Thursday, July 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Thunderous court orders park shut
‘Judicial conscience’ permits no further playing with life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Within a week of the drowning of a six-year-old boy in an amusement-park wave pool, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered here today that all operations in Thunder Zone Water Park Resort be shut down.


June 28 Tragedy strikes a family like thunder. Rishab Kapoor, on picnic with his family, drowns in a wave pool of Thunder Zone Water Park Resort.

June 29 The police registers a case under Section 304-A of the IPC against the park owners on the charge of causing death due to negligence.

July 2 Rishab’s father files a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

July 3 A Division Bench of the HC orders shutting down of all operations in the park.

In its verdict on a petition by a Phagwara businessman, Mr Sanjay Kapoor, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, also directed the District Magistrate of Ropar to ensure that the order was carried out today itself.

The Judges issued a notice of motion for July 9 and directed the Punjab Chief Secretary to have the matter investigated and hold those officials responsible for the tragedy who had granted licence for the opening of the park that had no safety arrangement. The Judges also ordered that a copy of the petition be handed over to Punjab’s senior Deputy Advocate General and a copy of the order be sent to the Ropar DM immediately under the signatures of the Special Secretary. A copy of it should also be handed over to the senior DAG, the Judges said.

In the order, the Judges said: “No sympathy can be shown to the owners of the park or the officials who granted them licence to operate without verifying whether or not the park had proper arrangements for the safety of children and other visitors. Our judicial conscience does not permit us to allow this amusement park to function even for a single moment from now onwards.”

Rishab Kapoor, on picnic with his family, was drowned on June 28 in a wave pool of Thunder Zone near SAS Nagar on the Sirhind road. His family had alleged that there had been no one at the pool to tell visitors that it was six-foot deep. They had also alleged that there had been neither an ambulance nor a doctor in the park.


Appeal to CM

Mr S.S. Chopra, grandfather of six-year-old Rishab, who lost his life in the wave pool of the Thunder Zone Amusement Park on June 28, in a letter written to the Punjab Chief Minister has demanded that a case should also be registered against the MD of the park. The Kharar police has so far registered a case of negligence against the pool instructor only.

He has written that Rishab lost his life due to sheer negligence on the part of the park management. He has alleged that when Rishab went missing, members of the family raised hue and cry, but there was none to respond as music was being played at a high volume. He has alleged that there was no lifeguard or attendant at the site. By the time an attendant came, a visitor had already pulled Rishab out of the pool. He was still breathing and alive, but there was none to give first aid to the child. Even no ambulance was available in the park.

He has written that the tragedy could have been avoided, if complete safety measures were adopted by the management of the park. There were no signboards giving guidelines or mentioning age limit for using pool, he has said.


5-member panel formed

The Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Seema Jain, has formed a five-member committee, headed by the Kharar SDM, to expose conditions at the Thunder Zone Amusement Park situated on Landran-Chunni road near Kharar. The committee has been formed after the death of a six-year-old child in the pool of the park a few days ago.

In a press note here yesterday, Mrs Seema Jain stated the Executive Engineer of the Panchayati Raj Department, Ropar, Executive Engineer of the PSEB, Ropar, Executive Officer PUDA, SAS Nagar, and District Sports Officer, Ropar, would be other members of the committee.

Mrs Jain said the committee would find the shortcomings at the park and would suggest measures to remove them to avoid such incidents in future.


Another victim hits rock bottom
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Mr Anil Jain, a person who lives in Sector 8 of Panchkula, has alleged that he was seriously wounded taking a joy-ride in Thunder Zone Water Park Resort on June 30, where he went with his family.

Coming down a water slide, on reaching the bottom, he hit the deck hard, as the water there was too shallow to absorb the shock. “I hurt my brow and started bleeding from there. I was, then, told to sit in the bathing area, where, after about half an hour, someone came with a first-aid kit,” says Mr Jain.

As the bleeding did not stop, he requested the park management to take him to a hospital in SAS Nagar. “However, they wanted to take me to a place in Landran village. When I refused, they relented,” he says.

In SAS Nagar, Mr Jain received stitched at the Phase IV Cheema Medical Complex, after which, he was brought back to the park. He says: “I drove the park officials back to the park, since the car was giving us trouble. It would stop after every few metres, which made it one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. They should rather call the park crime zone?”


Reserved start to admissions
SC/ST candidates resent Admn order
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The decision to disallow admission to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students without a Chandigarh domicile sparked off angry protests from candidates and their parents on the first day of centralised admissions to the Class XI in the government schools at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, here today.

The admissions saw agitated candidates and their parents raise slogans against the UT Administration’s decision of disallowing their wards admission on grounds of their being of `non-Chandigarh’ origin, leading to confusion at the venue.

After an hour of protest, which saw no favourable response from officials of the UT Education Department, the parents of ``rejected’’ candidates organised themselves into a group and approached the UT Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, to roll back the order. However, failing to achieve this, they have threatened to move court against this order.

Angry parents said the change in performa of the SC/ST certificate had caused problems since the new form had also made a mention of the original state of the father of the candidate.

“Until last year, they were allowing admissions to all children. When we have worked all our lives in Chandigarh, our children have studied in Chandigarh and have been issued SC/ST certificates by the UT, we are still being denied admission rights,” a parent rued.

The parents also complained that forms were being sold at the admission venue despite June 25 being the last date for submission of forms. Justifying the sale, the Deputy District Education Officer, Mr Chanchal Singh, said the sale was being made keeping in view the recent declaration of Punjab board results.``We have to give them 10 days to apply for admission under the rules,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, according to the statistics available, as many as 257 forms were rejected on grounds of “outside” origin by the admissions committee while 341 students were given admission at the end of the day. According to information, 163 students were given admission in Science stream, 57 in commerce, 73 in arts and 48 in vocational subjects.

