Tuesday, March 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Another victim at dowry’s altar
Mani Majra girl succumbs to burn injuries
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 4
Baljit Kaur, a 19-year old married girl who was allegedly burned by her husband and in-laws yesterday at Kharar, succumbed to her injuries at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, here this morning. The in-laws were allegedly demanding a scooter from the bride.

Rulda Ram and his wife, Karnailo, father-in-law and mother-in-law, respectively, of the deceased and residents of Kharar, who had yesterday brought the victim to the GMCH, reportedly tried to escape from the hospital after Baljit was declared dead.

But the fleeing couple were reportedly captured by the relatives and friends of the victim and were kept in a TATA truck till the duo, along with the victim’s husband, Darshan Singh, were taken away by the Kharar police.

Darshan was said to under influence of some injectable drug and was lying in a semi-conscious state in the truck. Brother of the deceased, Kuldeep Singh, alleged that Darshan’s parents had forcibly given an injection to their son so that he could not give any statement to the police.

The relatives of the victim and police sources said, Baljit was doused with kerosene before being set ablaze. She was then brought to the GMCH by her in-laws where she struggled for life last night and died at around 9.45 am today. Baljit’s parents are residents of Mani Majra. They only came to know about the death of their daughter last evening.

The accused, on the other hand, claimed that Bajit tried to commit suicide by burning herself. Rulda Singh admitted that though his wife and Baljit had heated arguments yesterday but claimed they did not commit the crime. According to him, ‘‘Baljit poured kerosene over her head and the entire body and burned herself. We brought her to the hospital’’.

Kala, another brother of the victim, countered Rulda’s version and asked, ‘‘If my sister poured kerosene on her head, then why did not her face burn?’’.

Jasminder Singh, a cousin of the deceased, alleged that Baljit Kaur was often harassed and maltreated by her in-laws. Ms Surinder Kaur, mother of the deceased, was in no position to talk.

Senior police officials of the Chandigarh Police, including DSP S.C Sagar, were also present on the spot. Later, the Kharar police took away the accused.

A case under Sections 302 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against Darshan Singh, Rulda Rama and Karnailo at Kharar.



Unconditional love — that’s Sister Nirmala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Sister Nirmala, the Superior General of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, paid a brief visit to the city to its local unit, Shanti Dan in Sector 23.

The Sister had been invited to attend the CBCI meeting at Jalandhar. On her way back to Kolkata, she stopped over to spend time with The Chandigarh family. Ms Punam Khaira Sidhu, a volunteer in the home, says that she was greatly privileged to see Sister Nirmala at close quarters. Sitting in the little room that serves as a reception area in Shanti Dan, her eyes brimmed over with unconditional love and empathy. She was dressed in the order’s uniform of coarse white, blue bordered, handspun cotton sari. Her small feet bore cracks and were shod in rubber chappals. But the aura surrounding her was bright with peace and purity. When she spoke she radiated love. She said,” Love demands that we give until it hurts not from our abundance but from our wants.” Her message for the people was “ God loves each one of you tenderly. Trust Him totally and seek His will in your love. His will is to love one another as God loves you”.

This frail, tender, woman presides over 676 convents in 129 countries. Sister Nirmala handed out what she called Mother Teresa’s visiting cards, and narrated a story for how it came about. A visiting business man calling on the Nobel Prize winning missionary, apparently handed out his business card while asking for the Mother. She wrote down a small prayer and handed it over to him, saying, “This is my business card”. The card reads, “The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; the fruit of service is peace.

The mission of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity is to do all they can for the poorest of the poor. They reach out to take the old, the destitute, the disabled and retarded and abandoned children into their homes and look after them, surrounded by the love of the Lord.

Ms Sidhu says that a visit to the convent in Sector 23, “Shanti Dan”, always “rejuvenates me in spirit and mind. I always return full of faith in all that’s good and pure.” The poorest of the poor , the sick , the abandoned have a home here. Babies abandoned at birth are nurtured and cared for. The stench of neglect does not enter here. Instead, there are smiling faces and love pervading every nook of the home from the cabbage patch outside, to the nursery with the babies fragrant with talc. There is a beautiful statue of Mother Mary in the grotto at the entrance.

