Monday, April 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Gang of highway robbers busted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
A stolen truck given to a Mani Majra-based painter for a repaint job today led to the arrest of two members of a gang of highway robbers. The 18-member gang had robbed goods worth lakhs in 17 different cases.

Sanjay and Vinod, arrested from Saketri village of Panchkula and residents of Jind, told the police that they along with Jatinder of Chabri village in Jind, had waylaid a truck near Jind. The loaded truck was brought to Chandigarh and given for repainting to a painter in Mani Majra. The goods were sold in Jind for over Rs 1 lakh, the SP, Mr Baldev Singh, said.

The painter got suspicious after Sanjay did not come back to take the truck. The painter, who had been promised Rs 1,600 for the job, informed the police. A case under Sections 379, 411, 473 , 482 and 120-B, IPC, has been registered.

The modus operandi of the gang was to chase a loaded truck before stopping its vehicle in front of it. The occupants of the truck were then tied up and the goods were taken away.

On receiving information, a team of the crime branch went to Jind where it got to know that Sanjay and Vinod were in Panchkula. Raids were being conducted in Haryana and Delhi to arrest the other gang members.

The members of the gang were involved in robbing a train at Narwana, a truck carrying 46 new scooters and some other cases. Two cases of theft of trucks from Chandigarh have also been traced down to the gang. In the cases, some members of the gang had been arrested and others were absconding. The Chandigarh police was intimating the police station concerned about the arrest of Vinod and Sanjay.

Information about the gang was exchanged at an inter-state crime meeting of police officials of Chandigarh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal.

Sources in the police said information was shared about two gangs operating in the region. While the modus operandi of one of the gangs was to stop a truck with the help of a four-wheeler and remove the tyres before abandoning it.

Such incidents were reported from Panchkula. Another gang, that had struck at Jalandhar, Amritsar and other places in Punjab, waylays a loaded truck and kills the occupants. In one incident, Rs 80 lakh were looted and the case was cracked by the Jalandhar police in 1998.

The gang had been busted in 1995, but it regrouped itself.


Assault on couple: cop suspended
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 27
The Superintendent of Police, Mr Ranbir Singh Sharma, today placed constable Bhagwan Dass under suspension and sent him to the Police Lines.

Mr Sharma said though the inquiry into the couple assault case at Rotary Bhavan on the night of April 25 was pending, the cop had been placed under suspension to ensure that the inquiry was not influenced.

It may be noted that the cop, while in an inebriated condition, and having wrong designs on a woman, assaulted her husband and his friend, and threatened to nail them down in a case of prostitution. When the two men protested the cop beat a hasty retreat.

The Station House Officer of Sector 19 police station was asked to conduct an inquiry into the incident where a 28-year-old caretaker of Rotary Bhavan Ranjeet Gupta, and his wife, Suman Gupta, and the former's friend, Shekhar, were assaulted by the cop, who was impersonating as Jaipal.


High drama at house of industrialist
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 27
A high drama was enacted at the residence of a prominent industrialist in Sector 16 here this morning, when a team of Allahabad bank swooped down here to serve a notice under the Securitisation and Records of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002. The family members of the industrialist and bank officials got into a verbal duel during this exercise and had to be restrained by the cops accompanying the bank officials.

A nine member team of bank officials led by the Assistant General Manager, Mr Deepak Narang, arrived at the house of Mr Harbilas Jindal and pasted the notices on the pillar of the gate and on the front wall of his house. They said the notices for resuming the property was pasted when Mr Jindal and his son, Mr Padam Bhushan, had earlier refused to accept them.

They said Mr Jindal and Mr Bhushan, along with two others — Rajiv Sharma and Sanjiv Sharma were partners of a firm — Raju Flour Mills. This firm had taken a loan of Rs 2 lakh from the bank in 1983, after hypothecating a house in Taraori, Karnal and working capital of the firm. However, they had defaulted on the repayment of the loan and now a sum of Rs 7. 20 lakh was due from them.

Meanwhile, Mr Sueresh Jindal, elder son of Mr Harbilas Jindal, when contacted, said the bank had no right to paste notices for taking the possession of their house as the same had not been hypothecated with the bank. If necessary, the bank should take possession of the hypothecated assets.

He said the bank had already filed a suit against them in a Chandigarh court and the case was sub judice. He also claimed that they would file a defamation case against the bank officials.


Cable operators slash tariff
CAS gives subscribers the edge
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Sources in the cable industry say that conditional access system (CAS) will come into force here by the year-end. Cable subscribers can choose from myriad pay channels. A decoder, costing Rs 7000, will have to be put on a television set. This will be linked to a computer by the cable operator, and will control the channels that can be viewed. The cost of the set could come down to Rs 3000 by the time CAS comes to the region, they say.

Panchkula, April 27
The cable syndicate here has been forced to reduce tariff and improve services with the conditional access system (CAS) and direct-to-home (DTH) services set to hit the cable business.

