Friday, August 17, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Petrol, diesel prices slashed in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The much-awaited reduction in the price of petroleum products was effected by the UT Administration today as petrol price was reduced by Rs 1.19 per litre and that of diesel by 65 paise following a notification by the Union Petroleum Ministry.

The prices in the city will, however, be still more than those in Panchkula but a shade cheaper than those in SAS Nagar. The new prices will come into force from midnight tonight.

With the new rates, the bulk oil depots of the Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum will be commissioned in Chandigarh on Friday morning.

The Chandigarh Petroleum Dealers Association has said that the prices should be brought closer to those prevailing in Panchkula. Suggesting a way out, the association said Punjab and Haryana have imposed a 20 per cent sales tax on petroleum products while Chandigarh has 20 per cent sales tax and an additional 10 per cent surcharge that makes it effectively 22 per cent sales tax.

Either the surcharge should be done away with or the sales tax be reduced to 18.2 per cent, the association said and have asked the Administration to look into the matter to save the petroleum trade in Chandigarh.

It has been after a year that prices of petrol and diesel have been brought down. This has been due to efforts of UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) and the Chandigarh Administration.

Since last July, when the uniform sales tax regime came into place, city residents have been paying Rs 1.66 more for each litre of petrol than the price in neighbouring Panchkula and 55 paise more per litre on prices in SAS Nagar. Due to price disparity, the sale of petrol has fallen from 7000 kilolitres a month to 4500 kilolitres a month in the city. Several people who come daily from Panchkula and SAS Nagar prefer to get their vehicles filled in their townships instead of opting for Chandigarh.

As Chandigarh was not having any bulk oil depot, the Union Territory, Chandigarh, had to pay sales tax on all oil supply to the Chandigarh sourced from neighbouring Haryana. This disparity was pointed out by the Chandigarh Administration to the Union Government and it was decided to set up bulk oil depots in Chandigarh.

The Administration allotted land to Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil to set up their depots and necessary modifications were made in the master plan for setting of the depot. General Jacob had a meeting with Union Minister for Petroleum, Mr Ram Naik, on the issue two months ago.

In June, the UT Administrator had ordered the reduction of Motor Spirit Tax on petrol from 15 paisa per litre to 1 paisa per litre and on diesel from 10 paisa to 1 paisa per litre. 

Old / New
Panchkula SAS Nagar 


Rs 30.11/Rs 28.92

Rs 28.63

Rs 29.60


Rs 17.34/Rs 16.69

Rs 16.43

Rs 16.70



Ghaggar washes away agricultural land,
damages crops
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir, August 16
A raging Ghaggar, flowing above its danger level on Tuesday, left a trail of destruction, damaging crops and washing away acres of agricultural land along its banks in the subdivision.

The river had not only posed a serious threat to the lion safari at the Chhat Bir Zoo but also washed away the standing maize crops over acres of land along its right bank. The river changed its course towards right side this year and caused massive destruction by washing away over 250 acres of fertile land.

Moreover, standing crops and green fodder over about a 10-km stretch, starting from the zoo bundh to Bahoura bundh, were destroyed by the floods leaving over two to three feet thick mud-layer over the crops.

Heavy downpour in the catchment area of Lower Shivalik hills had raised the water level in the Ghaggar and damaged portions of a number of embankments, kutcha bundhs, studs and aprons, constructed four years back, all along the area.

The water level rose after Monday midnight from three feet onwards and kept on increasing rapidly on the second day too.

As per the records of the Drainage Department a discharge of 1.5 lakh cusecs was noted at Bhankharpur bridge on Tuesday morning against last years’ record of 2 lakh cusecs.

Besides endangering a zoo bundh adjacent to the boundary wall of the lion safari, the rising water submerged the crops and the houses along its banks.

At Chhat Bir, a stud, constructed five years ago, was partially damaged as the flood water damaged the area after the river changed its course towards Stabgarh village located on the right bank. The flood water was endangering the series of studs adjacent to the lion safari as they had been directly hit and could cause a great destruction if it rained heavily.

Strengthening of the newly constructed spur near the lion safari proved effective in diverting the flow of the river. But its front portion failed to provide any protection as most of the soil-pitching work was washed away. The swirling water of the river also washed away the vegetation on the banks and entered a number of villages damaging causeways and other link roads.

A survey of the area revealed that the worst affected villages include Bakarpur, Stabgarh, Chandiala, Ibrahimpur, Chhat, Bahoura, Rampur and Rampur Kalan, situated on either side of the river banks.

Besides cattle, woods and other items were also swept away by the water current. Knee-deep flood water also entered houses in various villages putting the residents to great inconvenience.