While she was exceedingly articulate about order and the work being done by the Missionaries of Charity, Sister Nirmala refused to talk about herself. But a browse through news archives yielded the following information. Press releases had stated that Sister Nirmala, was elected almost unanimously as the New Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa was present for the election and blessed Sister Nirmala. Sister Nirmala, 63, was never groomed as a successor to lead the order which has 4,500 nuns in more than 129 countries. Pope John Paul II had advised the nuns, in a letter, that the Missionaries should be led by a woman of deep spirituality. Her selection was unanimous by 132 senior nuns in a closed door vote. It ended an 8-week selection effort.



Wrong paper stumps plus two students
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, March 4
Worse fears of any student of preparing for a wrong paper gripped the candidates appearing for plus two CBSE examinations when Hindi elective paper, instead of core, was placed in front of them. Only after much running around, and tense moments, did 20-odd students realise that the problem had occurred as wrong code had been filled in the examination form. As a result of the “mistake’, their paper was delayed by over an hour.

It all started at 10.30 a.m. Students ready to take the exam walked into the examination centre in a Sector 9 school and took their seats. As their anxious hands picked up the papers hoping to find questions with easy answers, their hearts sank, literally. Instead of finding Hindi core paper, they saw questions from books prescribed for Hindi elective.

For vital few minutes, the students, paralysed with fear, failed to react, then looked at each other’s faces before realising that the mistake was not of any individual candidate but something had actually gone wrong. One student got up, followed by another.

Within minutes all 20 students were on their feet. No wonder, confusion broke loose in the centre. The invigilators immediately informed the teachers concerned who promised to take up the matter with the CBSE authorities. The students, meanwhile, were requested to keep their cool.

As the officials acted and reacted to the situation, the students rushed out of the centres to the STD booths. They impatiently waited in the queues and after laying their hands on the telephone sets, called up their families. They could be heard explaining the situation to their parents before asking them to come to the school not before 2 o’ clock for picking them up. Some other students, with their books open, rushed to the bus stop opposite the market for last moment revision.

After the students returned to the school, they were told that the matter had been sorted out with the authorities and the right question paper would be placed before them within a few minutes. At about 11 am, they heaved a sigh of relief as the examination commenced again, this time with Hindi — Core paper being handed over to them.

When contacted, Assistant Secretary of CBSE Rajbir Singh said the confusion had occurred as the students, or the school, had filled in the wrong code number in the examination form. “We took prompt action and managed to supply the correct question papers within no time,” he asserted.



UT cadre officer to be SSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The post of Senior Superintendent of Police in Chandigarh police is expected to go back to the UT cadre of the Indian Police Service (IPS). Following terrorism in Punjab, an IPS officer of the Punjab cadre has been occupying the post for the past about 12 years.

Police functionaries reveal that this is the result of pressure being exerted by UT cadre IPS officers. Intense lobbying in this regard is on at various levels, with certain officers trying to pull strings with the Centre as well.

The post is expected to become vacant soon, when the incumbent, Mr Parag Jain, a Punjab cadre IPS officer, who is due for promotion, moves out. Mr Jain, a 1988-batch officer, is reported to be sixth on the seniority list for promotion. With six IPS officers in Punjab having been promoted to the rank of IG, as many vacancies at the rank of DIG have been created.

Since the inception of the UT police, the post of the SSP was stipulated to be a UT cadre post. However, during militancy in Punjab, a Punjab cadre IPS officer was appointed to this post. The reasons behind this move was that Punjab cadre officers would be more apt and experienced to deal with terrorism than UT cadre officers, who were then considered “outsiders” to the world of terrorism. It was also stated that Punjab cadre officers would be in a better position to co-ordinate with their counterparts in the state.

Mr Sumedh Singh Saini was the first Punjab cadre IPS officer to be appointed the UT SSP. Since then, the convention of appointing a Punjab cadre officer to this post has carried on. Mr R. P. Singh, who later served as the UT IGP, was the last UT cadre officer to hold the post of SSP in the city.

There are five posts of IPS officers in the Chandigarh police. While the IGP, Mr B. S. Bassi, DIG, Mr Ajay Kashyap and the SP (Operations), Mr H. G. S. Dhaliwal, are UT cadre officers, the SSP, Mr Parag Jain, is a Punjab cadre officer and the SP (Traffic and Security), Mr Balbir Singh, is a Haryana cadre officer. In addition, two posts of sub-divisional police officers are earmarked for UT cadre IPS probationers for training.