Cable operators have now come up with tariff plans of Rs 75 to Rs 50 per month or Rs 300 for six months. The current tariff is Rs 325 per month. These tariff plans are for those who want to view the Star package (comprising Star Plus, Star News, Star Movies, Star Gold, Star World, Channel V and National Geographic) and free-to-air channels. The schemes would be available to subscribers from May.

Under the scheme, the subscriber will not have access to any of the other pay channel packages like Zee, Sony, ESPN, Star Sports, DD Sports, Ten Sports and FTV.

The tariff plans come three months after the cable operators had hiked the monthly charges from Rs 275 to Rs 325. This was done after Sony increased its subscription from Rs 40 to Rs 55 per connection, after including HBO in its package; Star Sports, ESPN package from Rs 24 to Rs 32, and Zee package from Rs 42 to Rs 55. Star Package had increased its charges by Rs 12.5 and DD Sports by Rs 4.

This was the third hike in the past year. With Krishna Cable Network making its presence felt in most parts of the township and offering the Star package and free-to-air channels at discounted rates, the Panchkula Cable Network has offered to charge Rs 75 per connection (for a combination of the Star package and free-to-air channels), besides offering Internet services.

At least four new channels — NDTV Hindi News, NDTV English News, Headlines Today and Sadhana channel — will be aired from May. While the two NDTV channels are part of the Sony package, the other will be free-to-air.


Rain keeps heat wave away for now
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Mercury today fell to 32 °C from a high of 39.8 °C on April 24 after rains here. However, the temperature on April 22 had fallen even further to 26.2 °C.

The change in the weather brought about by 2 mm of rainfall during the day and 6.2 mm at night is unlikely to arrest the setting in of the usual May June heat wave.

There was rain in Ambala, Patiala and Ludhiana, as well, but Chandigarh still remained the coldest.

In Ambala, the maximum temperature was recorded at 34.3 °C, in Patiala it was 37 °C and, in Ludhiana it was 36.4 C° today. Chandigarh and Ambala witnessed a fall of 4 °C in temperature from yesterday, while Patiala and Ludhiana saw a fall of 1 °C and 2 °C respectively, in temperature. The rainfall was 0.3 mm in Ambala, 7mm in Patiala and 2 mm in Ludhiana. Late yesterday, Chandigarh had a rainfall of 6.5 mm, while Ambala had 5.5 mm of it.

The fall in the temperature has brought relief to the people, who had started preparing for the setting in of a heat wave. The heat last week had them in queues for purchasing air-conditioners and coolers. Sales of mango and water melon had also picked up.

The first fortnight of the month saw the temperature soaring to 37.2°C on April 10 while the temperature was 31.4 °C on April 1.

Then came the fall, with the maximum temperature being 26.2 °C on April 22 and 29.8 °C on April 19. On other days it hovered between 33 °C and 34 °C.

An agriculture expert said rain or moisture at this time could damage harvested crops lying exposed.


Refer Electricity Bill to SC
Power engineers’ federation pleads with President
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The All-India Power Engineers Federation which represents 70,000 engineers of state electricity boards, has submitted a representation to President A.P.J . Abdul Kalam, requesting him to refer the Electricity Bill, 2003, to the Supreme Court as it violates the core principles of the Constitution.

Copies of the representation made available to The Tribune have also been sent to the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers by Mr Shailendra Dubey, secretary of the federation.

Giving justification for referring the Bill to the Superme Court, the federation has stated that electricity is a prime input for agriculture and maintains food security of the nation. Subsidised power to the farm sector is responsible for maintaining the prices of foodgrains on which the poor and economically weaker sections depend for survival.

The Electricity Bill, 2003, is based on the concept that electricity is a business that should be left to the market forces rather than being governed by social objectives. The Bill will give the economically strong minority of the country the purchasing power to consume the limited energy available and take electricity out of the reach of the poor and farmers. It would destroy the agricultural economy and compromise the country’s food security.

The Bill grossly violates the core principles of the Constitution contained in its very first para, which says that India is constituted as a “sovereign, socialist, secular democratic republic”. The preamble further contains the principle of “equality of status and opportunity”.

However, the Bill 2003 throws overboard the “socialist “ obligations of the government and in the long run will lead to takeover of the power sector by multinationals and foreign capital leading to economic slavery and compromising “sovereignty “.

It will give greater opportunity to the rich and powerful while driving the poor and farmers to the wall thereby reversing the principle of equality. Thus, the Bill needs to be referred to the Supreme Court where all stakeholders will have a chance to present their views on the basic principles of sovereignty, socialist nature of the country and equality.

The Bill is based upon the World Bank and IMF concept of market economy and globalisation which have now been exposed as instruments used by the developed countries to dominate, economically enslave and exploit the developing countries one after another. It is now an accepted reality that the market economy increases inequality and exploitation and widens the gap between the rich and the poor.

It is known that the power sector reforms in Orissa, Andhra, UP, Haryana, Rajasthan and MP were clearly on the dictates of the World Bank, the IMF, the ADB while in case of Delhi the sell-out and privatisation was to give a multi-million recurring bonanza to private groups like Reliance.