What applicants say

Expressing their anger, the general secretary of Scheduled Caste and Parents Welfare Committee, Mr Waryam Singh Khizra, said while there was no restriction on filling seats of freedom fighters, defence personnel and handicapped, the UT Administration had made no mention of the clause in the prospectus with regard to the SC/ST candidates. “We will move court tomorrow since all our pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” he added.

What admn says

The District Education Officer, Mr Brahmjit Kalia, said from now on only SC/ST applicants with a Chandigarh domicile would be considered for education and employment.``The details of the policy were thoroughly studied by the Home Secretary. He found this wanting in our procedure since it was contradictory to rules and had it amended. This is the right procedure which had gone unnoticed for long,’’ he explained.



College fined for wrong admission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Panjab University has fined one of its colleges for violating admission guidelines in a case. Sources said the PU had asked the Sector 26 Sri Guru Gobind Singh College to pay a Rs 5,000 fine for admitting a candidate to the MA (Punjabi) course wrongly.

Case file

  • Candidates placed under compartment in undergraduate courses not allowed admission to postgraduate courses.
  • The principal of the penalised college said the university had unclear admission guidelines in the session 2001-2002.
  • Case still to be decided.

The candidate belonged to Punjabi University and had been placed under compartment in the qualifying examination. The PU rules do not permit admission in such case.

The Principal of the college, Mr P.S. Sangha, in his reply to the PU, has said: “No such instruction was ever issued with regard to admissions to the postgraduate courses, so, the admission cannot be called wrong. The admission guidelines, last year, did mention the rule regarding candidates placed under compartment in undergraduate courses, but there was no mention of any such rule regarding admission to the postgraduate courses.”

The PU, this year, has disallowed candidates placed under compartment in undergraduate courses to seek admission to its postgraduate courses. This case was to be addressed at the last meeting of the Syndicate. This time, it comes up for deliberation along with the representation of the Principal.

The candidate had taken supplementary test last September and cleared it. The university allowed him to appear in its examinations at his own risk, with regard to which, he also gave the PU an undertaking.

A member of the PU faculty said the university should not relax its rules in such cases. The PU has cited a provision in the university calendar that says: “Regulation 15: The Syndicate, in order to avoid hardship to a candidate, will have the power to relax the requirement of a regulation under exceptional chances, for any examination... where the mistake is primarily of the head of the institution or the university office. These powers do not include relaxing of the minimum qualifications for the admission.”

A senior fellow of the PU said the case was not worth a fine because the college had not forwarded a wrong form intentionally. The guidelines were silent on admission to the postgraduate classes. This, however, called for introspection on part of the PU.

The college should peruse all records after the admissions are over and submit a report to the PU at the earliest. The university should, then, examine the data and clear the admissions formally. This would save both sides a lot of embarrassment. The PU should issue a circular to all its colleges, clarifying its stand in such cases.


MC advised to utilise sewage plant gases
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The Union Non-Conventional Energy Resources Department has advised the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh to utilise gases emanating from its sewerage treatment plant for generating power and domestic fuel.


  • Technological solution to Chandigarh-Mohali spat on sewerage treatment plant.
  • Gases emanating from sewerage plant could be tapped for power generation and domestic fuel.
  • Municipal Corporation to appoint technical adviser for the project.
  • Plant will address Mohali’s complaint against smell and pollution caused by the existing treatment plant.

The suggestion was given by the Director of the Non-Conventional Energy Resources Department, Mr. S.S. Bedi, to the Municipal Commissioner, Mr. M. P. Singh, at a meeting recently.

The Municipal Corporation is keen for the project in the wake of the Punjab government asking it and the Chandigarh Administration to remove the present plant in Mohali citing pollution as a reason.

The corporation is believed to have already offered to the Punjab government to treat its sewerage also in the Rs 100 crore plant by adding additional capacity. Mohali, as per the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, does not have the facility for treating its sewerage, leading to pollution in that city. Mohali, however, charges sewerage cess of Rs 15 per toilet sheet. But with court directions not to allow flowing filth into rivers, the state governments are keen to set up their plants.

The Municipal Corporation was informed that such plants were given 50 per cent grant on the capital cost and the remaining money could be arranged from agencies like Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO).

The corporation has been forwarded a list of consultants to get technical feasibility study done for the power project and supply of domestic fuel.

The Municipal Corporation has sought the approval of the Finance and Contract Committee in its meeting on July 5 for appointing a technical advisor for the project.

The corporation is also going to have a water treatment plant at Raipur Khurd, which is scheduled to be inaugurated on July 10.

The Finance and Contract Committee has also been asked to decide on giving sanitation contract and community centre to the Citizens Welfare Association, Sector-21. The association is seeking to pioneer the people-government partnership in managing responsibility.

If the association is successful in handling this responsibility, the move will pave the way for more associations being offered to share responsibilities with the corporation for a better monitoring and effectiveness.

The much-awaited action taken report sought by the Congress councillors on their decisions after assuming reins of power in the corporation will also be placed before the committee.

The parking fee on taxi stands being reduced from a maximum of Rs 7,500 to Rs 2500 was also likely to be placed before the Committee.


Panchkula gets passport centre
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 3
Residents of Panchkula may not require coming to Regional Passport Office at Chandigarh for submitting their applications for passports as it will now be done in the district administration office from today onwards.

The computerised Passport Application Collection Centre was today inaugurated by the Haryana Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Revenue, Mr A.N. Mathur. It would now be functional from the reception centre of Mini Secretariat.

The applicants could submit their application forms here , which would be electronically mailed to the Regional Passport Office at Chandigarh. The police verification would also begin simultaneously. The passports would be then sent to the applicants via post. Also, the applicants would be given a unique file number by the centre, which would help them check the status of their passports on the Internet.

