediapersons, Mr Kamlesh and Ms Suneeta said they had come to discuss the problem of their respective wards with the Mayor, but the peons on duty asked them to write a slip. Ms Suneeta pointed out that the Mayor had issued prior instructions asking them not to let them enter his office and for the first time they were asked to send a slip. Both of them left in protest without meeting the Mayor.

Regarding the dharna staged by them outside the office of the Mayor, they specified that they had revolted against the Mayor and not the party. “They are with the party and would continue to be Congressmen.” Accusing the Mayor for insulting his own party Councillors, they alleged that the Mayor was concentrating on getting either his own works or that of the certain BJP Councillors. “The works in the wards of the other Congress Councillors are not on his agenda and while the MC officials are always ready to help them out, the Mayor tries to stall that also.” Ms Kamlesh and Ms Suneeta further alleged that the Mayor had asked the officials not to do their works.

Mr Kala said even though they all were striving hard to work for the betterment of the party keeping in view the forthcoming elections, but the Mayor was determined to make the party suffer a setback. They all denied the allegations pertaining to any understanding with the Chandigarh Vikas Manch president, Mr Harmohan Dhawan.

They pointed out that three months back they had met the party president, Mr B.B. Bahl and complained about the attitude of the Mayor in the presence of senior party leaders, Mr Ram Pal Sharma and Mr Surinder Bhatia. It was decided that the Mayor will take all his party Councillors into confidence and would hold proper discussions with them. Mr Bahl had asked Mr Kala to make arrangements to convene meetings of all Congress Councillors to chalk out strategies a day or two before any meeting of the Finance and Contract Committee or the General House. But the Mayor allegedly in violation of these directions of the party president continues to function according to his whims and fancies.

Similarly, during a visit to the house of the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, when the Mayor talked about his “Mahapaur Aap Ke Dwar” programme , it was found that the Mayor had not discussed the programme even with the party president, what to talk of the Councillors. They had also asked the party president, Mr Bahl to take necessary action against the Mayor and had said they would not hesitate to bring the matter to the notice of the party high command in New Delhi if required.

Accusing the Mayor for lowering the image of the party time and again, they alleged that only a few senior leaders of the party were always around him, and they were defaming them only to get the party ticket. Kala is the second Congress Councillor to have openly confronted the Mayor . Before this, party Councillor, Ms Satinder Dhawan had openly criticised the Mayor.

When the mediapersons asked Ms Kamlesh to clarify her stand towards the Mayor, she said she would support the decision taken by the party president, Mr Bahl. According to sources, the three Congress Councillors had been contemplating to tender their resignations for quite some time on the issue.



Code of MLAs: Speakers differ
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Presiding Officers of the various state legislatures, who met here this morning at the inaugural session of the 64th All-India Presiding Officers Conference, differed on the issue of code of conduct for legislators. The Tribune talked to a number of Presiding officers in this connection today.

The Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr G.M.C. Balayogi, said that to maintain decorum of the house was the collective responsibility of all members of the House. He said that an effort was being made to evolve a code of conduct for legislators along with the steps to contain frequent adjournments on account of interruptions and disturbances. The problem was created only when members, they may be belonging to any political organisation, did not cooperate to conduct the House smoothly.

When asked that on certain occasions opposition parties complained that the Speaker concerned had discriminated against them in the House and refuse to listen to them on vital issues to be raised in the House, Mr Balayogi said that it was a wrong presumption. Speaker tries to be and fair to all as far as conducting the House was concerned.

He said that he had planned to hold a conference of all political parties, Chief Ministers of all States, Presiding officers of the State Assemblies during the Monsoon session at Delhi to discuss ways and means to rectify the functioning of the State Assemblies as well as the Lok Sabha. There was less discussion and more trouble in Assemblies in recent times and all this required to be rectified, he added.

Mr S.N. Tiwari, Speaker of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, said that there was no need of evolving any new code of conduct as enough rules and regulations already existed to maintain the dignity and decorum the house. He said that Speakers have vast powers to use in case any member tried to disturb the House. He said that he never used marshals to remove any member from the house in his eight years of his being a speaker.