Mr Ujagar Singh, a resident of Rampur, lamented that the river had washed away over 10 acres of agricultural land and destroyed maize crops over six acres after leaving a thick mud-layer.

Another resident, Mr Gurnam Singh, complained that the flooded river had ruined him by washing away a majority of his agricultural land. He said that a number of shisham trees were uprooted and washed away in the river.

The villagers complained that despite repeated representations for demanding compensation for the damage caused by the flood two years ago, to the local administration as well as to the Finance Minister of Punjab, Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, nothing had happened so far.

The Drainage Department of Patiala had deputed a team of 35 workers to repair the broken bundhs and sups round the clock at different sensitive points. Besides stone pitching work, sand filed bags were being used to strengthen the protective walls of the spur by the team.

When contacted, Mr N.K. Chopra, SDO of the Drainage Department, said that the series of spurs adjacent to the lion safari had been damaged by the flood as the river changed its course towards the right bank this year.

Truck washed away
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 16
A truck was washed away by strong water current on August 13. It was taken to the Ghaggar riverbed at Bhankharpur bridge for loading sand.

According to Mr Jagjit Singh, truck owner, labourers had left the vehicle on the riverbed when water level rose suddenly. They came to the banks of the river leaving the truck (PB-11H-5945) submerged in the water.

As the water level receded on August 14 they found the vehicle missing.


War for BJP presidentship intensifies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The local unit of the BJP has been caught in a tug-of-war between two distinct party groups for wresting the local unit’s presidentship ahead of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) elections to establish control over the corporation and the organisation.

A group of the party, claiming support of eight councillors and five of the seven office-bearers, this week met national President Jana Krishnamurthy and secretary-in-charge, Mr O. P. Kohli to get the incumbent Mr. Dharampal Gupta, whose term has expired, replaced preferably with their own man or some neutral person.

The group has claimed that the change in the presidentship is round the corner ahead of MCC elections.

The Gupta group seems confident of retaining the post at least till the mayoral polls after next elections, party sources said.

The anti-Gupta group communicated to the national party President that the way the Gupta group had handled the mayoral elections with the top leadership of the party themselves coming in the way of elections for the Mayor post and openly sloganeering with acting Congress Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, has brought the party a bad name.

They also claimed before the leadership that the Gupta group, including leader of the House, Mr Desraj Tandon, and senior leader Gianchand Gupta had themselves flouted the party whip of “not entering the corporation premises’’ on the day of mayoral election, sources said.

The Gupta group, however, contacted the central party leadership to immediately after successfully stalling the mayoral election proceedings to expect accolades for an action in line with the high command’s decision of dissolution of the House.

As the MCC elections draw near, the fight over the presidentship has again intensified as both groups realise if they have their man as president in place ahead of elections, they have strong possibility of cornering a lion’s share of seats and persuade the party deny the opposite camp their tickets.

But if the fight for president reaches a pitch, then it might acquire a different proportion with both groups in case of failure to get members of the other groups tickets denied, may sabotage such candidates which may result in a dismal performance.

The party’s fight has also been noticed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and has indicated its disinclination for now to be drawn into the factional fight.

The RSS even feels if factionalism reached such a limit, the party should be left to fend for itself to realise as to what harm factionalism might cause to the party ahead of elections.

The RSS sources said the organisation would not interfere at this stage but did not rule out that it may help bring about a rapprochement.


EC decides format for draw of lots
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Election Commission has decided to replace nine reserved constituencies with general ones, upsetting many aspirants’ apple-cart. The Commission today decided the format for the draw of lots for the reservation of wards to be held at Tagore Theatre on August 18.

Giving details, the Deputy Election Commissioner, Mr D.M. Khaneta said the wards which were earlier reserved for SC/ST candidates and women would be de-reserved and the same would become general seats.

Those aspirants for the corporation elections, who wield influence in certain wards and the incumbent members, however, have expressed their dismay over the change of wards, saying their nurturing the constituency had gone in vain.

According to the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, as extended to UT Chandigarh, six seats are reserved for women candidates. Three seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates, of which one goes to an SC woman and two to SC men. Mr Khaneta said to begin with, draw of lots would be held for these three seats on the basis of the population of SCs/STs in the wards. However, the three wards (ward No:5, 15 and 18), which had the highest concentration of SCs/STs and had been reserved last time would be left out and the draw of lots would be held among the next three in the list on the basis of their population figures. Further, a draw will be held to reserve one of these for an SC woman. According to figures available, the wards likely to be reserved for SC/ST are 14, which has a SC/ST population of 6,427; ward No: 19 (5,196) and ward No: 7 (4,997). Even though ward No: 14 was reserved for a woman (general category) last year, but as it happens to be next in the list with the highest SC/ST population, it can be reserved for an SC/ST seat this year, it is learnt.