The Regional Passport Officer, Chandigarh, Mr. Arvind Kumar, said that the centre had been opened to decentralise the system of issuing passports, following a decision by Union Ministry of External Affairs.

With the passport application submission being extended in the state of Haryana, the Regional Passport Office would have completely decentralised its operations. The facility had already been available in Punjab and Himachal since January this year, he said . He said that this facility would now be introduced in Ambala .

The staff at the Deputy Commissioners offices in the state had already been given training by the Regional Passport Office to explain the passport-making process and its procedures. The software for this programme had been developed by the External Affairs group of National Informatics Centre.

Ms Jyoti Arora, Deputy Commissioner, said that the city magistrate, Mr Rajesh Jogpal, would function as the project nodal officer at the district level. Though the facility was currently available only in the township, it would be soon extended at tehsil level.

Ms Arora said that the application forms complete in all respects would be received at the counter on all working days from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Inquiries would be attended from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The procedure of police verification had been simplified. Applications under the tatkal scheme would not be accepted at the district level, she added.


Centre ‘discriminating’ against Cong states
Purchase of farm produce
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, President of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC), today accused the Vajpayee-led NDA government of discriminating against Congress-ruled states in the purchase of farm produce.

“How come the Central Government refuses to purchase grain at Chhattishgarh while Andhra Pradesh does not face any such problem”, Mr Surjewala asked at a press conference here.

The Youth Congress President also announced that farmers from the northern states (Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh etc) would gherao Parliament on the opening day of the monsoon session on July 15 in protest against the Central Government move to do away with the system of purchase of crops by central agencies.

Mr Surjewala, in fact, went on to claim that Mr Shanta Kumar, who was Food Minister before the Cabinet reshuffle carried out by the Prime Minister on July 1, had already declared on the floor of Parliament that the FCI would not take part in the purchase of grain any more. When newspersons said that this was yet to be given shape by the Centre, the IYC President reiterated that the FCI would no more take part in the purchase of crops and the farmers would now be “left to the mercy of private traders and multinational companies”.

The new policy of the Central Government, according to Mr Surjewala, would give a fatal blow to the agricultural sector which accounted for 42 per cent of India’s GDP and also provided employment to lakhs of youths.

He said Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister of Haryana, had been asking the farmers to grow vegetables, flowers etc instead of growing rice and wheat without taking any initiative for providing the farmers with an infrastructure for properly marketing flowers, vegetables and the like. Mr Surjewala claimed that a conspiracy had been hatched by the NDA allies “to finish off agriculture”. The abolition of the system of government control on the prices of petroleum products also was a part of this conspiracy, he alleged.

Senior Congress leaders, including AICC General-Secretaries, would take part in the agitational programme on July 15. “The agitators would first gather at the IYC office on Raisina Road in Delhi and then march toward Parliament to present a memorandum to the Lok Sabha Speaker, demanding a discussion on the subject under a special motion”, he said.

Mr Surjewala refused to say anything about the heckling of Mr Bhajan Lal, CLP leader and former Chief Minister, by a section of the crowd at a rally organised by the HPCC in Delhi recently in protest against the firing on farmers by the police in Jind district of Haryana.


Chance to dip into ‘Sacred Waters’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Some shows are structured for reasons other than commercial. The one that will open in the art gallery of Alliance Francaise at 5.45 pm tomorrow falls in that category. Bearing a strange title, Sacred Waters, the show is aimed at inspiring public awe by capturing water bodies in all their grandeur, and also serving a larger purpose.

Put together by an upcoming photo artiste Tarun Chopra, Sacred Waters documents the beauty of water as also its indispensable nature. Nurturing a love for photography, Tarun travelled to far off places of the subcontinent, scratching the surface of earth in search of that perfect picture which he often spotted in the lavish water bodies.

The first show by Tarun was put up in the Alliance Francaise de Delhi in 1999 and so huge was the response that the artiste was invited again by the French Embassy to show his works at yet another centre, Chandigarh. Whereas arresting moments of natural glory is one passion with Tarun, another passion is creating picture books. Tarun has many books to his credit and he is working on many more.

As of now, Tarun is coming to the city with a set of his master creations on water bodies. The show features photographs that centre around water. Through the works, the artiste is working towards generating public awareness. The objective will be furthered by Alliance Francaise, which plans to show seven documentaries on water during the duration of the exhibition. So everyday till July 12, there will be exclusive screening of these seven documentaries at 5.30 pm.

The following documentaries to be shown between July 5 and 12:

From the gulf of Kurdistan to Mesopotamia (July 5),

Jordan, the heritage of water (July 6), The dam on the Yangtze-kiang (July 8), The land of stratagems (July 9), Malaria, the silent disaster (July 10), The climate refugees (July 11) and The water de-polluter and Twenty thousand leagues on the sea (July) 12.


Plan to develop Panchkula as tourist spot
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 3
Haryana Tourism plans to develop Panchkula as a major tourist destination in the state.

This was disclosed by Mr Bhaskar Chatterjee, Commissioner and Secretary, Tourism, while talking to mediapersons here today. He said that the Tourism Department was making allout efforts in this regard. Expansion plans for at least three tourist spots in the district — Yadavindra Gardens at Pinjore, Tikkar Taal in Morni and Red Bishop here.

He said that the department planned to exploit the scenic beauty near Tikkar Taal by opening a tourist resort. Adventure sports, facilities for trekking and camping will be made available, especially for school and college students. A fast food centre was recently set up here .

It is learnt that the Union Government is also giving some aid for the place as a tourist spot, he said.

Mr Chatterjee said that there was another proposal to illuminate the Yadavindra Gardens at Pinjore. “This is one of the famous tourist destinations for all those travelling to Shimla and beyond. We plan to illuminate this garden spread over 50 acres,” he said. Also, an amusement park is coming up here.