He said that the code of conduct was no remedy for the problem faced by the Presiding officers to run the House smoothly. “It is question of self -discipline by members of the House. If they agree to a common political code for the representatives of the political parties that have the representation in the House, then the code be enforced. Otherwise its enforcement would not be possible”, Mr Tiwari added.

When asked that whether the membership of the MLA involved in rowdyism in the house could be terminated for a number of certain years, Mr Tiwari said that there should be certain punishment for such members but one should not go to the extreme of terminating the membership.

Mr Rajinder Prasad Shukla, Speaker of the Chhattisgarh Assembly, came out with the view that there should be law to terminate the membership of those who created trouble in the House. Supporting the Code of Conduct, he said the decorum of the House should be maintained come what may. He said that he had never had difficulty in running the house. He tries to settle the issues by talking to both sides-members of the ruling party as well as the opposition.

Mr Parkash Pant, Speaker of the Uttaranchal and perhaps the youngest Speaker at the conference, said that there should be a code of conduct and all parties should religiously follow such code. He said that in fact political parties having representation in the Assembly should themselves take initiative to enforce the discipline in the house to make the discussion lively and purposeful. He said that in the last session of Uttaranchal Assembly 95 per cent members attended the session which lasted for 11 days. The total sittings of the house in 11 days was for 58 hours.

Mr Inder Singh Namdhari, Speaker of the Jharkhand, said that the standard of deliberations in the Assemblies was going down due to various reasons. There was a need to raise the standards of discussion and debate. He said that in the light of these facts, the code of conduct was required. Though every member of the house had the right to speak but it was also important the manner in which he speaks. There should be restrictions if the members use indecent language in the House.

He said that he was trying to maintain the high standards to discussion in the Jharkhand Assembly.

Mr Satbir Singh Kadian, Speaker of the Haryana Assembly, had a different opinion. He said that media highlighted the walk-outs, pandemonium, noisy scenes and other disruptions in the house by members of opposition. Constructive discussion on issues was not given due representations in the media reports. He said that if the media started ignoring those who tried to disrupt the proceedings of the house, and criticise the members for interrupting the House on a non-issue, most of the problems would be solved.



MPs’ prosecution: Speaker for designated authority
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
In his opening remarks at the 64th All-India Presiding Officers Conference under way in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr G.M.C. Balayogi, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, said today that he had urged the Union Government to desginate the competent authority to grant permission for launching prosecution against members of Parliament charged with various Sections of the Prevention of the Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

He said that declaring a member of Parliament as public servant, the Supreme Court had directed the prosecuting agencies to take permission from the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to launch prosecution proceedings against members facing charges of corruption until a provision was made by Parliament by a suitable amendment in law to appoint a designated authority.

Mr Balayogi said that he had received a number of requests from the CBI and other investigating agencies to grant permission for launching prosecution against certain members of Parliament facing corruption and other charges. He said that these requests were under his consideration. Similar cases could come up before the presiding officers of the state legislatures, he said.

Raising another important issue, he said that startling disclosure had been made by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India with regard to the non-regularisation of excess expenditure at a conference of the Chairmen of the Public Accounts Committees. He said that some of the states have not got the excess expenditure regularised since 1982-83. He said that it was the duty of the Government to report to the Legislature whenever any excess expenditure was incurred on any service. He said that the tendency not to report excess expenditure to the legislature had to be curbed at the earliest otherwise, the whole concept of accountability of the Executive to the Legislature would be negated.

He informed the participants in the conference that several initiatives had been taken to facilitate the telecasting proceedings of the state legislatures. He said that another committee had been set up under the Chairmanship of the Speaker of Andhra Pradesh Assembly to deliberate further on the issue of telecast of the proceedings of the state Assemblies. He said that the Committee on Procedural Uniformity and Better Management of the Time on the House” had prepared a report which would be presented in the present conference. Another Committee constituted to review the Anti Defection Law had made substantial progress in its work.

He said that the main topic of the present conference was to deliberate on the need to evolve a code of conduct for legislators to maintain the decorum in the House and its proper conduct. He said that several attempts had been made in the past in this connection without achieving desirable results. He said that the increasing instances of violation of discipline and decorum in our legislatures was a matter of serious concern.