Mr Khaneta said that of the remaining 17 wards, six which were reserved for women last time, would be de-reserved and the same would be converted into general wards. These include ward No; 1, 8, 9, 11, 14, 17. Hence, the draw of lots would be held from the remaining 11 general wards to reserve six seats for women this time. This would again leave 11 general seats including the de-reserved ones.

The pattern is going to greatly harm those individual candidates who see better chances of winning the election in certain pockets. This is also likely to mar the chances of many male councillors, who will be left high and dry, if their ward gets converted into those reserved for women.

As one of the councillors puts, “This does affect the performance of a councillor. In case my ward is reserved for a woman candidate, all the work I have done in my ward, will be of no use. I will have to fight from a new ward and start fresh.”

The councillors have already started thinking in terms of an alternate seat, but they may have to face problems in getting party tickets. And a councillor may have to face stiff opposition from his party members, who belong to that ward and may have an edge over him.

Mr Khaneta further disclosed that there would be nearly 570 polling booths in all parts of the city and arrangements are being made to put at least two ballot boxes at each booth. Each booth would be manned by at least four personnel. Mr Khaneta, who arrived in the city today, has started writing letters to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, who is also the joint Chief Electoral officer regarding the provision of ballot boxes and other such arrangements.

Meanwhile, Election Commissioner, Mr M. Malaichamy, will arrive in the city on August 18, the scheduled day for draw of lots.


Meeting reconvened on Aug 18 to elect Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The reconvening of the meeting for election to the post of Mayor of Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) was today fixed for August 18 at 11 am, making the mayoral poll a certainty with no quorum required for the meeting.

The date for the election was left to the Presiding Officer and nominated member, Mr. Harish Bhanot, who fixed the meeting for Saturday.

The decision to fix the date by Mr Bhanot was advised by the legal opinion sought by the Chandigarh Administration this week and which was informed today to the Administration.

The last meeting of the House for election of the Mayor was stalled on August 10 through a petition of the BJP members, Mr Desraj Tandon, Mr Gian Chand Gupta and Ms Ranjana Shahi, who challenged the authority of the Presiding Officer to reconvene a meeting adjourned for a tea break saying that only Deputy Commissioner is empowered to call such a meeting.

The councillors were deeply divided on whether the elections should have been held immediately or later after the deferment was informed.

The BJP and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch joined by a section of the Akali Dal, immediately after the failure of the meeting, met the authorities to press for dissolution of the House as majority had already passed a resolution to this effect on August 8.

The Akalis, Ms Harjinder Kaur and Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohinder Singh, are pitted against each other and they are reportedly being supported by two factions of the BJP.

The BJP group led by its president, Mr Dharampal Gupta, sought on August 10 that the House did not complete the quorum to avoid the defeat of their backed man, Mr Singh as majority of the six nominated members were present in the House at that time and a divided Congress were said to be backing the rebel Akali Ms Harjinder Kaur.

The Congress was divided on the issue of reported support to the Akali rebel, Ms Harjinder Kaur, with the Acting Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, refusing to toe the party line saying he could not have voted for an Akali who allegedly rejoiced over the assassination of the late Prime Minister, Ms Indira Gandhi.

Another Congress Councillor, Ms Sunita, also did not attend the mayoral election meeting claiming that she was hospitalised on the day.Back


Board withdraws termination notices
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 16
The Punjab School Education Board authorities today withdrew the termination notices of 160 clerks in the wake of the stay on their termination by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

A group of contractual employees of the board had gone to the High Court seeking stay on their termination. But the termination notice of the employees, 160 clerks and 54 helpers, was pasted at the board’s office at around 9.30 p.m. last Tuesday. The decision to withdraw the termination notices was taken at a meeting between the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and the Secretary of the board.

Meanwhile, the Punjab School Education Board (non-teaching) Employees Union today held a gate rally in support of the daily wage and contractual employees. No vehicle of the board official was allowed to enter or leave the board premises in the morning.

The union alleged that the employees were facing uncertain future due to the direct interference by the State Education Minister. They urged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to regularise the services of the employees in light to the notification issued by the government. The employees sought that an inquiry into the alleged irregularities committed in selecting the candidates of the 1988-type test should be done by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).


Upstaging those who can see
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The 10th rank in the highly competitive B.Ed entrance test in Chandigarh this year has gone to a 22-year-old visually challenged man from Kulu, Mr Lal Singh Thakur. “I obtained 185.25 marks out of 250,” he says.

He says he graduated from Panjab University with 63 per cent marks. He was a student of the local Sector 11 Government College for Boys.