The Commissioner said that 12 rooms were also being added to Red Bishop here. He said that expansion was being planned at most of the 45 tourist resorts in the state.


PUDA decisions before Cong govt under scrutiny
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 3
All decisions taken at the last two meetings of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority before the Congress government took over, are under scrutiny.

It is alleged that certain largess were granted to school management societies over the allotment of land for schools in SAS Nagar. Sources said that the Secretary, Urban Planning, Punjab, Mr D.S. Kalha, has been asked to look into the rationale of all decisions taken during the last two meetings of PUDA before the new government in Punjab took over.

When contacted, Mr Kalha confirmed that several other decisions, along with the decision of allotment of sites for schools in SAS Nagar, have been referred to him to be looked into.

Sources also added that this was done following a discussion in the last session of the Punjab Legislative Assembly on a question asked by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar about the allotment of these sites.

PUDA had allotted thousands of square yards of land to 27 school societies based in SAS Nagar and Chandigarh in various sectors of SAS Nagar since 1999 to April 30, 2002. The total amount of money that had been received by PUDA from these societies amounted to more than Rs 5.3 crore.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, in the session of the Legislative Assembly, had questioned the Housing and Urban Development Minister about the allotment of school sites by PUDA in SAS Nagar and whether the allottees had complied with the conditions of the allotment. Mr Bir Devinder Singh had also alleged that some fake school societies had managed to get land allotted to them and the criteria for the allotment to them of land for schools had not been complied with by these societies and that was what needed to be looked into.

‘‘The number of school sites allotted during the last two meetings is not more than six or seven. And I will be definitely going into every aspect of these allotments.’’ said Mr Kalha.


Stamp duty reduction welcomed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Various social and political bodies have welcomed the decision of the Chandigarh Administration to reduce stamp duty from 12.50 per cent to 6 per cent.

The president of the local unit of the BJP Mr Yashpal Mahajan, said the Administration had given a bonanza to city residents as this had come as a relief. Mr Mahajan appealed to city residents to get their property converted from leasehold to freehold.

The Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha, in a press release, said revenue earned by the Administration would increase with this move. Mr Chaman Sharma, Mr N.K. Nanda, Mr Tejbans Singh Jauhar and Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi of the nagrik Sabha in joint press statement further said that it was due to the initiative of the UT Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) that this had been done.

The Property Consultant Association, Chandigarh, said one of the biggest demands of the city residents had been accepted. This would curb underhand sale and prevent sale on a general power of attorney basis. Besides thanking the Administrator, the association also thanked UT Finance Secretary, Mr Karan Avtar Singh, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, the two officers who were instrumental in implementing the reduction in stamp duty, a statement issued by Mr J.D. Gupta, Mr Tarlochan Singh Bittu and Mr Inderpal Singh Dhillon said tonight.


AIL building to be ready by March
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 3
The Chief of the Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen H.S. Kanwar visited the under-construction building of the Army Institute of Law (AIL) in Sector 68 here today and asked the engineering wing to hand over the building by the end of this financial year.

The AIL is being established here by Army Welfare Education Society at a of Rs 10 crore. At present, the AIL is functioning from Patiala and will be shifted to its permanent location in April, 2003. The next session will commence from here. The institute prepares children for integrated five-year LL.B course after Class XII and is meant for the children of defence personnel with limited seats for the residents of Punjab and other states.

Lieut-Gen Kanwar was accompanied by Major Gen R. S. Batra, In charge, Administration. Lieut-Gen Kanwar was briefed on the progress made on various aspects of the construction.

Later, the Chief of Staff went around the buildings under construction and took stock of the progress on the ground. He made valuable suggestions for arboriculture plan and directed the Chief Engineer to ensure handing over of the institute to management of the AIL duly completed by March 31.


Now solar-powered ‘invertors’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
In this heat it is uncomfortable when the power goes off. The option of invertors and generators is always there and now the Department of Science and Technology is offering its own unit comprising a fan and light run on solar power.

The unit costs the user about Rs 4,000 and is available in the city from the local office of the department in Sector 17. If one uses both the light and the fan, it can run for close to 6 hours in one go and if only the fan is used it will run for about 10 hours.

And as it can happen in the government sector, there is a waiting list for these units. Actually, the unit is subsidised with the idea to promote the use of non-conventional energy. Due to the subsidy component, the production itself is limited thus causing a shortage for the units.

The Union Ministry for Non-Conventional Energy has set a target of 100 units for Chandigarh. The original cost of each unit is about Rs 12,000. The ministry provides for 50 per cent subsidy. Another Rs 2,000 subsidy is provided by the Chandigarh Administration. These subsidies bring down the cost for the user but also hinder mass production.

It works on a simple principle. Solar power is stored in a wide tray like setting of cells which supply power for the fan and light. Both fan and light are part of the costs.


Back home with message of peace
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Back from a week-long peace conference at Singapore, 18-year-old Deepti Mahajan is surely a more intense person. She has gained not just in terms of experience which flowed from active interaction with the best professionals in the field but also in terms of trust of the 20 Pakistani youths who attended the conference along with 20 fellow Indians.

Organised by the Initiative for Peace — a group of teachers and students of the United World College of South East Asia, Singapore, the conference thoroughly served the purpose for which it was called. Sitting across the table in a one-to-one conversation over the problems that plague the respective countries, Indian and Pakistani students realised that sparing a thought for peace was not everybody's job. It entailed a great sense of commitment to the cause and a greater sense of suffering.

No wonder then that they all willingly shared their experiences about strife in the valley, joined hands to cross hurdles during the rope course training organised by Asia Network and sat through the informal sessions called "My Kashmir." Says Deepti, "It was touching indeed to see the kind of similarities we share. Everytime we came together in conversation we knew exactly why we should work to restore peace between India and Pakistan. There is no reason for us to be fighting. We draw our heritage from a common source, we speak a common language, we wear similar clothes. We are meant to be united."