It is most unfortunate that the World Bank and the IMF are succeeding through top bureaucrats in their game-plan to lead the country back to economic slavery and domination of multinationals. The federation has alleged that such bureaucrats rewarded with top posts in the IMF. The Electricity Bill is also the handiwork of such bureaucrats.

The federation says after the Bill becomes an Act the country in one stroke will give up all control on the fuel energy balance, having far-reaching implications on the national economy. The nation has paid a heavy price for the Enron misadventure in Maharashtra. The free market economy without any control at the investment stage shall lead to high tariff beyond the paying capacity of common consumers due to peculiar monopolistic conditions of excess demand and shortage of supply prevailing in the country.

The assets of state electricity boards set up with tax-payers’ money would be sold and transferred at throwaway prices. The employees would be discriminated against without any recourse to the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, or any other law in force.



Until some time back, one had no idea of the kind of awe Balwant Gargi used to inspire among people. One had always heard of his bold narrative and had attempted to sketch his portrait with the help of what he wrote of himself and of people who happened to him. The meeting organised in his memory at Pracheen Kala Kendra, however, bared the other side of the man who was arrogant and ingenuous at the same time.

Writer Gulzar Singh Sandhu introduced the audience to the reticent side of Gargi, known for his raw portrayal of emotion. He narrated incidents which reflected the conservative streak of Gargi’s vibrant character. “Gargi was like any other typical Punjabi villager. He would never interact with wives or sisters of friends. When in their company, he would withdraw into silence,” declared Sandhu. Another Gargi associate, Santokh Singh Dhir, narrated a touching incident: “Our relationship had been strained on certain account and I had consciously distanced myself from Gargi. I would go to Delhi and not go to 27 Curzon Road, the famous Gargi residence. When Gargi came back from the USA to settle on Panjab University campus, along with his blonde wife, he wrote to me.”

The letter read: “When I was in the USA I was several miles away from you. Now I am close. If you don’t want to see me, come to see your bhabhi. If you don’t want to see her, come to see our son Mannu.” Dhir could not help taking the next bus to Chandigarh. That was the magic of Gargi’s words.

Helping hands

St Stephen’s, Sector 45, rose up to a noble cause on the morning of April 25. In attendance at the school was Father Antony, a Christian missionary from Meerut, who has behind him over 17 years of service to leprosy patients.

Father Antony runs a full-fledged school and hostel where children of people suffering from leprosy live and learn.

On his visit to the city he brought 20 such children along. The idea of the visit was to allow these children to mix up with children studying in mainstream schools.

Although a little sceptical earlier about how the kids at St Stephen’s would react when they came to know that their visiting friends were wards of leprosy patients, Father Antony was surprised to see school students extend a hearty welcome to his kids. The students not only welcomed their friends from Meerut, they also brought them tokens of love. All the children sat together in a long interactive session, cracking jokes, sharing secrets and learning more about leprosy as a disease that has a sure cure. Through child’s play, the missionary had conveyed his message!


In an effort to promote nature conservation and raise the depleting water table, the Environment Society of India (ESI) and Government College of Arts, Sector 10, Chandigarh, carried out a three-week-long conservation exercise, the first such facelift since the inception of college.

A pond was constructed at the entrance of the college. Saplings of lotuses and lilies welcome and delight the visitors.

On the other side, a two-acre area with unwanted weeds was cleared and levelled by deploying tractors and labour. Marginal slope was provided towards a newly constructed pond which will receive rain water and help in ground water recharge and improve the city’s water table.

All the 120 trees like Sheesham, Siris, Ber, Mulberry, kikar and amla have been preserved. Saplings of nature plants such as jamun, neem, mangoes have been planted. Swings will be provided so that the students enjoy nature amidst the sheesham plantations. These “woodlands” will become major nature lovers’ destination in the coming days.

The college has set up “woodlands” environment club under the charge of Mr K.S. Sahi, says the principal, Mr Braham Prakash.

“Goose step”

The Environment Society of India (ESI) recently gifted a crate of 21 geese to the children of army personnel at Ambala cantonment. These geese were released in a large pond to be adopted by the members of the eco clubs of Army School and Kendriya Vidyalaya. The project aimed at creating love for nature was initiated by Col C. Bharati.

In some countries of the world, the armies follow the footsteps of the geese. Their marching columns use the “goose steps” on the ceremonial parades in which legs are alternately advanced without bending the knees. Geese also do the security job, keep a sharp eye on the intruders. Greatly moved to see demonstration, a JCO and some jawans said: “This will be a good lesson for the army personnel as well.”

“Survival research”

In the recently held workshop organised by the Institute for Development and Communication, the Chairman, Mr Pramod Kumar introduced his organisation stating that there were two kinds of research being done by the institute. One was the regular research and the other research was called “survival research”.

Regular research was funded by various agencies but when there was no regular research going on, the institute undertook research on anything and everything to show that they are doing something. This they called survival research.

Computerised cops

The first batch of 12 police personnel has completed basic training in computers, keeping in view the rapid change in the Information Technology sector and changing trend of crime. The initiative of the Chandigarh Police to make computer literacy mandatory for all ranks of police personnel has come as a welcome step in all the cadres.