He did his matriculation from VRTC School in Ludhiana with 60 per cent and plus two with 64 per cent marks.

Asked what his ambition is, Mr Thakur says that he wants to become a good teacher, a really good teacher, so that he can command the respect of the taught.

Giving details about his family, Mr Thakur becomes pensive. And rightly so. “We are three brothers — two are elder to me. But all of us are visually challenged. My elder brothers have done plus two. They are sitting idle at home, hoping to get jobs. But who gives jobs without political backing? he asks.

He says that he is indebted to his two student friends, Ravjot Singh and Kapil Pandey, who inspired him to continue his studies. While the former is a student at the local Government College for Boys, the latter is studying at the Delhi School of Economics. “Both of them boosted my morale,” he says.

His father looks after their ancestral apple orchard in Kulu and brings up the family. “My mother is illiterate”, he says.

Mr Thakur says that he is also indebted to his teacher, Ms Harinder Kaur, who taught him at school. “She is my guide, my teacher and my friend”, he adds.

He recalls that one day a girl by chance enquired from him about his rank in the B.Ed. entrance test. The next day she again met him and told him that she remained under depression the whole day. “Students should seek inspiration from visually challenged persons like me. They should not get depressed”, he advises.

Accompanied by another visually challenged boy, Bishan Singh, a student of BA (Part I) at the local Sector 11 Government College, Mr Thakur says that politics and sports interest him. “I am deeply interested in analysing situations”, he says.

Does he think that he will get a job. His prompt reply is: “Hope sustains life”.


12-yr-old boy crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
A 12-year-old child was crushed to death by a speeding truck on the road dividing Industrial Area from Colony No 4 here this evening.

According to the information, Sunil Kumar of Colony No 4, was killed when his bicycle was crushed by a truck (HR-37A-2441) at about 5.30 PM. It is learnt that the child was run over when he was trying to cross the road.

It is alleged that the driver of the truck, Krishan Chand, a resident of Dadua village, was driving at a break-neck speed. Eyewitnesses said that the driver was unable to stop the truck even as he saw the child trying to cross the road.

The driver has now been arrested by the police and a case has been registered against him. The truck has also been impounded.

As news of the accident spread, thousands of residents of the colony took to the streets in protest against the failure of the city traffic police for its maintenance of traffic in Industrial Area. Angry residents even tried to set the truck afire, but were controlled by the police. They said that this was not the fist time that children of the area were victims of hit-and-run accidents by the speeding vehicles.

Residents said that a number of trucks coming to various industries in the area remained parked on the roads and were never challaned or removed by the traffic police. The SDM, Mr Ganesh Bharti, too, reached the spot and it was only after he assured the residents of action against the truck driver and compensation to the family of the deceased that the residents were pacified.

Meanwhile, in a press release, the Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha has criticised the Chandigarh police on its failure to implement traffic rules in the area.


‘Helmet not compulsory though very much desirable’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Principals of the girls colleges in the city today clarified that although it was not compulsory, the students had been strongly advised to wear helmets while driving two-wheelers.

Earlier, it had been reported in some local dailies that principals of certain girls colleges had decided to make it compulsory for their students to wear helmets.

“It is not in our jurisdiction to enforce wearing of helmets. All we can do is advise our students that it will be in their best interest if they use helmets.” says Dr A.C. Vaid of GGDSD College, a co-educational college in Sector 32. Kanika Gupta, a 21-year-old final year BCA student of the college, had died in a road accident earlier this year.

Most of the colleges have made efforts to create awareness among the girl students about helmets. “We have put up a notice and had also made an announcement on the first day of the session and now it is for the girls themselves to heed to it.” says Ms Vijalakshmi, Principal, Government College for Girls Sector 11.

But the ‘advice’ seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Very few girl students prefer to use helmets. Girls continue to zip in and out of college on their scooters totally oblivious to the principals’ efforts. Many of them are not even aware that the college principals have asked them to wear helmets.

“The students have been told about helmets but very few actually use them and till the UT Administration gives permission, we cannot do anything about enforcing the use of helmets.” says Ms Mohini Sharma, Principal, Government College for Girls, Sector 42.

A senior official in the Administration, however, states that till the courts take a decision on the matter, no orders can be passed. But “if the college principals are serious about the issue they do not need the Administration’s permission to ensure that their advise is heeded to. The students are mature, all it will require is some convincing and things can change.”

Ms Satinder Dhillon, Principal, Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, seems to agree. “The college principals cannot enforce girl students to use helmets since women have been exempted from wearing helmets but efforts are being made by us at the college level to ensure that our students are safe on the roads. We are calling the students in groups to the principal’s office and convincing them that wearing helmets can save their life.” she says.