Similar thought were reciprocated by all the attending students whether from India or Pakistan. At the end of the conference, all the participants came together in a cultural performance. They also issued a mission statement, apart from the strategy they would adopt to build trust between India and Pakistan when they get back home.

Says Deepti, "Through this conference, another initiative for peace has been formed. We form a part of this group, which will work at the ground level and spread harmony between the two countries. We also had lessons in history, realising that most of what we know of Kashmir has never really occurred in the perspective put across. We will meet officials in the Education Ministry, contact school authorities to inform the children about the real perspective." All the participants have been divided into groups which will work at individual levels.

Apart from this, the conference featured sessions by eminent people. The first session was conducted by Nobel Peace prize nominee for 2002, Gerson Endres Florez Perez, a 16-year-old Columbian national, who is analysing the effects of war on children. Informed Deepti, "He talked about the methods of building peace network. He also delivered a lecture in peace activism."

Apart from this, there was a discussion on power of media by Vikram Channa, executive director, Discovery Channel, and yet another important session by Keith Fitzgerald, MD, SEA-Change, who talked about how two opposing parties should sit across the table and resolve mutual differences.


Awareness generation camp concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The week-long awareness generation camp, which was organised by the Citizens Awareness Group in collaboration with the Chandigarh Social Welfare Advisory Board at Government Model High School, Badheri, concluded here yesterday. About 55 “pareraks”, learners and women from the village attended the camp.

During eight days of the training programme, representatives of the Social Welfare Department stressed the need and importance of self-help groups and gave an account of schemes launched by the government for the welfare of rural and poor women. Representatives from the State Legal Authority and the Bureau of Indian Standards spoke about the Legal Service Authority Act, 1987 and the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and gave guidelines for filing complaints in Lok Adalat and Consumer Courts, Lectures and demonstration on food and nutrition, tie and dye and mehandi were of special interest to target population. Resource person from the Aids Control Society spoke on aids awareness. The interactive session was the special feature of the camp and all queries of the participants were answered by resource persons and organisers.

Mr Surinder Verma, Chairman, Citizens Awareness Group, welcomed the guests and said the objective of the camp was to identify the needs of rural and poor women and increase their active participation in development and poverty eradication programmes. Follow-up action on the problems of target population would continue and the group would carry forward the message of the Social Advisory Board in other rural areas also, he said.

Mrs Inderjit Kaur, Headmistress of the school, appealed to the audience to educate more and more persons to eradicate illiteracy and create awareness among the masses about their rights. She asked women to take responsibility of educating at least one illiterate person.

Mr A.K. Ranga, Project Officer, Chandigarh Social Advisory Board, highlighted the activities launched by the board for the welfare of women and children. He also stressed on the importance of women’s rights.

Ms Pankaj Mala Sharma, member, of the advisory board and chief guest, distributed the honorarium and certificates to participants. She said awareness about health, legal rights, environment, economic independence and vocational courses was necessary. She exhorted the voluntary organisations to come forward for the noble cause. Dr Dimple, coordinator of the camp, proposed vote of thanks.


Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s brother in PGI
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Sardar Kultar Singh(83), younger brother of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, has been admitted to the PGI after being diagnosed with high blood pressure and persistent fever.

Sardar Kultar Singh was admitted to a private ward of the PGI, late last night, after being hospitalised at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh for a week. ‘‘Not wanting to take chances with his health, especially at this age, we thought it was wise to bring him here so that any kind of complication could be handled,’’ said his lawyer son, Zoravar Singh. The family is presently residing in Saharanpur, where they own a lot of agricultural land. Sardar Kultar Singh has two sons and three daughters.

Sardar Kultar Singh was an MLA and minister in the Uttar Pradesh Government, where he had the portfolio of Food and Civil Supplies, in 1976.

Doctors attending to him said that they were still keeping Sardar Kultar Singh under observation as a number of tests, including a CT scan, were being done. ‘‘Apart from running high fever he is showing altered behaviour ,"said a doctor from the Neurology Department attending to him. He said that Sardar Kultar Singh, had suffered a minor stroke in 1999 as he has high blood pressure.

Sardar Kultar, who was almost ten years younger to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, vividly remembers his last meeting with the martyr on March 3,1931, at the Lahore Jail. ‘‘Just before he was hanged on March 23, he wrote a letter to me that it was sad to see tears in your (Sardar Kultar Singh) eyes as your mission now should be to fight the British so that all can live in a free India,’’ he reminisces. Despite feeling weak and feeble, he is fully alert and responds to questions.

Mr Zoravar Singh, when asked about his father’s reaction to the three films made on Shaheed Bhagat Singh, said that through these movies the people had got to know about the views and sacrifices the martyr had made for getting freedom for the nation. Sardar Kultar Singh had last visited their native village, Khadkar Kalan, now in Nawanshahr district, on Shaheed Divas on March 23, this year.

Zoravar Singh, nephew of Bhagat Singh, regretted that the India, rid of the imperialistic rule of the British, that had been visualised by his uncle, was, far from what the nation is today.‘‘His dream was to get freedom for the common man who suffered the maximum during British regime,’’ said Mr Zoravar Singh.

Refusing the romantic angle, shown in the films made on Bhagat Singh, he said that it was a fact that the parents of Bhagat Singh had looked for a match for him, but refusing to get married he had left for Kanpur. Bhagat Singh had made it clear to the his family that he was wedded to the nation and marriage was not what he could devote his life to, said Mr Zoravar Singh.


Monsoon still eludes plains

Chandigarh, July 3
People in plains of the north-west region are sweating under torrid humid conditions of 79 and 41 per cent in the maximum and minimum, respectively and day temperatures staying one to two degree above normal.