In his concluding remarks he said that his concept of ideal legislator of 21st century was that he or she should be techno-savvy, better informed, well-disciplined, tolerant, law-abiding, broad-minded and democratic spirited, a role model for society at large.

Earlier, welcoming the delegates to the conference, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said that he was hopeful that the deliberations of this conference would go a long way in improving working and image of the legislatures across the country. He listed achievements made by Punjab in the past 50 years, role of Punjabis in freedom struggle and green revolution, SAD-BJP Government’s contribution in Punjab.

He also dwelt on the issue of terrorism in the state in 80s and 90s and blamed Pakistan for it. He said that peace was maintained and Pakistani designs thwarted with regard to terrorism.


Fortis super-speciality hospital inaugurated
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 28
“Punjab wants to take a giant leap in the key area of quality health care facilities as compared to the rest of the country,” the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said at the inauguration of the first phase of Fortis Health Care Institute, a super-speciality health care hospital here today.

The facilities inaugurated today include an Outdoor Patient Department (OPD) and a medical centre. Mr Badal said the Rs 155 crore hospital had been set up by a Ranbaxy promoter group company. He said the state government was ready to extend full cooperation to such groups to set up hospitals in rural areas for the benefit of patients in the border areas. An assurance of allotting land free of cost for such projects was also given to the promoter of the Fortis Institute.

Expressing concern over development in the country not benefitting 90 per cent of the population, he said there was a need to evolve a policy at the national level to allow the poor to benefit from the advances in the fields of health care, education and other spheres. He said setting up a world class hospital in 18 months was a commendable task.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Punjab Finance Minister, sought free medical care for the poor. Mr Manoranjan Kalia, state Health Minister, said the hospital would cater to the needs of people in Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The institute has affiliation with Partners Health Care Systems — comprising founding hospitals, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women Hospital — and this would enable exchange and updating of clinical protocols related to cardiac care in accordance with the US standards, Mr Shivinder M. Singh, promoter and Director of the project said.

He said the project was the dream of his late father Dr Parvinder Singh and the Fortis Health Care was planning to set up a chain of super speciality hospitals with an investment of Rs 1,000 over the next five years.

Mr Shivinder M. Singh, also said the Fortis Health Care Institute was the first of its kind in the country which had been planned to provide superior nursing care to the patients. Mr Harpal Singh, Chairman of the project, said best medical professionals from within the country and  abroad had been hired. Use of films and stationery to keep records of the patients had been discouraged with an Electronic Patient Record (EPR).

Mr Malwinder Singh, Promoter and Director of Fortis Health Care Ltd, while talking to the TNS said the company was poised to become a dominant player in health care delivery system. He said the promoter company wanted to expand its operation in the northern India as its major investment was in Punjab.

With this aim, it had planned to set up five new super-speciality hospitals in the northern region — with at least two to be located around Delhi, he said adding : “ We are studying the requirements of the patients and the super speciality could be in neurosurgery, orthopaedics and mother — child care”. At least five medical centres would be set up at Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Ambala, Jammu and Shimla which would act as a link between the Fortis Heart Institute and small town-level medical centres — to be linked through telemedicine.

Talking about the facilities at the hospital, he said the OPD would start functioning from tomorrow and specialised cardiac surgeries would begin in a month’s time. Initially 93 beds in the indoor patients ward were being ultilised. The beds would be increased to 200 and then to 300 depending upon the requirement. The investment in the first phase, inaugurated today was Rs 110 crore.

He was, however, non-committal about the request of the Chief Minister to reserve 20 beds in the hospital for poor patients.

When asked about the charges of medical care, Mr J.S. Bajwa, Director (Marketing), said package on the basis of average expenditure involved had been evolved. But added that it would be comparatively less than those at the Escorts Hospital. He said an X-ray would cost Rs 125 and an abdomen scan would cost Rs 4,800.