In the end, girls wearing helmets to colleges or not, will depend on how much personal interest the college principals and teachers take in the safety of their students. “But many of the woman teachers of the college also do not wear helmets. There goes one.” points out a student of GGDSD College. “If they have to convince their students, it has to be through example also.”

The college faculty members are, on the other hand, of the view that parents should be convincing their daughters to wear helmets. “Look, the difference between the girls who wear helmets and those who do not is that of conviction. And it is a conviction which can be easily inculcated. Whether we at the college do it or parents do it at home, both ways it will be a service to society .” says a woman college teacher, who insisted that she be referred to as someone who wears a helmet on her way to the college.


More seats, new service for air travellers
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Within a week of the introduction of a special evening Shatabdi Express from August 25, the air service on the Chandigarh-New Delhi sector, too, is poised for upgradation.

Jet Airways has decided to replace the smaller ATR72-500 aircraft operating on the New Delhi-Chandigarh-New Delhi route with Boeing 737 aircraft from September 1, thus providing more seats for air travellers of the region.

The ATR72-500 aircraft so spared will be used to bring Ludhiana, the second Punjab city after Amritsar, on the air map of the country. The airline has also acquired a new, its sixth ATR 72-500 aircraft, for the Ludhiana operations.

It has decided to introduce the New Delhi-Ludhiana-New Delhi flight from September 2. The new flight will operate on all days except Saturdays.

The new ATR 72-500 aircraft is a twin-engine, cost efficient aircraft.

For Jet Airways, Ludhiana will become the 43rd destination in the country. The demand for an air service between Punjab’s “Manchester” and the Union Capital has been pending for a long time after Vayudoot discontinued its feeder services several years ago. A few private airlines which operated smaller aircraft on the Ludhiana-New Delhi sector also discontinued their operations for lack of aircraft and infrastructure.

The new New Delhi-Ludhiana-New Delhi flight will also enable industrialists and businessmen from Ludhiana to get connecting flights to all major towns in the country besides providing international travellers , especially business delegations, with an opportunity to travel direct to Ludhiana to visit manufacturing units and wholesale suppliers of hosiery, bicycles and cycle parts, motor parts, industrial tools and agricultural machinery and parts.

The New Delhi-Ludhiana flight will leave the Union Capital at 12.45 p.m. and reach Ludhiana at 13.55 hours and leave Ludhiana at 1430 hours to reach Delhi at 1540 hours.

By enhancing the capacity on the New Delhi-Chandigarh-New Delhi sector by introducing Boeing 737 aircraft, the airline has met a long-standing demand of both the business community and the travel trade of the city and its satellite industrial towns of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

The aircraft to be introduced on the New Delhi-Chandigarh sector will be next-generation Boeing 737-700 aircraft. It will have both the economy class and club premier (business class) with a total seating capacity of 122, including 20 seats in the club premier class.

After the introduction of Boeing B 737-700 aircraft on the New Delhi-Chandigarh sector, there will be a slight modification in the schedule also. The aircraft will now depart from Delhi at 2 p.m. to reach here at 2.40 p.m. and leave for Delhi at 3.10 p.m.

Jet Airways, which has 28 new and next-generation Boeing B 737-400/700/800 and six modern ATR 72-500 turbo-prop aircraft, is perhaps the only operator of the youngest B737 fleet in South-East Asia.


Amendments in Water Disputes Act opposed
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 16
To oppose the recent amendments in the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, the AISAD Panthic Morcha would coordinate with regional parties at the Centre. A programmee in this regard would be announced at a meeting of the Panthic Morcha at Amritsar on August 18, said Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, a former Member of Parliament here today.

Prof Chandumajra said the morcha after consulting the legal luminaries to find out whether the Centre could amend the Act without any amendment in Constitution.

The amendment in the Act by the Union Government would allow it to get the water disputes settled within stipulated period by setting up a tribunal.

The morcha was also planning to meet the President to lodge its protest over the issue. Prof Chandumajra said the amendment was an indication of the increasing interference of the Centre in the state issues. The amendment would disturb the riparian rights of the states.

In the coming assembly elections, he said the contest would be between SAD, Congress and the Panthic Morcha.

“Any candidate of the parties allying with the morcha who had the potential to defeat the SAD candidate would be given the ticket”, said Prof Chandumajra.

He said the state machinery was tired of the Chief Minister and would not side with him in the coming elections.


Functions mark I-Day celebrations
Our Correspondents

Chandigarh, August 16
Independence Day celebrations were held at different schools here today. Sacred Heart Convent School celebrated independence day with enthusiasm as students gave brief speeches on patriotism. Cultural items included songs and dances showing different regional and cultural characteristics.