With south-west monsoon eluding the plains of the region for the fifth day today, people in Himachal Pradesh, experienced moderate to rather heavy monsoon rains for the eighth day today.

The maximum temperatures at most of the places including Ambala, Amritsar and Patiala was two degrees above normal at 38.9°C, 40.2°C and 39.4°C, respectively.

Chandigarh and its surrounding areas though had the normal of 36.2°C, under a partially overcast sky, Ludhiana at 38.5°C, was hotter by one degree above normal.

Shimla, the capital town of Himachal, received 3.1 mm fresh rain in the past 24 hours, ended at 8.30 this morning while Dharamsala was virtually flooded with 68.8 mm, Sundarnagar with 52.5 mm and Sujanpur Tira with 41.7 mm rains.

Pandoh (19 mm), Solan (15.6 mm), RL-1700 (12.5 mm), Kahu (12 mm), Barthin (7.5 mm), Nadaun (4.5 mm), Nahan (3.3 mm), Rampur (2.5 mm) were among other stations in Himachal reporting fresh rains.

Weathermen here have warned of moderate to rather heavy rain at a few places in Himachal and isolated in the plains over the next 24 hours.

HAMIRPUR: Hamirpur and its surrounding areas received light to medium showers on Wednesday which lowered the temperature. The rain also provided some relief from scorching sun.

Reports of heavy rain have also been received from various parts of the district. The rain, however, disrupted the power supply, water supply and telecom services causing great inconvenience to the people. Road traffic was disrupted at many places due to the falling of debris on roads. PWD labourers were busy in clearing the debris to make roads traffic worthy.

Although it rained on Tuesday and Wednesday yet there is an acute water shortage in various parts of the district, including Hamirpur town, these day. The taps were dry today and people had to go to their respective places without taking bath.

People were seen rushing towards hand pumps and private wells to fetch the water.

When contacted, Mr R.N. Sharma, Superintending Engineer of the Irrigation and Public Health Department, said the shortage of water was due to non-lifting of water from the Beas river as the water was muddy. He, however, said the water supply would be restored as and when water became clear. UNI


Monsoon relief eludes city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The Meteorological Department here is busy analysing data to see as to when the monsoon is likely to hit the city which had the hottest first day of July in 10 years with temperature hovering around 40°C. Residents of the city could not have respite from heat as the rainfall in June this year was nearly half the normal. Moreover, the monsoon, which was expected on June 29, was nowhere in sight.

The maximum temperature recorded in Chandigarh, Ambala and Patiala remained at 36.2°C, 39.4°C and 38.9°C respectively, while the minimum temperature remained at 29.5°C, 29.6°C and 28.3°C respectively, in these cities.

Maximum recorded humidity was 74 per cent. However, residents can expect a relief soon as the Met Department official, expect rain and thunder shower in the city in the next 24 hours.


Mango mela from July 5
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 3
The Haryana Tourism in association with the Department of Horticulture is all set to hold its annual Mango mela at Yadavindra Gardens, Pinjore, from July 5 to July 7. This is the 11th consecutive time that the mela is being held.

This was announced by Mr Bhaskar Chatterjee, Financial Commissioner and Secretary, Tourism, and Mr H.C. Disodia, Commissioner and Secretary, Agriculture, while addressing a press conference here today. The mela will be inaugurated by Mr Om Prakash Chautala on July 5 , while the prize distribution function will be presided over by the Agriculture Minister, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu.

They said this annual event invites mango growers and authorised mango products manufacturers, agricultural universities , general public and housewives to send mangoes and mango product entries, in display and competition sections. The event is organised each year with the aim to celebrate the king of fruits and to generate awareness among public.

Cultural programmes by the North Zone Cultural Centre will be organised in the evenings. A fashion show by the NIFD will also be organised on July 7.


Encroachment policy panel report soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The Encroachment Policy Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh is likely to submit its report to the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, next week.

The committee yesterday found ways to increase the penalty for encroachment through a wider interpretation of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act (Extended to Chandigarh).

The committee had been feeling handicapped in checking encroachments as the maximum penalty could not have proved as a deterrent.

The Municipal Corporation Act and its penalties could only be changed by Parliament.

The committee meeting chaired by Mr Subhash Chawla yesterday sought to figure out the nature of different types of encroachments and their removal.

It found that the enforcement staff had mostly been removing the poor venders.

The committee has decided to call the Enforcement Department officials in the next meeting to seek explanation on why the number of challans had been decreasing.

The committee might also consider to fix individual targets for all officials or evolve some system of accountability for each member of the enforcement field staff.


Work for society’s welfare, chief asks YC men
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The Indian Youth Congress President, Mr Randeep Surjewala, prescribed measures for the welfare of the society to Chandigarh activists while addressing them here today.

He, also said a proposed list of the executive of the youth wing in the city would be cleared within 10 to 15 days and 20 per cent representation would be given to women in the committee.

Mr Surjewala urged the local activists to gather in large numbers for the July 15 gherao of Parliament.

Mr Surjewala said he had asked the local activists to make themselves available at the PGI for helping the patients, contact the poor amongst them to collect funds for them, collect books and clothes from each household to distribute amongst the poor and spread message against communicable diseases, especially AIDS, amongst the youth.

He also proposed to make a list of donors for those patients who needed money immediately. For treatment, otherwise they would die.


Need to set up Red Cross units stressed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The State Liaison Officer, NSS, Youth Services, Punjab, Mr S.M. Kant, yesterday stressed the need for having Red Cross units in all colleges of the state.

Speaking at the conference of the Directors of Youth Welfare and Programme Coordinators of the NSS, here today, he said setting up of these units in the colleges will help in taking various health programmes to the grassroot level.