The promoter of the project said a tie up with the IDBI Bank was also being worked out to sort the problems of finance faced by the patients at the time of their on-the-spot registration. A semi-urban branch of the IDBI Bank was also opened in the premises of the hospital by Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary, Science and Technology.


Where dusk is time for booze, satta
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, June 28
As evening falls, Daddu Majra Colony turns into a haven for satta gamblers and liquor smugglers.

A visit to the colony by a Chandigarh Tribune revealed that satta gambling in the area had become a source of nuisance for the residents. The role of the cops also comes under cloud as the gambling reportedly takes place every evening. The sattas start at about seven in the evening. According to a senior police official, there have been several crackdowns on satta gamblers by the police under the Gambling Act, but the locals allege that the big fish is never caught in the police net.

Recently, the nexus between the police and the satta operators came to light when a cop was reportedly slapped by a satta gambler after he raided the latter’s den along with other fellow cops. The gambler was angry as he used to pay the cop for running satta, informed an elder in the colony. However, a senior police official showed his ignorance about the incident.

Bootlegging in the area is another nuisance for the residents. Some peddlers who openly sell liquor pouches. A liquor pouch could be easily purchased from cycle-borne peddlers for Rs 10. The peddlers purchase the pouches from nearby liquor vends and sell it to the colony residents. In this way a peddler saves between Rs 2 and Rs 3 a pouch.

A senior police official said the pilferers were active mostly in the city colonies. “A substantial number of arrest are made every year by keeping a close vigil in the colonies on the activities of smugglers belonging to certain criminal tribes”, he asserted.

The pouches are carried mostly in the handbags slinging around the shoulders, even in the school bags. Pouches, in some cases, are also hidden in the blouses by the women, say sources.

The business is very profitable, revealed the police official. “After every case of whisky purchased by the smugglers, something like Rs 200 is saved. The bottles are then sold lose to the customers”, he added.

“For the tipplers, buying liquor from the smugglers is very convenient. They get the bottles on a nominal discount, that also at their doorsteps,” he said.

This illegal sale of liquor is reportedly also being carried out on a large scale in the slum colonies of Bapu Dham, Ram Darbar, Colony No. 5, Colony No. 4, Palsora, Maloya, Bapu Dham, Kumhar Colony, Indira Colony and Labour Colony. The police officials concede that though they have been maintaining a regular vigil, the amount of liquor seized is not even 30 per cent of the liquor smuggled in these areas.

According to the information available, the liquor smuggling in these areas becomes active by night. In fact, the entire operation is carried on quite openly. After the policemen on duty have taken their daily round of the area, mostly at the fixed time, the people emerge from the darkness and it is party time in these areas.



Show-cause notice to Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) moved a step closer to formal split today with the party high command issuing a show-cause notice to a senior leader and former Union Minister, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, for anti-party activities.

The notice was issued to Mr Dhawan, a Member of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC), by the party high command yesterday. He has been given a time of 15 days to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.

Sources said Mr Dhawan had been served notice for his anti-party activities, including the formation of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, and boycott of the Congress rally presided over by Ms Mohsina Kidwai, AICC General Secretary and in charge of Chandigarh affairs, on April 15.

Other charges in the notice include the boycott of the Mayor and the Senior Deputy Mayor, both of them belong to the Congress. He had also been charged with addressing a press conference in favour of the four expelled Congress leaders — namely Mr Devinder Singh Babla, Dr O.P. Verma, Mr Balwinder Cheema and Mr Sandeep Singh. All are close associates of Mr Dhawan.

It may be recalled that the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, and the CTCC chief, Mr B.B. Bahl, had been approaching the high command repeatedly for disciplinary action against Mr Dhawan. It is for the first time that a local AICC Member had been issued notice by the party, the sources said.


Police keeping close watch on ex-militants
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
With the self-styled president of the Council of Khalistan, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, resurfacing here yesterday, the UT police has once again been shaken out of its slumber. He is the third Khalistan protagonist, who had converged on the city during the past three months.

According to police sources, the city police is keeping a close watch on Chohan, who is presently putting up in the nearby township of SAS Nagar. He had arrived in the city last night by train from Delhi. The fact that he has reaffirmed his faith in Khalistan and claimed that he plans to approach other supporters of the movement, has also kept the city police on the tenterhooks. The Crime Branch Operation Cell of the city police and the Crime Branch officials are reportedly keeping an eye on the activities of the Sikh separatist leader.