The present SP (Operations), Mr Dhaliwal, along with another IPS probationer, Mr Sagar Preet Hooda, had earlier served at these posts. Following the completion of probation, Mr Hooda was posted to Arunachal Pradesh, while Mr Dhaliwal took over as SP (Operations) here.

Police functionaries reveal that one of the reasons cited for re-appointing UT cadre officers to the post of the SSP is to ensure smooth functioning and better communication amongst the top brass. “It has been observed in the past that at times a clash of interests or extraneous pressures have created ripples in the senior echelons,” a senior DSP commented.



Admn gives in to women, office timings unchanged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Are the timings of the offices of the Chandigarh Administration not changing due to pressure from women employees? Seems strange, but it is true that woman power has played a major role in preventing the scheduled change in timings.

Office timings in Chandigarh were to change from a 9 am to 5 pm schedule to a new one starting 9.30 am and ending 5.30 pm. This was aimed at reducing the traffic on the city roads by staggering timings of government offices. Offices of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh were to participate in this scheme. This was to change in November.

This was stayed as women employees represented to the Adviser that they had to go back on two-wheelers and it was dark by 5.30 pm in winters. Taking a lenient view, the decision was held in abeyance to accommodate women.

With summer approaching, the file to change the timings was moved again, but woman power held sway again and the timings would continue as before. Sources said women employees had met several senior officers and once again an administrative decision was held back.

An agitated official said probably women employees of the Administration had not been told that they had to commute the shortest possible distance in one of the safest cities in the country. Compare this with the condition of women working in Punjab and Haryana, several of whom are daily passengers from nearby towns like Kalka, Parwanoo, Ambala, Ludhiana and Ropar. Was it not dark by the time they reached home, questioned the official.



Baljeet Kapoor to head PEC
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The UT Administration cleared the name of Dr Baljeet Kapoor, Principal, Engineering College, Murthal, as the Principal of Punjab Engineering College here today.

Sources said his appointment letter was issued this evening and he was likely to assume office in a couple of days. Speaking on telephone from Murthal, Dr Baljeet Kapoor, specialising in environmental engineering, said though he had heard of his appointment, an official word from the Administration was yet to come in.

He added, “I passed out from PEC in 1969 and will be the first student to be principal in my alma mater. It gives me great pride to head an institution which has shaped my destiny.”

He received a letter from the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), informing him that he had been selected as principal. “I am waiting for the letter from the Administration, confirming that my name has been cleared. I will join immediately, forgoing one month’s salary once the Haryana Government relieves me,” he stated.

His mother, Ms R.K. Jaswant Singh, a former school principal and state awardee, said, “His friends have been calling me up to tell me of his new assignment. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the appointment letter comes in fast. We are trying to contain our happiness till we have the letter in our hands.”

A former principal herself, she said, “I do not want him to be principal as administration is a tough job to handle. I know that he deserves the post and position. He has worked hard to establish himself.” She recalled that Dr Kapoor was never interested in engineering, but he went in for it for the sake of his parents.

The appointment comes an year after Principal Rajnish Prakash retired and the post fell vacant. Later, Dr R.S. Gupta was appointed acting Principal.



Chairs await Punjab ministers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
All is set for the swearing-in of the new Council of Ministers of Punjab tomorrow at Panjab Raj Bhavan.

Seating arrangements have been made for nearly 3500 invitees to the ceremony under a vast shamiana erected on the lawns of Raj Bhavan. Conscious of the fact that a large number of people from all over the state will like to personally see their near and dear ones being sworn in as ministers by the Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) arrangements have also been made for accommodating another 4,000 persons who can watch the ceremony while standing.

The shamiana was erected and chairs laid for the ceremony on Saturday, which were drenched by incessant rain that day. However, the last-minute postponement of the ceremony due to the death of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha gave enough time for them to dry it out in sunny weather on Sunday and Monday.

The authorities are determined not to allow a repetition of the chaotic scenes witnessed at Raj Bhavan when the new Chief Minister was sworn in on February 27. Entry will be allowed into the Raj Bhavan only on invitation cards.



Life’s back to normal in Kansal
Nishikant Dwivedi

Kansal, March 4
Life is back to normal in Kansal village. Absence of masks over the faces of residents is a clear indication that people have overcome plague fear. Students are again going to school. Employees are again going to work.