“With the computerisation of record, we can save a lot of time and have the information on the finger tips by just clicking the mouse”, said Mr. Gaurav Yadav, SSP, Chandigarh Police.

The SSP further said: “Training is imparted on understanding the concept and fundamentals of computer operation and special stress is being given on Crime and Criminal Information System (CCIS). After this training, all police officers will be capable of handling the computer independently, in their respective police stations and units. It will increase their efficiency”.

Fruit vendors

The fruit bonanza at the Sector 7/8/17/18 roundabout in Panchkula is definitely going to stay. For thousands of commuters entering Panchkula from Chandigarh Housing Board chowk, the fruit sellers will continue to cater to their needs as the Estate Office and local police try to figure out on who should remove these encroachments. While the police say that since the 40-odd fruit vendors around this roundabout have encroached on the road, the Enforcement wing of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) says that since the vendors have caused disruption in smooth traffic flow, the police should deal with them. With the responsibility not being affixed, the fruit sellers and their clientele make hay, while the commuters continue to struggle to pass by.

Cactii House

Botanical Garden in Panjab University was declared a Centre for Research by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), an autonomous body of University Grants Commission.

The Ministry of Environment has sanctioned Rs 5 lakh for its upkeep, out of which Rs 1 lakh was reserved for Cactii House.

But Cactii House established in 1960 is a shambles. Cactii are plants of the desert. They require warm and dry climate. The plants are destroyed if water is poured over them, may be due to rain.

The finance department is turning a blind eye to the requirement of the department. The plants can be saved if the structure is repaired immediately and broken glasses are replaced by new ones and the frame is painted. Will the university authorities wake up?

Beauty & agility

“We combine the beauty of the big with the agility of the small,” declares Mr Ashok Goyal, Executive Director, Spice Telecom, Punjab.

This is going to be the watchword of the Mobilefirst Alliance — BPL Mobile, Escotel, RPG cellular and Spice Telecom — which have come together to take on the big players in the market like Airtel and Reliance.

“Some operators like Airtel have been telling us that small players have no future in the Indian cellphone industry,” observes Mr Goyal. “So we too have become big by joining hands with likeminded players in different parts of the country. And unlike the big ones who are not quick enough to take decisions, our alliance combines the swiftness of small players with the presence of big operators. This is our beauty. And we have also entered into strategic partnership with Hutch and nobody can ignore or push us around’.

Says Mr Goyal: “With a backbone of over 10,000 km that includes over three million customers spread across 700 cities, we aim to provide enhanced value to our subscribers, be it in tariffing, long distance calling, innovative value added services or customer relationship management”.

Mobilefirst is an alliance of leading cellular operators BPL Mobile, Escotel, RPG Cellular and Spice Telecom. It has an executive management committee that includes key representatives of member companies. Mobilefirst has an independent Secretariat with working groups for different focus areas.

— Sentinel


Kharar residents narrate tales of woe at Tribune interactive session
Tribune News Service

Kharar, April 27
A large number of residents of this township near Chandigarh highlighted their problems and grievances at an interactive session organised by The Tribune here today. The focus of the meet was ‘the problems and prospects of Kharar’ and its population, and to project them at the right forum so that a practical solution could be evolved for them by the authorities concerned.

Increasing population, poor civic amenities, non-existent sewerage system, inadequate water supply, non-functional streetlights, increasing drug abuse by youngsters, the highly accident-prone Chandigarh - Kharar road stretch and poor sanitary conditions in the town were the major problems projected by the residents.

A resident of Kharar, Dr S.N. Dua, makes a point during the interactive session organised by The Tribune in Kharar on Sunday.
A resident of Kharar, Dr S.N. Dua, makes a point during the interactive session organised by The Tribune in Kharar on Sunday.
From left to right: Mr Shashi Pal Jain, Mr Charanjit Singh, Mr A.S. Prashar, Ms Veena Mahajan, Mr A.J. Philip, Mr Vijay Sehgal, Mr S.S. Bhullar, Mr Donald Banerjee and Mr Yajan Kashyap.
From left to right: Mr Shashi Pal Jain, Mr Charanjit Singh, Mr A.S. Prashar, Ms Veena Mahajan, Mr A.J. Philip, Mr Vijay Sehgal, Mr S.S. Bhullar, Mr Donald Banerjee and Mr Yajan Kashyap.
— Tribune photos Pankaj Sharma

Mr Charanjit Singh, president of the Kharar Municipal Council, local community leaders, teachers, businessmen, lawyers and other prominent citizens attended the meet.

Mr A J Philip, Officiating Editor of The Tribune, Mr Vijay Sehgal, Editor, Dainik Tribune, Mr S S Bhullar, Officiating Editor Punjabi Tribune, Mr Donald Banerjee, Chief News Editor, Mr A S Prashar, News Coordinator, Mr Yajan Kashyap, Deputy News Editor, listened to the problems faced by residents in their day-to-day lives.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Philip said that the newspaper’s intention was to get in touch with the people of Kharar and know about them, their problems and difficulties in order to cover Kharar better in the newspaper.