The city police had recently begun an exercise to update its database of former Punjab militants, who are suspected to visit the city. This followed the sudden resurfacing of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and the subsequent visit of Mukhwinder Singh Mukha to the city. In both the cases, the city police had been taken by surprise.

The local police authorities had approached the Punjab Police intelligence agencies, and with their assistance compiled a list of 14 militants wanted for various activities of terrorism here in the city. Among others, this list includes the name of Rattandeep (responsible for a bomb blast in Sector 34 in 1999) , who is now in exile in Europe. The list still carries the name of Dr Pritam Singh Sekhon, who was reportedly killed while in Pakistan. A senior police official here said since there was no official confirmation of Sekhon’s death, they cannot delete his name from the list.

A list of “sleepers” (members of militant outfits, who remain inactive for years together as common people) in and around the city has also been prepared. These “sleepers” have earlier also been used by the various militant outfits against each other.

With a large number of militants now sending feelers to the Punjab Police and expressing their desire to return to the mainstream after facing a trial here, the police is now worried about the proactive role that these “sleepers” could play.

A list of all surviving Punjab terrorists who have the potential to strike in the city, their present whereabouts; their sympathisers in the city; the places in and around the city where they could strike, those involved in terrorists-related activities in the city during the past and now settled abroad has been prepared by the Operation Cell, Intelligence Wing and the Crime Branch within the department.

Amidst reports of some retaliatory action by militants following the surrender of Zaffarwal a few weeks ago, the top police officials in the city decided to carry out the exercise of updating its database on terrorists.

The police has a list of militants owing allegiance to eight militant outfits in Punjab — Babbar Khalsa International, Khalistan Commando Force, Khalistan Liberation Force, Bhinderanwala Tiger Force, All India Sikh Students Federation and the Sikh Students Federation, Akal Federation and Dal Khalsa. Also, with the Khalistan Zindabad Force claiming responsibility for the bomb blast at the Jammu Railway station recently, the organisation with many members from amongst the Kashmiri Sikhs, too, is under the police scrutiny.

Other than this, the police has also begun updating its data on the Kashmiri militants, belonging to Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Force and the Lashkar-e-Toiba, who were either caught in the city or had committed some terrorist-related offence here. Their whereabouts, local aides here and the “sleepers” in the city are also being included in the new data.

Meanwhile, Mr Kanshi Ram, president of the Bahujan Samaj Party, while addressing a rally of the party workers in the local grain market in Lalru yesterday said the return of Zaffarwal and Chohan may revive terrorism in the state.

He alleged that these persons were involved in several criminal cases and the state government was shielding them. He criticised the BJP government for inviting Pakistan’s military President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, for talks. He said the internal and external policies of the Central government were against the weaker sections of society.

Mr Kanshi Ram claimed that his party will fight on 117 seats in the state. He disclosed that 29 candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and 88 to backward classes will be in the fray during the ensuing elections in the state.

Those who addressed the rally include Mr Aman Kumar, a former MP from Ambala, Mr Sukhbir Singh, Mr Shalimar, Mr Prakash Singh Bakhshi and some other party leaders.



Siau kids’ death: 225 court arrest
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 28
The issue of alleged involvement of a youth Akali Dal leader in the case of death of two kids of Siau village today intensified with at least 225 persons, including leaders of different political parties, courting arrest on the way to meet the Punjab Governor at Chandigarh. The politicians along with the villagers of Siau were demanding arrest of the Akali leader.

Among the persons who court arrested were Jaswinder kaur and Joginder Kaur, mothers of the murdered children. The protesters after being detained at the Sector 3 police station were released in the evening.