Golden Bells Public School, Sohana, celebrated the day on the school premises from August 14 to August 16. Junior wing of the school presented a patriotic fancy dress show . Students participated in group songs, dances and poem recitations. A quiz competition based on freedom struggle was organised for the senior students.

St Francis Sai School, Ram Darbar, also celebrated Independence Day with fervour and enthusiasm. Sweets were distributed among students.

Independence Day was celebrated by Lions Club Chandigarh at Lions Bhavan, Sector 18-D. The president of the club hoisted the National Flag .

Deaf and dumb children presented parade and cultural programme on the occasion. Sweets and fruits were distributed among the children.

Lions Club, Chandigarh Greater, celebrated the Independence Day at Lions multipurpose project building, Karsan. National Flag was hosted by Charter President, Mr Ranvir Uppal. The school children of Government Model Middle School, adopted by the club, and the students of Lion Sewing School presented the cultural programme.

Sweets were distributed on the occasion. The club also gave scholarships to nine meritorious students and prizes to the participants. More than 50 persons were tested at diabetes detection camp.Back


Heavy traffic and bad road
Tribune News Service

The Kajheri crossing on outer Dakshin Marg, where heavy and light vehicles mingle, is one of the major accident spots in the city.

Though police records mention only two major accidents at this junction so far this year, sources say that as many as three or four minor accidents take place here every week.

In one of the two major accidents that have been reported, a cyclist was crushed to death by a bus, and in the other two persons were injured.

With the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 43, just a stone’s throw from here, there is generally a heavy rush of traffic. Sources in the Transport Department point out that during the rush hours (7.30 a.m. to 9.00 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.), long lines of buses are seen either leaving or entering the bus stand.

This is also the time for the residents of Kajheri, Colony No 5 and the surrounding areas, either to leave for work or to return home. Traffic from the satellite township of SAS Nagar adds to the rush.

With the drivers of heavy vehicles unwilling to let two wheelers pass, the latter try to snake their way through and that results in accidents.

With traffic police unable to make its presence felt in these areas — they say they do not have enough staff — traffic rules and regulations are violated with impunity. Thus a number of accidents take place here.

Also, stray cattle and other animals abound the place, which often cause accidents. The road is also in a dilapidated condition and it needs an acrobat to go along this road. Also, there are no central verges, nor do the streetlights function properly. All these factors lead to accidents.


Amend archaic laws to promote horticulture’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Nearly 37 per cent of the total 149 million metric tonnes of horticultural produce of the country is lost in post-harvest operations, says Mr J.P. Negi, Managing Director, National Horticulture Board (NHB).

Talking to newsmen here today, Mr Negi said that though “horticulture is the most attractive area of agricultural diversification, only 9.24 per cent of the total cultivable area of the country is under horticulture.”

At present, he said exports of horticultural products, including tea, coffee, spices, fresh fruit and vegetables, were worth Rs 6,485 crore while imports, including fruit and vegetable seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables and processed fruit and vegetables, were worth Rs 1,450 crore.

“India has tremendous potential for the growth of horticulture. It has to amend certain existing archaic Acts and other laws, including those pertaining to excise, forests and narcotic drugs, to facilitate the growth of horticulture,” Mr Negi said maintaining that a wide product base, high volume of production, high domestic demand, strategic geographic location and abundant sunlight were the main strengths of Indian horticulture.

The main areas of growth could be value addition and product formulation, liquids and beverages, health drinks, pulp and other semi-fluids or liquids, culinary products, pharmaceuticals, oleoresin, cosmetics, perfumery and confectionery besides the recycling of waste.

A country like China, he said, was exporting herbs and medicinal plants worth Rs 24,000 crore annually after acquiring knowledge about ayurveda from India while we had been left far behind.

One of the major drawbacks in India was that most of the horticultural produce was for table consumption only and was unfit for processing.

To promote horticulture, the board had introduced several innovative schemes, including that involving back-ended investment subsidy. The thrust areas of the board had been research and development and the provision of the cold chain from the farm to the consumer. At present, there was no cold chain from the farm to the market. As many as 327 projects had already been sanctioned with a capacity of 16 lakh tonnes and a capital investment of Rs 444 crore in the construction, expansion and modernisation of the cold store facility for horticulture produce during the past 18 months, he said.

He said that northern states like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir could benefit in a major way from the NHB schemes. At present, more than 100 companies in South India had benefited from the board schemes in the field of floriculture in general and cut flowers in particular alone.

The board was also facilitating research, technology development and transfer, establishment of nutritional gardens in the rural areas and market information service for horticulturists in the country.Back


SAD men launch campaign to remove Riar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) here today stalled the sacking of two general secretaries of the local unit and their suspension from the party ordered by the local unit Chief, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, for backing up Ms Harjinder Kaur for the post of Mayor against another Akali candidate and the Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohinder Singh.