The village, which has been in the news for a death due to plague, is still awaiting removal of filth and garbage. The Chief Medical Officer, Ropar, Ms Harinder Rana, when contacted, said no specific problem of filth and garbage had come to her notice. She added that cleaning of the village was the job of the panchayat. The sarpanch of the village could not be contacted.

The choked nullah at the entrance of the village cries for attention of health officials. The nullah was as it was three years ago, alleged a government employee living in the village. About the nullah, the CMO said she would look into the matter.

“The plague scare has gone, but if the authorities concerned do not clean our village, other disease like malaria or dengue may strike the village”, remarked Mr Satpal Singh, a resident of the village.

Another resident of the village, Mr Harsharan Singh Chawala, irked over the non-removal of filth and garbage from the village, asked, “Are health officials awaiting another disaster to hit the village?”

The situation is worse in the adjacent village of Naya Gaon and Janta Colony. The rains past week have only added to the woes of the residents of the area. Residents said for the past several years, the health officials had not bothered to improve hygiene in the area.



First-aid training for city cops
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
In order to reduce roadside accident trauma, city policemen will now be trained in providing basic first-aid.

Realising that there is need to provide basic medical aid during a roadside emergency situation by the police, the city police chief has decided to include basic first-aid training in the curriculum of the next refresher course for the city’s police jawans, scheduled to start next month.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr B.S. Bassi, IG City, stated that although some basic training had been given to the complete force on joining, there was need to refresh that training and include some other medical aid training, keeping in mind the specific conditions in the city.

The average time taken to be able to pick up a n accident victim from the spot to a the nearest hospital was low. There was no need for complicated and time-consuming aid knowledge to be given to the city police. Stating that in such a situation, the jawans had to be trained in two important and basic things, Mr Bassi said, “The jawan has to know how to pick up a person who is injured in an accident from the road and to make him or her to lie in a comfortable position in the police control room vehicle. The second is for the jawan to know how to stop excessive blood loss.”

The logic of teaching these two steps gains importance as most PCR vehicles are Gypsies. Utmost care is needed to make the accident victim lie in a position victim lie in a position in the vehicle which is not harmful to him or will not increase the duress the person is in.

Doctors dealing with roadside accidents and related injuries also reiterate that provision of immediate basic relief can mean the difference between permanent deformity and total cure. “The first hour after an accident is the golden hour for the accident victim. If a person is able to provide the accident victim with proper basic first-aid and make him or her reach a medical care facility, most of them can recover totally from the ill-effects of the accident,” said Dr G.S. Kochhar, President of the Chandigarh state branch of the Indian Medical Association.

The city police, which deals with more than 10 fatal accidents per month, is trained to pick up an accident victim and take him or her to the nearest hospital. Some police personnel also know how flow of blood is to be stopped, but most of them state that a refresher course is required for them to be able to do whatever they do the right way.

Since many PCR vans are also extended vans and accident victims are easily handled in these, the policemen on motor cycles call these vans in case of an accident. “The average reaction time of the police in case of an accident on any of the city roads is less than three to four minutes. Since we have a large number of vans manning city roundabouts, the city police ends up being the first to reach an accident spot,” said Mr H.G.S. Dhaliwal, SP Operations. “In a country like India, where trauma is basically related to physical injuries in an accident situation, the most effective and economical way of providing fast relief will be to have all our men trained in first-aid. The police calling for the ambulance and waiting for it to reach will waste vital time, in which the accident victim can easily be taken to the nearest medical care centre,” he said.



Govt continues to dilly-dally on AJTs
Pritam Bhullar

IT was 17 years ago that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) started negotiating for the acquisition of an Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT). In 1991, the choice was shortlisted to two aircraft — the British Hawk and the Franco-German Alfa Jet.

Soon after that, the IAF had opted for the British Hawk because this trainer suited the structure of the IAF. There was hardly anything that the MoD had to do after that except to give the final nod. The price of the Hawk was much lower than as compared to what it is now.

That decision-making is not our government’s forte can be seen from the fact that the MoD is more indecisive today than what it was in the late eighties. The negotiations for the Hawk trainer are stuck over its price now. Meanwhile, Czech Republic, Italy and Russia have also offered their AJTs.

There seems to be no likelihood of the IAF getting an AJT in the near future, for Defence Secretary Yogendra Narain, after the sixth meeting of the Indo-UK Defence Consultative Group (DCG) in New Delhi, said last week that “it would be difficult to give a time frame”.