Mr Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, general secretary of the Congress, Mr Rajbir Singh Patiala of AISAD, Mr Joginder Dyal of the CPI, Mr Balwant Singh of the CPM and Mr Jagmal Singh Todar Majra were among the leaders who courted arrest. Earlier, addressing residents of Siau village at Amb Sahib gurdwara, the leaders said the local administration was trying to save the Akali leaders in the case. Mr Joginder Dyal said: “The Akali leader, Mr KBS Kang, had been named in the FIR, he should be arrested for being part of the conspiracy to finish the children.”

Mr Man Singh Manhera said the agitation of the joint action committee to bring the culprits in the case to book would be taken to its logical conclusion.

Anticipating that the villagers and the leaders of political parties would gherao the Punjab Chief Minister visiting the town, a strong posse of police had been posted outside the gurdwara. Policemen in plain clothes were keeping an eye on the movement of the agitationists.

Meanwhile, sources in the police said involvement of Swaran Singh and Seti, son of Nirmal Singh in the death of the children, had been found. The arrest of the two suspects was, however, not confirmed by the police. 


Report on MC: Commissioner seeks information
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, today sought information on the factual status of the annual report of the Municipal Corporation functioning and why it has not been made even once ever since the MC came into being in 1996.

Although most officials are ignorant about the submission of such a report, certain councillors are of the view that it is neither mandatory nor essential since the resolution passed and decisions taken by the MC on the floor of the House are intimated regularly to the Administration through the recorded minutes and the Commissioner also apprises the officials about the same in the monthly meetings.

Even as the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act ( 1976) as applicable to Chandigarh, under Section 418 ( 1) stipulates that the MC shall annually submit a detailed report of the functioning of the civic body during the preceding year, many senior officials of th MC are not aware of this fact. The Commissioner, who as per the Act is supposed to prepare such a report and refer it to the House for approval before forwarding it to the government with its resolution, has expressed ignorance of the fact. He has asked the officials to look into thoroughly and fix responsibility, if any. The future course of action will be decided only after that.

The Assistant Commissioner-I, Mr Ashok Vashistha, who confirmed the said reports had not been prepared even once as per the Act, attributed the same to administrative lapse. “Though it is mandatory for the MC to submit this report after April 1 and not later than the date fixed by the government in this regard every year, no one seems to have bothered about the same even as the first five-year tenure of the MC is going to come to a close in December this year,” he disclosed. The office should have initiated the same in routine, even though there are no significant repercussions of the same.

The report is meant to highlight the functioning of the civic body, its achievements, income and expenditure figures, status of the employees, major projects and policy decisions taken on the floor of the House during the preceding year.

A BJP councillor, Mr Prem Sagar Jain, while ruling out the fact that non-preparation of this routine report did not amount to any violation of the Act, said it was not possible to implement all the 400 to 450 provisions of the Act in one go. The MC was still in its infancy and the same could be implemented during subsequent tenures.

The detailed report of all important developments in MC in any case were sent to the Administration, he added. A few other councillors, when contacted, also had no idea about any such provision and wondered why the same was not initiated by the officers if it was important.


Death-trap on road to Mohali
Tribune News Service

The outer road of Sector 39 leading to Mohali has turned into a virtual death- trap with a large number of accidents taking place here, mostly because of speeding vehicles.

Two major accidents have already taken place at this junction this year. One person was killed and five persons were injured as a result of these accidents. The police maintains that the barricade between the city and Mohali is often missed by motorists and many a time, accidents occur when these vehicles ram into the barricade.

Last month, one person was killed and four were injured when their car was smashed as it hit a CTU bus.

Manjit Singh, a resident of Maloya, was killed when his Maruti rammed into a CTU bus, when the car driver, Harbhajan Singh , failed to control the speed of the car. The car hit the bus when a long line of vehicles in the front of the bus had slowed down to cross the barrier. The wife of the deceased, her mother, a neighbour and the driver, were seriously injured. They were all taken to the PGI, where Manjit Singh was declared dead.

This road is often used by trucks and buses bound for Punjab. Since this part of the city is not densely populated and the road remains almost deserted, vehicles tend to take speed. Also, slow-moving traffic from the nearby villages, unaware of traffic rules, emerge suddenly in front of fast moving vehicles. This also causes accidents.

A number of street lights on this road have gone defunct following the rains, causing poor visibility at night. This also leads to accidents.