He said that the newspapers’ top people did not want to sit in ivory towers, but come to the common people. He assured them that their problems would be highlighted so that a solution could be found for them.

Mr Philip also assured the gathering that some of the suggestions made by the residents for changes and improvements in the newspaper would be implemented.

A task which should have been done by government officials and political representatives was being preformed by The Tribune, said Mr Charanjit Singh. While the population of the township had increased manifold, the infrastructure development had not kept pace with it, he observed.

Blaming the Town and Country Planning Department for its lethargy, the MC chief said that the government must initiate schemes for proper planning and systematic development of towns.

Regretting the lack of civic amenities in the township, Mr Charanjit Singh pointed out that the town lacked a sewerage system, while the water supply was inadequate and streetlights were either non-functional or not installed at all.

Urging the Punjab government to take responsibility for ensuring civic amenities, he pointed out that Rs 6-7 crore was required to lay a sewerage system in Kharar, but the funds were not available. Most of the MC’s income, he added, went into paying bills for the town’s water supply and electricity.

He also pointed out that there was not a single government senior secondary school in Kharar. He added that the MC was ready to give a 5-acre plot for the government to set up a senior secondary school.

Taking up the issue of health, Mr Charanjit Singh said that though there was a hospital in Kharar, it was inadequate to cater to the requirements of the township’s population. He also pointed out an alarming trend that 80 per cent of the youngsters were involved in drug abuse.

Former MLA Raja Singh remarked that Kharar had etched its place in history, but over the years, it had turned into hell. He said that the township did not even have a government senior secondary school.

Speaking about the poor state of hygiene and sanitation, Raja Singh said that a lot of filth had been accumulating in and around the town. Blaming the bureaucrats and politicians for the poor state of affairs, he said that they had not only taken away their land but also axed trees, depriving the town people of their natural resources.

He said that the purchasing power of the people of Kharar was very low and that was why the town markets remained devoid of the hustle and bustle normally associated with such places. He stressed that the town needed more finances for development.

Reiterating that increasing population was Kharar’s biggest problem, Rajbir Singh, vice-president, Sarv Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, said that the first concern should be population control and only then could there be talk about development.

Adding that drug abuse among youngsters was a cause for serious concern, he commented that often drugs were used as a means of eliciting votes by some political persons. He added that persons indulging in such means should be barred from contesting elections.

He pointed out that village shamalat lands were being encroached upon by influential persons and there was a problem of discharge of waste water.

The president of the local unit of SAD, Mr Prem Singh, said that the increasing population of the township was causing a lot of problems. He added that the town’s streets now seemed to be too narrow to accommodate the flow of human and vehicular traffic. Pointing out that there was no vacant land left for the flow of water discharge, he added that Kharar did not even have a park for recreation purposes.

Stating that there was not proper outlet for waste water, he said that a major problem being faced by residents was flooding of houses. He also pointed out that dirty stagnant water was generating diseases and there was danger of it spreading around.

Former president of the Kharar MC, Tara Chand Gupta said that the prospects of Kharar depended upon the prospects of the rural areas attached to it. Pointing out that vacant land was disappearing fast, being grabbed by vested interests, he said that about 70 per cent of the land belonging to farmers had been purchased by bureaucrats and politicians residing in Chandigarh, while the land of two villages adjoining Kharar had been purchased by top politicians in Haryana..

A lawyer, Mr Mohan Lal Saitia, said that it was not only just bureaucrats and politicians, but law makers who were to blame for the mess as a number of lacunae had been left while framing laws. He said that had shamlat been defined properly, there would not have been any land grabbing by persons having vested interests.

Pointing out that there was not even a bus stand in Kharar, he too reiterated the lack of a government school and park in the township.

Saitia pointed out that the busy Chandigarh-Kharar highway was virtually a death- trap, with 4 to 5 accidents taking place on this stretch daily. Stating that about 95 per cent of the traffic touching Kharar was that which was bound for some other destination, he said that a plan for Kharar bypass had been drawn up, but for some reason things did not proceed beyond the planning stage.

The president of the locally-based Dr Ambedkar Club, Mr Kirpal Singh, said that lack of a school having science streams had hit Kharar students hard and they were unable to sit for entrance tests conducted by Punjab for admission to medical colleges.

He said that students from Kharar had to go to Chandigarh for pursuing their studies and studying in Chandigarh, making them ineligible for applying for seats meant for students from Punjab.

Coming down heavily on the local administration, Mr Darshan Dhaliwal, a lawyer, said that corruption and extortion was widespread in the lower levels of the government machinery. He also pointed out that there were no public toilets for slum dwellers.

A former engineer with the Bhakra Beas Management Board, Mr Hardeep Singh said that nobody seemed to know the level and inclination of Kharar, as a result of which an effective sewerage system could not be laid. Stating that a comprehensive plan needed to be conceived for the drainage system, he added that the drainage system of Kharar should be integrated with the drainage system of the state’s Irrigation Department’s drainage system.