The indecisiveness of the government has cost the IAF the loss of over 230 pilots and more than 570 aircraft in accidents because of the absence of an AJT to train our pilots for supersonic aircraft. The government is well aware of this fact, yet it is in no hurry to acquire an AJT. This is because in India politicians and bureaucrats are not accountable to anyone.

Defence Minister’s visits

The Defence Minister should visit troops in forward areas to see for himself the difficult conditions under which they are living and to have first-hand information of their problems. But if such visits become a matter of routine, they serve no useful purpose.

If the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, thinks that his frequent visits to Siachen and other high-altitude areas have made him a hero in the armed forces, he needs to correct his impression. For, a Defence Minister is only a political head and not a leader of troops. His job, therefore, is to get the Army its due from the government.

It is the responsibility of the military commanders at all levels to train their units and formations for war, look after their welfare and keep their morale high. No wonder then that on January 11, when the Army was ready to go to war, the Chief of the Army Staff, General S. Padmanabhan, in his press conference said: “I shall sustain morale and readiness till the end.”

Mr Fernandes should know that what makes him popular in the Army is what he does for the organisation and not his frequent visits to forward areas. What did not go well with the armed forces was the sacking of Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat summarily; making a tall promise in the beginning of January, 1999, that the Ministry of Defence would be restructured by the end of the same month and for announcing at Anandpur Sahib on April 10, 1999, that “one rank, one pension demand had been accepted in principle and its implementation was a matter of only a few days”. These are only a few of the many gaffes of Mr Fernandes.

Branding ex-servicemen anti-national?

According to Lucknow Police Circular No. ST/SSP 32/2001/4140 of May 2001, Mr B.B. Bakshi, SSP, Lucknow, has issued instructions to all the SHOs to prepare a register of certain ex-servicemen living in their respective areas.

The detailed instructions issued by Mr Bakshi also inter alia mention that there have been instances where “retired and serving military men were used as agents. Therefore, retired soldiers from the Army, Navy and Air Force, residing in your respective areas, should be listed”.

Piqued by circular, Brigadier Mohinder Singh (retd), president of the Indian Ex-servicemen League, New Delhi, has written to the Prime Minister on January 9, 2002: “I am constrained to bring to your notice a letter issued by SSP, Lucknow, to the SHOs branding the ex-servicemen as anti-national and directing the SHOs to keep an eye on them and to prepare their list. Sir, you will agree that this is a most unwarranted and damaging certificate issue to the ex-servicemen who have served their nation faithfully without caring for their lives. If an overall census is taken, it will clearly indicate that except for one or two cases, all the people arrested so far working for the ISI, are other than ex-servicemen.... I on behalf of the ex-servicemen, who feel aggrieved, strongly refute such charges and request you to kindly take suitable action against this SSP....”.

No doubt, the SSP’s letter is unwarranted. But then such a letter cannot be issued by an SSP unless he receives instructions from the higher authorities.



Shiv Khera coming on March 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Shiv Khera, international educator and motivator, business consultant and much sought after speaker, will be in Chandigarh on March 8 to launch the Punjabi version of his book “You Can Win” and address the gathering at Ebony.

Mr Khera has now earned the distinction of being the only author to have sold 5,00,000 copies of the book in two languages in India.

“Encouraged by the popular response to the English and Hindi editions of “You Can Win”, Macmillan India Ltd now plans to publish it in various regional languages in order to spread the message to every Indian,” said Mr Rajiv Beri, MD, Macmillan India.

“Macmillan India Ltd, publishers of the English language edition of “You Can Win” in India, is ready for the release of the book in Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi and Gujarati.



Police seeks help to curb crime
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Continuing with its efforts to bring down the crime rate in the city by carrying out extensive verification drives, the Chandigarh Police today asked the local leaders in the slums and colonies to assist the police in verifying the antecedents of dwellers living in the area.

The decision in this regard is significant as the police was facing problems in carrying out verification drives in slums due to constant influx and outflow of migrant population.

They have also been asked to cooperate with the local beat officers and to intimate them about fresh arrivals or the movement of any suspicious elements.

According to the police, in a large number of cases migrant population is believed to be involved. They added that a meeting of local leaders would soon be called followed by camps in the colonies to carry out the verification process.



3 lensmen honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Three local lensmen have been honoured for their work at the recently-concluded India Print Circuit, which is a series of six international exhibitions organised under the guidelines of the India International Photographic Council and Photographic Society of America.