This was communicated to deposed general secretaries Mr N.S. Minhas, Mr H.S. Sahni, Ms Harjinder Kaur, and 12 other partymen who met the national party general secretary, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, here today.

The reconciliatory stand of the SAD High Command was seen as an attempt by the party not to allow factional fight affect Punjab Assembly elections as the Punjab Chief Minister and Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was said to be worried over such developments in Jalandhar, Chandigarh and Hoshiarpur.

The local Akali delegation, who had earlier established contact with several Punjab ministers and Mr Badungar and had warned to launch a parallel local unit loyal to Mr Badal, have now launched a campaign to remove Mr Riar, sources said.

They said that Mr. Badungar informed the delegation that Mr Riar would be told in couple of days to accommodate his party colleagues and if he did not listen then the party would pass its verdict on his position, the sources said.



IAF to begin rehearsals for Presidential review
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Indian Air Force is to begin dry runs and rehearsals for the forthcoming Presidential review 45 days before the grand event, scheduled to be held here on October 17, it is learnt.

According to sources, 100 aircraft of all types, from the most vintage to the latest, will be parked in the airfield’s dispersal bay as well as the runway for a static display, while another 98 aircraft will be taking part in the fly-past.

To make ground and air space available for the coming event, the locally based transport squadrons will shift their operations to the adjoining Ambala airbase 10 days before the event.

While the President, Mr K R Narayanan, Defence Minister Jaswant Singh, service chiefs and other senior military and civilian dignitaries will attend the review, the presence of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has still not been confirmed, with sources indicating that he may not attend the review.

Arrangements are also being made to cater for tea and snacks for about 2000 persons after the review and for lunch for about 400 select persons.

Meanwhile, repair and renovation work is in full swing at the station. The major problem the authorities are facing is flooding of areas near the Air Traffic Control complex and the Officers’ Mess.


Camps on banking facilities
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 16
Stressing on the need to create awareness on various banking facilities available to the farming community, the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, said that the district administration, in collaboration with banks, would organise camps in villages.

She was speaking after releasing the kisan credit cards policy for the district at a function organised by Punjab National Bank here today.

“The idea of this credit card is to release the farmer from the clutches of the money-lender while making arrangements of finances at much lower interest rates. The scheme and the state government have a common goal in this regard,” she added.

Lamenting the fact that there was not enough awareness among farmers of the credit card facility available, Mr VJ Mattoo, Senior Regional Manager of PNB, said that they would hold a meeting of the farmers in the villages and also address them at the meeting of the Kisan Club.

The lead district manager, Mr VK Bakhshi, said that as many as 10,742 kisan credit cards were issued in the district while another 10,833 would be covered in the next three years, the target for the first year being fixed at 40 per cent of this total.

He stated that under the scheme all farmers with a minimum of one acre of land could avail themselves of the services of the credit card. “Farmers with smaller holdings can join hands and authorise one farmer to interact with the bank. Also, our interest is as low as 11.5 per cent. As an incentive, we provide Rs 25,000 credit without asking for a security,” he said.


Revision of poll rolls ordered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Election Commission of India has ordered a special intensive revision of the electoral rolls with January 1, 2002, as the qualifying date.

According to an official release, house-to-house verification of the existing entries in the rolls, inclusion of fresh names and deletion of the names of the ineligible voters will start from September 12 and go on till October 22. The publication of the draft rolls will be on November 20, while claims and objections can be filed up to December 5. Disposal of claims and objections will be on January 3, 2002, and the rolls will be finally published on January 24, 2002.

The revision of the poll rolls will be carried out in Haryana under the overall supervision of the Chief Electoral Officer of the state.Back


NMCP president joins Samata Party
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Ms Poonam Sharma, president of the Nationalist Mahila Congress Party (NMCP), along with her supporters, today joined the Samata Party.

Addressing her decision to quit the NMCP here, Ms Sharma accused the local NCP chief, Mr Gurbachan Singh, of adopting a “dictatorial attitude” in running the party and the projecting Ms Paramjit Kaur Dhillon as the “parallel” NMCP chief.

The educated and hardworking party workers were being sidelined and the party high command was turning a blind eye to the activities of Mr Gurbachan Singh, she alleged.

Meanwhile, Mr Hem Raj, president of the local unit of the Samata Party, has appointed Ms Sharma as the president of women wing of the party. The office-bearers of the other wings of the party, including the students wing, will be announced soon, Mr Hem Raj added.