The Secretary, Punjab State Red Cross Branch, Capt Rajdeep Singh Jaiya, informed that the volunteers of the Youth Red Cross and the NSS would help in the welfare programmes of the Red Cross like TB eradication, drug abuse prevention and AIDS awareness.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr G.S. Chahal, State TB Control Officer, said volunteers can play a vital role, especially in the rural areas as far the new technique of TB treatment, in which one box of medicines is provided to one patient for six months.


Police clueless on Pal Singh’s murder
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 3
The police conducted raids on several places in Punjab and Haryana in connection with yesterday’s murder of Pal Singh in Khuda Alisher village, said police sources. The police was said to be looking for Kesar Singh, Mohinder Singh, Kartar Singh and Dhain Singh, residents of Nayagaon and surrounding villages.

In the yesterday’s murder, the police believes that Pal Singh was killed to avenge the murder of Kaka Singh on February 2, 2002, in Nayagaon. Pal Singh is accused in the case.

He was gunned down last evening in Khuda Alisher here. The assailants had poured three bullets in body of Pal Singh.


Pala murder: Judge visits police station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Acting on a habeas corpus petition filed by Ajaib Singh, son of Shamsher Singh, who was allegedly picked up by the police in connection with the murder of a former Khuda Ali Sher sarpanch, Pala Singh, Mr Justice Lakhbir Singh, the UT Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ), visited Sector 11 police station here today on the directions of the UT Sessions Judge, Mr Justice H.S. Bhalla. The ASJ raided the compound of the Criminal Investigation Agency in Sector 11, but found nothing there.

He will, however, submit his report to the Sessions Judge tomorrow.


Kharar SDM’s recommendation
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 3
Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill, SDM, Kharar, has recommended to the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, that suitable action should be taken against those officials of the Food and Civil Supplies Department who were responsible for not taking any action against the owner of LPG godown in Mullanpur Garibdas where three persons had died in a fire incident due to leakage of gas, a few days ago.

Mr Gill visited the spot and collected information about the incident.

The godown is functioning from a residential area. According to information, Mr Gill has written that the godown has been in existence for the past one year. Its existence is either in the knowledge of the concerned officials or it is a case of negligence on their part, he has said.


34 employees found absent
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 3
As many as 34 employees of the Market Committee, Kharar, were found absent when Mr Sukhjinder Singh Gill, SDM, conducted a surprise raid on the office at about 4.40 p.m. on Monday.

Mr Gill while talking to Chandigarh Tribune said only six employees and a majority of them Class IV were present. He is issuing a show-cause notice to the employees who were found absent and action will taken against them, he added.


Resident alleges victimisation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
A resident of Sector 32, Mr Mukesh Sood, has alleged victimisation at the hands of enforcement team of the Chandigarh Administration.

A room he had built in the rear courtyard of his house 315, Sector 32-A, was demolished while similar rooms built by other residents in the same row of houses were not touched by the team.

Mr Sood alleged that he was not given time by the team. He added the coverage of courtyard was allowed under recent amendments in bylaws.


1,000 kundis removed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Even as the teams of the UT Electricity Wing today removed about 1,000 illegal connections (kundis) in Colony Number IV, located in the Industrial Area Phase I, the department has made it clear to the Chandigarh Administration that removing kundis is not the final answer in curbing theft of power in slums.

The Administration has already announced that power distribution in all slum colonies will be privatised. Tenders have been invited to participate in distributing power within the slums while giving the private party a handsome percentage of the revenue.


Book released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
A collection of short stories ‘‘Utran’’ written in Hindi by Reeta Bhushan Mangla, a writer and a journalist, was released by the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd).

This is the first book of the writer which comprises 14 short stories on various aspects of human life.


Body found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Body of an unidentified pedestrian, who was hit by a vehicle near Ramgarh village, was found at about 10 pm today. A police party passing by picked up the body and brought it to General Hospital, for postmortem examination.


Bus passenger drugged, looted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 3
Mr Ram Babu Batti, a resident of R.K. Puram, New Delhi, was allegedly drugged by a fellow passenger in a Chandigarh-bound bus which he boarded in New Delhi.

In his complaint to the police, Batti said that he was given some biscuits which made him unconscious and the passenger got down somewhere in the way with his suitcase containing some clothes, a camera and Rs 250.

A case has been registered.

Chain snatched
Mrs Kripali Devi, a resident of Sector 23, reported to the police that two unidentified scooter-borne youths snatched her gold chain at about 4 pm in the sector here yesterday. This was the second incident during the past four days.

Mr Mohan Chand, a resident of Sector 46, had reported that someone had snatched an ear-ring of his wife in the sector on June 30. The police has registered two cases under Sections 356 and 379, IPC.

Vehicle theft
During the past 24 hours, the police received at least two complaints of theft of vehicles from different parts of the city. Mr. Kamal Kant, a resident of Sector 20, reported that his Yamaha motor cycle (CH01-J-5870) was stolen from a Sector 8 parking lot here yesterday. The Kinetic Honda (CH 03 0951) scooter of Mr Pawan Kumar, a resident of the Panjab University campus, was reportedly stolen from his residence on July 1. Two cases of thefts have been registered.

A resident of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, Mr Krishan, complained to the police that he was assaulted and injured by Naresh, Gobinder, Kali, Suresh and others, all residents of the Colony, last night. A case has been registered.


The police has arrested Amarjeet, alias Jeeta, of Billa village, who is accused of sodomising an 11-year-old child. A case under Section 377, IPC, was registered against him.

Held for theft
Jasbir Singh of Ramgarh has been arrested on the charge of stealing the ear-rings of a woman in the village while the latter was asleep.

Truck overturns
An overloaded truck (HR-38-F-2330) on the way to Delhi from Chandigarh overturned near the Sectors 10-15 roundabout this morning. The traffic on the road remained disrupted for over two hours.