The road is also in poor condition and a drive here is a motorist’s nightmare, laments Mr Satwant Singh, a resident of Phase VI Mohali, who has to face the ordeal of travelling along this road. “Many a time, one has to dodge slow moving traffic to avoid accidents,” he says.

Also, the laxity of the traffic police here encourages violation of the rules regarding speed limits or the wearing of helmets by two-wheeler drivers. 


Dept to issue regular power connections
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 28
In a significant decision which may benefit about 2,000 jhuggi-dwellers in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony located just south of Sector 49 here, the Electricity Department has decided to issue regular electricity connections to the eligible residents. The residents were promised individual regular power connections about a year ago.

In a letter dated June 25, the department has written to the Deputy Commissioner to depute the area inspector so that the forms are distributed to the eligible residents as per existing policy of the Chandigarh Administration. The Administration has already approved the estimate for the electrification of the colony.

Approximate theft of power per day by colony residents is calculated to be worth between Rs 50,000 and Rs 75,000. The residents have held demonstrations and want to pay for the power they consume. The issue has been held up at the level of the Electricity Department, although the administrative approval to provide regular power connections has been granted by the Administration.


Traders’ bodies back Charanjiv Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
A number of traders of Sectors 20,21 and 22 today pledged support to Mr Charanjiv Singh, a candidate for the post of the president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal(CBM), election to which will be held on July 1.

According to a press note, Mr Surinder Singh Purba, president of the Auto Dealers Association, Mr Sukhpal Singh, president of the Dairy and Milk Products Association, Mr Brij Mohan Kohli, president of the Chandigarh Cement Dealers Association and Mr Lal Singh, president of the Traders Association, Sector 22-B and Mohinder Singh, chairman of the Market Committee, Sector 20-C promised to support Mr Charanjiv Singh.

Similarly, Manohar Lal Sachdeva, president of the Market Welfare Association, Sector 20-C(Tribune Road), Mr Tilak Raj Duggal, president of the Traders Association, Sector 20-B, Mr Amrit Lal Goel, president of the Progressive Shopkeepers Association, and Mr Gurbax Singh, general secretary of the Bijwara Traders Association, Sector 22-D, also pledged support to his candidature at a function, organised by the Chandigarh Wholesale Cloth Merchants Association.

Meanwhile, another candidate for the post, Mr Jagdish Arora, condemned yesterday’s statement of Mr Charanjiv Singh which alleged that Mr Harmohan Dhawan, a former Union Minister, was “interfering” in the CBM elections.

In a written statement, he clarified that the CBM was a non-political body of traders and had no affiliation with any political party or leader.

He claimed that since the announcement of the elections he had been getting support from all sections of traders irrespective of their political and other affiliations.


Dawa Sangpo claims to be 17th Karmapa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Dawa Sangpo Dorjee today staked his claim to be the real 17th incarnation of the the Gyalwa Karmapa — the chief of the Kagyu Sect of Buddhists.

Addressing a press conference here, he said he was locally-born and did not have the patronage from either of the camps. On the other hand, the other claimant, Ugen Thinlay from Tai Situ Rinpoche camp, who had fled Tibet recently and whose candidature had been recognised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is camping in Himachal. Similarly, Thaye Thinlay Dorjee from the Shamar Rinpoche camp, is based in Delhi.

He said, “From the beginning of Karmapa lineage, there never had been three incarnations of Karmapa. Out of the three only, one is the real Karmapa to which I am staking my claim.

Claiming that he was confident of his power and that of his Sungma (protecting deity), he said several attempts had been made on his life. “I fear none and need no security unlike my counterparts,” he quipped.

“Everyone knows that till the incarnation of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, there were never three incarnations of Karmapa at one time. Vices played their tricks to the 17th incarnation and now we have three incarnate Karmapas,” he said while reiterating his claim as the real 17th incarnation.


City DD centre starts functioning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Chandigarh kendra of Doordarshan, which was inaugurated by Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj here sometime back, has started functioning from its Sector 37 complex.