Subhash Sapru’s coloured picture of a survivor of the devastating Kutch earthquake, which had rocked Gujarat last year, has bagged a medal and a certificate of merit. V.S. Kundu has also been awarded a certificate of merit for his black and white picture of a cart race taken at Kila Raipur rural sports. Another Panchkula-based lensman Sanjay Kaushal has won three certificates of merit for his pictures of daring feats of BSF personnel.



Gujarat violence condemned
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 4
A meeting of residents of ward number 10 was held at Jama Masjid in Sector 45 C today. A large number of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs condemned the incidents of Godhara , Gujarat and in other parts of the country.

The Municipal Councillor from ward number 10 , Mr Vijay Singh Rana while addressing the residents, said, ‘’ We all belong to one family . There should be no discrimination on the basis of religion as we all are Indians.’’

Mr Nauhria Khan, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Narinder Kumar and Maulvi of Jama Masjid, Shamsher Ali Kazmi also addressed the gathering.



Long queues for kerosene
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
A confusion over kerosene rates led to long queues outside various kerosene outlets in the city today, with hundreds waiting for kerosene. Kerosene was available, but could not be sold due to a problem with prices.

The new rates fixed following the Budget could not be arrived at, thus said officials of the Food and Supplies Department.

The new rate of Rs 9. 23 litre was to be imposed on supplies arriving after the Budget. Till yesterday, the old rate of Rs 7.74 a litre was being enforced. Sources said the rates were latter fixed in the evening and normal sales resumed.



Police band competition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The Third All India Police Band Competition will be organised at the CRPF Group Centre, Pinjore, from Marh 13 to 16, according to a statement issued here today.

As many as 17 teams from various state and central police forces are participating in the competition. The Haryana Chief Minister is scheduled to inaugurate the competition, while the Governor will preside over the closing ceremony.



Woes of Zirakpur

OWING to the pressure on the land in Chandigarh, some people are forced to go to peripheral towns such as Zirakpur. However, unfortunately, the authorities have been showing a lackadaisical attitude towards these towns. The condition of roads and the lack of civic amenities in the peripheral towns are deplorable. The authorities — especially the political leadership — seem to think that their job is over once they accord NAC status to these towns.

Undoubtedly, such tags are required for allocation of funds for development. But what has the government done after having accorded NAC status to these towns? Apparently, the government has accorded this status with a view to wooing the voters and expanding the ruling party’s vote bank. Zirakpur is a classic example of official neglect — haphazard growth, no basic amenities such as safe and healthy drinking water supply, sewerage system, stormwater drains, postal and telecommunication facilities and power supply.

The Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat which was constituted three years ago has been a silent spectator to the continued neglect of this beautiful town. Nature has not given Zirakpur its due share in the form of green belts and trees; there is also no space on both sides of the roads for providing trees and keeping the environment clean and healthy. No one bothers about the increasing pollution levels. Traffic lights do not work sometimes and the shops situated on the National Highway (Chandigarh- New Delhi Road) create traffic chaos and make this road more accident prone.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister in the Parkash Singh Badal Government, had promised to make Zirakpur a model town. He did promise to the people of Zirakpur that the development of Zirakpur township will be on the lines of Chandigarh, the City Beautiful. But what has he done to Zirakpur in terms of infrastructural development? Unfortunately, successive governments have overlooked the cardinal principle of dispersal of population and equitable development. These governments do not appreciate the fact that peripheral towns like Zirakpur, too, need to be developed in all respects so that the pressure on Chandigarh would be reduced. If the government has no plans to develop these towns, there is no need to accord them NAC status.


Welcome, but...

The Haryana Urban Development Authority’s reported decision to create a Sukhna Lake in Panchkula near Ghaggar Bridge is welcome as it will not only add to the beauty of the city but also provide good ambience to the people. However, before HUDA ventures to take up this project, it is worthwhile to learn a lesson from Chandigarh’s Sukhna Lake.

When Sukhna Lake was conceived and completed in 1958, the planners and policy makers did not take the catchment area into consideration from where the rainfall runoff was to flow to the lake. The hilly catchment area was virtually devoid of vegetation due to rampant grazing and illicit felling of trees. Consequently, a lot of sediment started flowing with runoff and the lake lost two-thirds of its capacity within ten years. The water spread area reduced from 228 hectares to 152 hectares over the years. However, it was due to Sukhomajri project, near Pinjore, which helped reduce further siltation of lake, due to revegetation of the catchment area with people’s participation. Otherwise, the lake would have been converted into a cricket ground by now.