Two killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 3
Two occupants of a Maruti van were killed and five others were injured when it hit a truck on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near Hallo Majra here early this morning.

As per information available, Gautam and Prem Kishore were transporting newspapers in the Maruti van and somewhere on their way they picked up five passengers. The van rammed into a truck. Gautam, a resident of Ambala, and Sanjay Dubey of Ram Darbar, died while Happy, Prem Kishore, Prabha Devi and Sanjay were injured and admitted in the GMCH-32. The condition of Prem Kishore is said to be serious.

Prabha Devi and Lucky are residents of Ram Darbar. A case has been registered.


2 call-girls, pimp held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The city police today rounded up two girls, alleged to be functioning as call-girls, and a pimp from the residential area of Sector 40. The pimp and the girls were caught red-handed while demanding Rs 8,000 from a decoy customer fielded by the police.

The names of the alleged call-girls could not be known. one of them belongs to Delhi and the other is from Chandigarh. They were functioning through a pimp, also based at Chandigarh. All the three were reportedly using cell phones for the purpose. They also used a car to facilitate their business.


Veterinary doctor commits suicide
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 3
Rajesh Chaddha, a veterinary doctor, committed suicide by hanging himself in the afternoon at his residence here today. He was working as a vet in Granga village and lived in Phase VII, SAS Nagar. His wife works in the Punjab State Electricity Board and has school- going children.

Sources state that Rajesh came back from his village in the afternoon and killed himself by hanging himself from the fan. His children found him in this condition when they came back from school. A case has been registered under Section 174, CrPC.


Shop owner assaulted on PU campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Two youths, allegedly, assaulted Neeraj Ahuja, owner of a juice shop on the Panjab University campus, after the latter asked for clearance of dues.

According to reports, Ramandeep and Jaggi, the alleged assaulters, came to the campus at about 7.15 pm, allegedly under the influence of liquor. They parked their Maruti Esteem in front the PU market and, allegedly, assaulted Neeraj, who had, earlier, asked them to clear their dues of about Rs 5,000. The police took the alleged assaulters to the Sector 11 police station.


Summer ’02 collection unveiled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Lacoste has unveiled its cool and vibrant, Summer ’02 collection. The new range showcases the latest trends and styles from the fashion capital, Paris. The Spring/ Summer 2002 collection is a mélange of youthful fashion and the Lacoste style.

It showcases the very first Lacoste collection of the designer, Christophe Lemaire. Christophe is a big name on the catwalks of Paris, New York and Tokyo and his designs have won fantastic reviews all over the world. Lacoste is a 68-year- old company having a presence in 103 countries and a turnover of $ 1 billion. Launched nine years ago in India, Lacoste has established itself as a successful international brand. The Lacoste product range presents a trendy and exciting collection of shirts, T-shirts, singlets, bermudas, jeans, sweaters, jackets and kurtas for women, men and juniors.

Get your gift

Once they were selling everything under the sun. You could just walk into the showroom and buy anything, right from kitchen appliances to crystal cut glasses. Today, renovated Shopping Bag — 2 in Sector 17-C is offering gift items only, but the range, as the customers assert, is “simply wonderful”.

Everywhere you look in the showroom you can see and exclusive range of gift items, dazzling on the glass shelves under the high-wattage lights. For its customers, the showroom is offering good quality brass items— right from bowls to candle stands. Talking of candles, you can also pull out hard cash from your wallet to buy gel, wax and floating candles.

This is not all. The shop is also offering wrought iron lamps. In all sizes — big, medium and small. Tables and telephone racks too are available. But what, perhaps, attracts the visitors the most are crystal items, including flower vases and other decorative pieces. Wall paintings too are inviting comments. The prices of the gift items is not so high. You can buy an item by taking out Rs 125 to Rs 450 from your pocket.


Steel price hike hits small units
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The recent increase in steel prices in the international market and in the domestic market have severely hit the small-scale units in the region. The small-scale industrial units in Chandigarh and surrounding areas have found themselves in a piquant situation with the frequent increase in prices.

Mr A.L. Aggarwal, general secretary, Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, says, “The price of 8 mm wire rod, supplied by the Steel Authority of India Ltd., (SAIL) has increased from Rs 14,600 per tonne in March, 2002, to Rs 16,400, per tonne by the second week of June. Apart from the frequent price rise, the erratic supply of MS wire rod and MS round have hampered the schedule of SSI units.’’

He said SAIL and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd.(RINL) were not observing any consistency and transparency in determining the rates, and the users were unable to chalk out their schedule in a systematic way. The chamber has urged the Centre to issue guidelines to the manufacturers to fix prices at least for six months. The quarterly rolling programme of the main producers of steel should be known to the industry associations in advance so that they could also plan their production schedules.


Sentin Furniture opens showroom
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Sentin Furniture dealing in imported furniture of everyday use today opened its showroom in Sector 26 today.

The goods made of wood, leather and metal include sofa sets, wall units, bar, dining tables, bedroom sets, a huge collection of artefacts and paintings. The showroom is the product of the tie-up between Preet Ply Palace headed by Mr Preet Mohinder Singh and Works of Heaven, a Singapore-based company.

Mr Preet Mohinder Singh told mediapersons here today that the items on display at the showroom were reasonably priced and were suitable for homes, offices, restaurants, hotels and public places. “We will try to present a new collection every three months”, he said.

The company, Sentin Furniture, is planning to open 50 stores all over the country. This is the second showroom in Punjab, the first being in Jalandhar. The company showroom in Sector 26 has been designed by Ms Rashmi Bhalla, an interior designer from Delhi who said that special care had been taken to design the showroom in such a way that each and every piece of furniture was highlighted properly.

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