Mr J.P. Gautam has joined as Station Director. At the moment, the three programme executives; Sarabjit Kaur, Surinder Kumar Mehndiratta and Prem Singh — have already joined their duty in Chandigarh.

So far, the programme executives are recording Chandigarh Diary which is telecast from Jalandhar on every Monday and Wednesday.

According to Mr Gautam, the Chandigarh centre will also start telecasting programme in a few months’ time. 


UT officials attend seminar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Siemens Limited yesterday organised an awareness seminar for officials of the Chandigarh Administration and the Punjab Government.

A press note issued by the Senior Executive Marketing of Siemens, Mr Viney Krishan Uppal, claimed that the response of the participants was very receptive. Mr Vivek Attri, Director, Public Relations, and the DIG, Mr Ajay Kashyap of the Chandigarh Administration, apart from Prof P.K. Sharma, Head (Telecommunications) and other government officials attended it.

The note added that the purpose of the seminar was to create awareness among customers.


Govt Press staff hold rally
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 28
A large number of Government Press employees held a gate rally in front of the press in protest against the decision of the Administration to reduce the staff strength.

Leaders of the union criticised the indifferent attitude of the Administration towards employees.

They alleged that the Administration was not taking the employees problem seriously. The employees raised slogans against the Administration.



Lighting at work place

OFFICES should be well lit. The best form of lighting in an office is natural daylight. Our bodies rely on light not only to enable us to see but also for Vitamin D, which comes from the sun. People who work in offices which are artificially lit will almost certainly not be very healthy.

Though natural daylight is the best source of light, extremely strong sunshine has too much yang energy. To slow this kind of light you can have curtains. Coloured glass creates wonderful energy if placed on a door which has natural light.

Normally, offices should be well lit so that people working there can ensure maximum efficiency.

Florescent lights are not good for offices. The flickering from these lights can cause stress and headache.

Desk lamps should be positioned on the opposite side of the right hand. Offices, which have low ceiling, can have small bulbs put in the ceilings to uplift the Chi of the room. Care should be taken in the placement of computers.

Computer screens should never be placed near a window since the glare of the sun will create problems. The only alternative in such a situation is to have blinds on the windows. Harshna

Address your Feng Shui queries to:
Postal address: C/o F.S. TIPS
The Tribune, Sector-29, Chandigarh-160020.



Two vehicles stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Two cases of vehicle theft have been reported from different parts of the city during the past 24 hours.

A Kinetic Honda (CH-01S- 8306) was stolen from the Sector 38-West residence of Mr Subhash Chand Singla yesterday. A Luna Super ( CH-01F- 7214) belonging to Mr Ramesh Kumar was stolen from Sector 26 yesterday.

In another case, the spare wheel of Mr Darshan Singh’s scooter was stolen from Sector 40- C during the intervening night of June 26 and 27.

One arrested: Mehandi Lal was arrested after he was caught red- handed while stealing a bicycle from outside the residence of Mr Narinder Singh. A case under sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered.

Chain snatched: A scooterist snatched the gold chain of Ms Neena Dogra, a resident of Sector 38- West, near her house on Thursday.

The accused was driving a scooter with PB-65A-4964 as its registration number.

Liquor seized: The police arrested Krishan Kumar and Mohan Kumar in two cases and seized 10 bottles of Winner whisky and 340 pouches of Hero whisky from their possession. While 10 bottles of liquor and 200 pouches of Hero whisky were recovered from former from the New Labour Colony , and 140 pouches of liquor were recovered from the latter from Sector 22.

One injured: A cyclist, Bhim Singh, was injured when he was hit by a car (PB-13D- 0007) near the Sector 11 and 12 dividing road. He was injured and admitted to the PGI. A case under sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered.


Man commits suicide: A 35- year- old man was found hanging from the hook of the ceiling fan at his Sector 11 residence on Thursday morning. According to the police, Satinder had a minor tiff with his wife this morning.

It is learnt that Satinder was an air -conditioner mechanic and his wife, Lilly, was employed in a showroom. This morning she left for work at around 7: 30 a.m. and when she again came back at 9 a.m. to feed breakfast to their five-year-old son, she found her husband hanging from the fan.


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