It is imperative that our planners and policy makers examined the entire catchment area which is going to feed the proposed lake and take appropriate soil and water conservation and vegetative measures so as to reduce the silt load. These measures will have to be taken much before the work of construction of the proposed lake is taken up. I am sure, these measures would provide a long lease of life to the lake and the story of Sukhna lake will not be repeated.

S.P.MITTAL, Panchkula

Baddi deserves justice

This has reference to Ambika Sharma’s Baddi Diary (Chandigarh Tribune, January 22). Baddi town in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh is very close to the border lines of Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Viewed in terms of its industrial, commercial and educational value, the area around PGI-Mullapur side is very strategic. This area is open, pollution free and has reasonable scope for expansion and development. The Vardhaman Group, Dabur India, Indian Oil and many other industrial and financial groups have invested money to set up industries in and around Baddi. Many small scale and medium industries are also coming up. The town has also a good network of banks, post and telegraph offices.

Recently, the government has given the green signal to a Delhi-based society to open an engineering college which is likely to start from this July. A dental college is already there. The Himachal Pradesh Housing Board has been making efforts to develop the area by constructing houses and allotting plots to the people for the rapid growth of this area.

However, despite all these positive indications for the growth and development of a town, Baddi has not emerged and developed on the lines the two towns of Panchkula and SAS Nagar have developed within a span of 15-20 years. Is this not surprising and debatable? Is it due to the lackadaisical attitude of the Himachal Government or due to the inadequate support of the neighbouring state governments? Is it due to the delay in establishing a proper road link between PGI-Mullapur (Punjab side) and Baddi-Kalka on Solan side?

I feel the authorities’ failure to provide this road link, which will reduce a distance of about 15-20 km from Chandigarh to Baddi and directly links Baddi with Kurali-Ropar section, seems to be one of the main reasons for hindering the industrial and commercial growth of this ideally located town. The Himachal Pradesh Government can take up the project of constructing this vital road link under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (Centrally-sponsored scheme). After completion, the road linking Baddi will prove useful in two ways: giving a boost to the economic growth of Himachal Pradesh; and reducing the ever-increasing population pressure on Chandigarh.

Equally important is the urgent need to upgrade the status of Baddi town to a block or tehsil so that it would be able to get more and better facilities such as public health centre, schools, NAC etc.




Man stabbed, case registered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
A 25-year-old resident of Burail, Tuli Ram, was admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, here in a serious condition after he was stabbed in the stomach.

According to the police, Tuli Ram, who hails from Nepal, was found in his room by neighbours this morning. The room was bolted from outside. The police has seized broken bangles and ‘dupats’ from the room. Neighbours said Tuli Ram’s brother-in-law had spent night in his room. The police do not rule out his involvement and launched a manhunt for him.

A case under Sections 307 and 452 of the IPC has been registered.

Cyclist injured
Sector 18 resident Gurmukh Singh was injured after his bicycle was knocked down by a Maruti car near Sector 18-19 traffic lights. He was admitted to the PGI. The police has registered a case.

Six arrested
Six persons were arrested near Neelam Cinema, Sector 17, for quarreling and creating a nuisance in a public place. The accused have been identified as Sureshana, Sangeeta, Usha, Ajay, Jagdish and Anil, all residents of Bapu Dham Colony. A case has been registered against them under Sections 102 and 151 of the IPC.

Liquor seized
The police has arrested a resident of Dadu Majra Colony, Manoj, from Sector 56 and seized 30 pouches of liquor from his possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him.

Theft case
Sector 38 resident M.R. Diwan has reported that 22 plastic chairs have been stolen from his residence. The police has registered a case.

Vehicles damaged
A Tata Safari and an Indica were damaged after they collided with each other near Housing Board traffic lights. No one was injured. The police has registered a case.


Three held for theft
The local police arrested three persons on charges of theft in a tailor’s shop at Khatoli village and later set it on fire. The accused have been identified as Dalbir Singh, Sanjeev Kumar and Manoj, all residents of Khatoli village. They were arrested under Sections 457, 380 and 436 of the IPC.

Scooterist injured
A scooterist, Balwant Singh, was injured after he was allegedly hit by a bus (HR 38 -C-0527) in old Panchkula on Sunday. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered.