Stating that there was a shortage of water supply in Kharar, Mr Sukhjit Singh, a union leader said that lack of an outlet for waste water from Kharar was resulting in dirty water overflowing into villages around the township, which may result in diseases breaking out. He added that they had written to the authorities in this regard several times, but to no avail so far.

A local teacher, Mr Narinder Paul, said that five local schools were receiving grants-in-aid from the government. He said that the local MC had to come forward with finances to maintain these schools as the fees collected from students was insufficient to meet maintenance costs.

In the backdrop of an increasing number of youths abusing drugs and narcotics, a local resident, Dr S P Matta, suggested that instead of just printing health warnings on packets of cigarettes or bottles of liquor, their production should be stopped altogether.

The Principal of Government High School, Desu Majra, Ms Daya Wanti, said that the school was facing a serious problem as sewerage from surrounding areas flowed into the school compound. She added that the ground belonging to the school had been sold off by the locals. Even the school hall had not been developed by the government, nor were they allowing the school authorities to complete the work themselves. Further, there was not even a proper road leading up to the school.

A retired educationalist, Prof S P Dhawan, was of the view that additional space be allocated to news items pertaining to smaller towns and more news stories relating to Kharar be carried in the newspaper.

Dr S N Dua said that there was an urgent need to control the mushrooming of private schools, which were charging very high fees. He said that presently the youth of Kharar was suspended between urban and rural cultures, and there was no forum here where they could redress their requirements. He added that another major problem facing Kharar was noise pollution.

Former sarpanch of Desu Majra village Jagir Singh said that the level of the village is six feet below the road level, which made it prone to floods. He said that heavy rains would have a devastating effect on the village.

A local shopkeeper, Mr Arun Sharma, was of the view that the entire interactive exercise was aimed at increasing the circulation of the paper rather than redressing the problems of the people.

The Principal of Arya College for Women, Ms Veena Mahajan, said that though the college was 34 years old, it was in dire straits due to lack of funds. She said that the college could not run science or commerce courses as it could not get affiliation from any university because university rules required that a college must have at least five acres of land. Appealing for financial help, she said that the number of students in the college had declined from about 700 to 500.

A local resident, Sohan Lal Joshi, was critical of the high bus fares between Kharar and Chandigarh. He said that while Chandigarh, Kurali and Morinda were at equal distance from Kharar, the bus fare from Kharar to Chandigarh was Rs 14, while for the other two places it was Rs 5. He also pointed out that there were no industries in this area, because of which there were no employment opportunities for the youth of this township and adjoining villages.

A local farmer, Mr Jora Singh Bhullar, regretted that no one was listening to the problems being voiced by the farmers. He said that adequate compensation was not being given to farmers when their lands were acquired for construction of roads, rail-links or buildings. He also pointed out that despite producing several historic personalities, there was not a single memorial in Kharar. 


Ranbaxy refutes charges on vaccine
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 24
Ranbaxy Laboratories has refuted the allegations made by the Chairperson of National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) regarding the premier pharmaceutical company selling imported vaccines to poultry farmers in this region , without government approval. Mr Paresh Chaudry, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Ranbaxy Laboratories, has said that the company's Animal Health Division is marketing vaccines imported from Ceva Sante Animale, France, which is a reputed international veterinary vaccine research house. He said vaccines were imported only after getting approval from Drug the Controller-General of India and these vaccines were sold here only after getting due validation from Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Izatnagar.

He has also alleged that the Chairperson of NECC, Ms Anuradha Desai, who also owns a vaccine manufacturing unit — Ventri Biologicals, a concern of her VH company — was misleading farmers and government agencies by accusing Ranbaxy Laboratories of selling banned live vaccines. She had alleged that these have an adverse affect on egg production and increased mortality in hens. Mr Chaudry said the company was working in association with government agencies in trying to identify the cause of the spread of the viral infection in poultry farms in Haryana and Punjab. 


Defence land mismanaged: CAG
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had suffered losses of over Rs 12 crore due to poor management of defence land at Bathinda, Delhi and Ambala cantonments.

Hauling up the MoD, in its latest report on Defence Services, submitted before Parliament last week, the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) of India had pointed out that the ministry suffered a loss of Rs 12.44 crore for not leasing out the surplus defence land for agricultural purpose, by the end of the year 2001-02.

As per the details available, the total requirement of land for the military station at Bathinda, based on the troop strength and norms fixed by the Union Government, was 4,712 acres.

However, as much as 13,581.26 acres of land was acquired in 1972 at Bathinda. Thus, 8,869.168 acres costing Rs 513.26 crore were surplus. This land, was not used for more than 20 years and was not even considered for leasing for agricultural purposes.

According to the reply filed by the Defence Estate Officer, Chandigarh, before the CAG, “This was not done because the MoD had not declared the land as being surplus to requirements”. Computed with reference to the Standard Rent Table of the area concerned, CAG has pointed out that a revenue of Rs to 12.15 crore could have been realised from 1996-1997 to 2000-2001, had the surplus land been let out for agricultural purposes in Bathinda.