Residents welfare bodies meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
A meeting of various residents welfare associations of Sector 41 was held here today under the chairmanship of Mr R.K. Mann, president of the LIG Residents Welfare Association, Sector 41-D.

According to a press note, the issue regarding the formation of a coordination committee of the association was discussed in detail. Mr Mann and Mr R.S. Heer were elected chairman and president of the committee, respectively.

It was also decided that two office-bearers from each association would be the members of the committee.


Sapling plantation drive at Golf Club
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
A sapling plantation drive was launched at the Chandigarh Golf Club yesterday. Members of the club joined in to start the plantation on the 15th hole. The captain of the club, Mr Sandeep Sandhu, explained that over 400 saplings were being planted at various locations on the Golf Course.

Saplings, being planted, included some medicinal plants like neem besides a large number of flowering trees like lagerstroemia (purple flower), casia siamea (yellow flowers), peltophorium fereugenen (copper red flower) etc. The plantation has been planned to line fairways with different colour trees which will flower at different times of the year.


Labourer electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
A 20-year-old labourer was electrocuted in the Mauli Jagran area here today. He was engaged in the construction work of a house when the wooden plank he was carrying touched an electric cable.

The police has registered a case of negligence against the owner of the house, Mr Maniram, under Section 304-A of the IPC.

Power failure in housing complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Power supply to parts of the Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, failed this evening for more than four hours. Sources said the failure occurred due to over loading of the system as the transformer failed. Power supply in the area was not restored till close to midnight.


Special satsang organised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The local centre of Gurudev Siddhpeeth, Ganeshpuri, district Thane, Mumabi, organised a special satsang on Wednesday to mark the divine initiation of great saint, Swami Muktananda of Ganeshpuri. About 250 devotees. Devotees enjoyed and appreciated the three-hour-long satsang which included chanting, discourse and mantra-jap (Om Namah Shivaya) and meditation. Mrs Vimal Utreja and Miss Kanika Jain shared their blissful and touching experience at the”Silence Summer Retreat” held at mother Ashram Ganeshpuri.


Doctor held for graft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The CBI sleuths today caught a doctor in the Sector 16 General Hospital while she was demanding and accepting a bribe for preparing a fake medical certificate. Dr Asha Kiran of the Department of Medicine in the General Hospital was caught while accepting and demanding a bribe of Rs 4000. Sources in the CBI said she had demanded the gratification for issuing a false certificate to a person. The latter was to present the certificate in a court of law showing that he was suffering from a heart ailment, so that he could obtain a bail.

CBI sources said the doctor was a habitual offender and used to issue false certificates to persons accused in various cases on a payment basis. Back


Scooter stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Two cases of theft have been registered in different parts of the city during the past 24 hours.

A scooter (CH-03D-6423) was stolen from outside a house in Sector 38-D on August 14, while two suitcases containing clothes, a camera and 12 tolas of gold ornaments were stolen from a counter in Sector 17 ISBT last morning. The police has registered cases under section 379 of the IPC.

Burglary: Cash worth Rs 20,000 and gold and silver ornaments were stolen from an Attawa residence last morning. A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

One arrested: Kuldip Singh was arrested on charges of gambling at a public place and recovered Rs 995 from him. A case under sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered.

Five held: The police has apprehended five persons, including a woman, for liquor smuggling. All of them have been booked under various sections of the Excise Act.

Raj Kumari was arrested from Maloya Colony last night and five pouches of Hero whisky were recovered. Around 260 pouches of Hero whisky were also recovered from Vijay, Rahnbir, Rajbir Singh, Jhujjar Singh last night.


Electrocuted: An unidentified burglar was electrocuted while stealing transmission lines from a high tension cable near Mauli village here. According to the police, the burglar was removing power cable when there was a power cut. But suddenly power came and the man was electrocuted.

The body of the burglar, aged around 30, was noticed by villagers who informed the police.


Car helpline service launched
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Speed India Car Helplines, a company which pioneered in providing 24-hour car helpline services called “Cross Roads” to road users in Delhi and the National Capital Region two years ago, has now decided to launch the service in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. The service will be formally launched by the UT Home Secretary, Mr R.S.Gujral, at a function to be held at Chandigarh Press Club here tomorrow.

According to a spokesman of the company, ‘Cross Roads’ now receives more than 200 service calls a day. Hence, the decision to launch 24-hour car helpline for general motorists of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.

Explaining the working of the service, the spokesman says that a fully computerised operator in control room receives a distress call from a member and deputes the nearest service van to attend the call as per the landmark and location specified by the member. The control room verifies the member’s data from the computer before instructing the service van.

The vans are manned 24 hours a day by qualified technician and helper.

The annual membership charges have been kept at Rs 499 for standard membership and Rs 999 for a premium membership. 

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