Gambling case
The local police arrested Kaka Singh, a resident of Bir Ghagar village, for gambling on Sunday. He was caught red-handed and Rs 825 was seized from his possession.

Car stolen
A Maruti car (PB 42A-5850) of Mr Gurjeet Singh, a resident of Samana was stolen from Sector 5 here on Sunday. A case has been registered.

Theft case

Mr Jagmohan Singh, a Sector 16 resident, reported that thieves entered his house and decamped with jewellery and cash worth Rs 30,000. The house was locked between February 23 and March 2. A case has been registered.

One arrested
The police arrested Virender Kumar, a resident of Sector 9, in an accident case in which a death had taken place. According to police sources, a scooterist, Chaman Lal, was killed after the car driven by Varender Kumar allegedly hit the scooter near Labour Chowk on March 1. He was booked under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC.



Girl dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
A five-year old girl, Sachin, was killed after being hit by a scooter at the Mauli Jagran Complex this morning. She was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, where doctors declared her brought dead.

According to the police, the deceased was on her way to her school in the same colony when the incident occurred. The scooterist sped away from the spot. Eye witnesses were only able to get a part of the scooter’s registration number. A case has been registered.



White atta vs brown atta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Normally, atta is one staple on your monthly shopping list to which you may not be given much attention or thought. But this is where you need to look deeper.

Some of the brands of atta are so different from the others that as a consumer you need to make the right choice. Your choice could impact not only your health, but also the taste of your food, which you would have spent a lot of time and effort on. Therefore, you need to understand your atta, before you make the choice.

Myth: The whiter the atta is the better it is.

Reality: The brownish colour in atta is because of the natural wheat fibre. A white atta means that it is low in fibre because fibre has been removed to impart the unnatural white colour. Fibre is a rich source of nutrition and minerals. It also makes for a better digestive system, providing roughage to your diet. A fibre-rich atta would also absorb more water, making the rotis softer, fluffier and healthier.

Myth: All attas taste the same

Reality: Taste in atta is a function of a variety of things. The most important one is the kind of wheat used. A right blend of wheat imparts a sweet and full taste to the roti, making it much different from normal atta. Fibre, when roasted, gives off a real wheat taste and natural aroma to your food. This means that you and your family can always have more rotis and more nutrition.

Myth: More atta means more fat,

Reality: Atta is a source of carbohydrate, proteins and vitamins, apart from natural fibre, which is very essential for your body. So a roti is much healthier than a lot of other foods which we eat.

Myth: Hygiene is not a big issue as all attas are hygienic.

Reality: Unlike other staples like rice and pulses, you do not sieve or wash your atta. Which means all the impurities are carried in your food. Therefore, it is imperative that your atta is absolutely clean and is untouched by human hand ready for your use in a pure form.

Myth: Packaging is just adding a colourful sheet of plastic.

Reality: Packaging plays a pivotal role in delivering fresh unadulterated product to you. A multilayered laminated structure is always preferable because if manages to retain the freshness and taste for a longer period, delivering you fresh product time after time.

Hopefully, the next time you choose your atta, you will check these things more carefully rather just buy any atta. For nature fresh atta, the process from selecting and blending the choicest of wheat to giving the customer premium quality atta is controlled by Cargill Foods. Maintaining highest standards, passion for quality and complete assurance of food safety is an obsession at Cargill at every stage. The highest of the product is its high fibre content, which makes it very healthy for consumer. Also, nature fresh atta is fortified with iron, calcium and vitamins, making it, a full-feature atta. Cargill is one of the world’s largest selector and handler of wheat, with over 130 years expertise in selecting and processing foodgrains across the globe.



Industrialists disappointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The Union Budget for the year 2002-2003 has been perceived by small- scale industrialists of the city as a ''disappointment''.

Mr. Satpaul Singh Matharu, a representative industrialist based in the MW-II area, addressing a group of fellow industrialists, said that the Union Finance Minister, Mr. Yashwant Sinha, had made unequals compete in the market with the reduction of the number of SSI units in the reserved category.

He said the quality of life of industrialists had become much poorer with the increased tax burden and the higher cost of items of daily use like cooking gas.

Mr. Matharu added that the Budget was a disincentive for units owned by persons who depended on small savings. He called for quick ameliorative steps.

He was supported by other industrialists.


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