Similarly, land measuring 100.43 acres in Burari village of Delhi was acquired in 1911-12 for grazing purposes. The value of the land in 2002 was Rs 215.41 crore. In the absence of animals with the Army, the land was lying unused for the past many years Its commercial exploitation was never explored. However, the CAG has not yet ascertained the revenue loss due to non-utilisation of land for commercial gains.

And in Ambala cantonment, according to the land audit conducted by the Director-General in the year 1994-95, 418.04 acres of land valued at Rs 113.14 crore was found to be surplus. This land was also neither disposed of nor let out for agriculture. This entailed a revenue loss of Rs 29.91 lakh during the period from 1996-97 to 2001-2002.

“The management of Defence lands suffers from a number of deficiencies. The rules provide that leases of lands to private parties for commercial and lucrative purposes should be based on their market value. But in many cases, leases have either not been concluded or lands continue to be occupied by the lessees after the expiry of the leases. And in some cases, revenues realised from the leasing of Defence lands have been incorrectly credited to Regimental Funds instead of Public Funds”, points out the CAG report. 


Husband, father in-law framed, alleges woman
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Asha, mother of an 18-month-old girl, is waiting for her husband and father-in-law, who she says have been framed by the police, to be released from the Burail jail.

She says: “A policeman called Prem Chand came to our house early yesterday and asked my husband, Musafir, and father-in-law, Chander Dev, to go with him to the Sector-31 police station. I picked up my daughter and followed them to the police station, where my husband and father-in-law were put in the lock-up.”

The woman said, when she had demanded their release, the policeman who had taken away the men had told her that she, too, would have to remain there along with her daughter. She said: “The police, kept my daughter Sangita and myself in the police station for more than four hours and let us off on a temporary bail later in the day.”

When released on temporary bail, she realised that all of them had been charged under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC. When she returned to her house in Ram Darbar, she found the door-locks broken and her belongings scattered outside.

She returned to the police station, where she was not allowed to lodge an FIR. She said: “However, the police arrested Ram Narayan, one of our relatives who had tried to occupy my house forcibly, and charged him under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC along with my husband and father-in-law, just to justify our arrest.”

She also alleged that charges against her husband and father-in-law were false, as they had been involved in no scuffle. In her complaint to the SHO of the Sector 31 police station, she said Ram Narayan and his associates had not only ransacked her house, but also taken away Rs 2,000 and some gold and silver ornaments

Till the time of filing this report, no FIR had been lodged on her complaint. Mr Jaswant Singh, SHO of the police station, was not available for comments.

Little Sangita would soon sense the absence of her father and grandfather, Asha is worried.


NCP workers back sweepers’ stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) workers here today extended their support to the Sweepers Union chain hunger strike by burning an effigy of the contract system.

The party has also threatened to launch an agitation against the system if it is not immediately withdrawn. The party workers led by its president Gurbachan Singh held a procession from a ground near the Sector 24-25-37 and 38 Chowk to “cremate” the effigy of the contract system near the roundabout.

The protesters demanded that the contract system should be withdrawn because it was neither in favour of the people, employees nor the government.

The workers also demanded that the posts lying vacant in the sanitation, health, police and engineering departments should be immediately filled up. They said due benefits should be ensured to the employees under the contract system before the contract system was abolished.


Protest rally on April 29
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Federation of the UT Employees and Workers has decided to hold a rally on April 29 in protest against privatisation of various government institutions.

In a press note issued here, today, Mr Bhagmal Rana, general secretary of the Federation, said many bodies like the ITI Qualified Workers Union, the UT Powermen Union, the ICCW Employees Union and the CCI Workers Union would participate in the rally. 


Religious discourse at CII
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
As many as 250 persons attended a religious discourse delivered by Yogiraj Sat Gurunath at a satsang held at the CII here today.

He started with a simple meditation to prepare the audience for the three transmissions of “shaktipath”, “pranapath” and “shivapath”.

He explained the idea of “chakras”, and energy. He also highlighted the process of breathing through the spinal channel.

He said: “The spiritual transmissions promote ‘kayakalap’ and stops the aging process of the body, eliminating emotional sufferings and awakening the fountain of youth.”

Mr Malvinder Singh, president of the Chandigarh Golf Club, was the guest of honour.


Bus facility for employees sought

Chandigarh, April 27
A deputation of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union, Chandigarh, on Saturday met the Deputy Director, Transport, Punjab and demanded that bus facility provided to employees of the state posted in various directorates be restored immediately.

The president of the union, Mr Kulbhushan Kanwar, said the state government had withdrawn bus facility for employees posted in the high court and various other offices located all over the city in Sector 17 or Sector 34. The bus service continues for employees posted in the Secretariate and the Mini-Secretariate, claimed the union while adding that the Punjab Government should revoke its order and make necessary budgetary arrangements for the employees. TNS


Town planning and environment

Today the polluted environment is the major cause of worry for human kind. Not much attention is given towards environment. As the population is increasing day by day, demand for more urbanisation is also increasing, resulting in cutting down of forest cover and reducing of green belts on our earth. Haphazard and unplanned growth of colonies and towns is also playing a role in polluting environment.

The government must amend and go strict on town planning by giving authority only to the state government to develop towns and colonies with proper specifications for residential lanes (like Chandigarh has). Trees should be planted on both sides of roads and it should be made mandatory for every house to have one tree in its compound. There must be provision for one spacious park for every colony with more and more trees. Besides this, all national and state highways should be immediately decorated with indigenous trees like neem, mangoe and peepal. Shops situated along the highways should be razed to the ground.

Parminder Singh

No regard for passengers

I take the liberty in bringing to the notice of the authorities concerned through Readers’ Write column the callous and rude attitude of dhaba owners on the GT Road. I happened to travel from Pathankot to Chandigarh via Hoshiarpur on April 18. The driver and conductor of the bus stopped the vehicle at a popular dhaba of their choice. The dhaba owner had not displayed the rates of its sale items. I wanted to buy a cold drink, and to my surprise the dhaba owner charged me Rs 18 in place of Rs 15, which was the printed price. Despite my arguments the dhaba owner did not pay any heed and instead warned me to surrender the bottle and buy the cold drink elsewhere.

I sought the help of the driver and conductor but they too sided with the dhaba owner. As a matter of fact, drivers and conductors stop their buses at their favourite dhabas for the simple reason that they are attended to as VIP guests by dhaba owners, while the passengers are looted. There is need for the transport authorities to take notice of this.

Ujagar Singh

Open more job avenues

I wish to say that with the haphazard mushroom growth of engineering, medical and other allied institutions, India’s technological manpower has increased manifold. This is a happy trend so far as eliminating unemployment is concerned. Just take the case of Punjab. After every 50 to 100 km, there is an engineering college or institute. These colleges are imparting valuable education in the field of engineering (computers and so on ), electronics and telecommunications. Thousands of engineers pass out every year with distinction. The opportunities for employment in the country are far less as compared to ‘‘production’’. There is great need for the Indian Government not to throw ‘‘promises’’ but to act firmly and practically to open job avenues for the young ones.

There is need for exploring new fields of employment so that our youth who get education with a lot of labour, money and intelligence get absorbed in jobs and are saved from the clutches of exploiters.

Ujagar Singh

Don’t be cruel to animals

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal wishes to bring to your notice as well as the public about the awareness regarding the cruelty towards animals and the role of society in this regard. It has been reported by various animal lovers that they are being insulted/threatened by some of their neighbours for their concern to care, look after and feed dogs of their mohallas. They are not only threatening animal lovers to face dire consequences for their sympathy shown towards stray dogs, but have also warned that they will get these dogs killed by crushing them under vehicles or by shooting them.

Such persons should understand that these stray dogs have the right to live in the streets. Under the SPCA Act, 1960, nobody has the right to harm any animal. Under the Indian Penal Code, anybody who kills, poisons or maims any animal shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with a fine or with both.

Dr R.M. Sharma
SPCA, Chandigarh

Words of wisdom

Unfortunate, but true... the number of suicide cases in the city involving young citizens in particular. Some of the reasons that force youngsters to take this extreme step are: Pressure of studies, poverty, failure in examinations and failure in love. Proper and timely counselling, indeed, helps people to come out of depression, which is quite unnecessary most of the times.

Provocative programmes on TV, like MTV’s “Love ke liye”, which influence young minds to perform daring acts in order to express affection for the partner, should be banned.

The increasing number of suicide cases in the city have made me pen down a few lines...

“There are so many reasons

to live and feel blessed;

However, still some persons

continue to remain depressed!

Forget about complications,

today everyone is stressed;

Accept difficult situations,

The daring have progressed!

Reveal all frustrations,

why get easily suppressed?

Life also brings solutions,

if fate has ever messed!”

Yasmin Dutta

Experience is the best teacher

It happened over 20 years ago when I was a middle-aged person and was accustomed to use the brawn more than the brain. Still, somehow, something worthwhile trickled through the grey matter. I don’t still know how. Never the less, it happened like this.

My daughter had completed 12 years of schooling successfully with medical subjects and she was all set to get admission in MBBS in either of the two Government Medical Colleges in the state. However, there was one hurdle to be crossed over — the domicile certificate. Accordingly, I started making the rounds of my ancestral place near Pakistan border, from the place of my posting as I was in Central service, accompanied by my daughter during the sweltering heat of the summer.

At last we were able to knock at the impregnable door of the office of SDM concerned, duly armed with the necessary documents issued by the tehsildar, on the basis of which the SDM was to issue the domicile certificate as a matter of routine. As we reached there, we saw many other unfortunate parents and wards listening to the rebukes of the mighty clerk of the SDM.

When the mighty clerk thundered: “Give me the forms regarding those candidates only who have passed out from the centres located in Punjab,” I also quietly handed over the form held in my hand. After a few minutes all the forms were duly signed by the SDM except those pertaining to a person who had protested.

Last week when my daughter rang up from California where she is doing a roaring practice in internal medicine, I reminded her about that incident and asked her if she had by then understood the meaning of the success formula used by me. “Don’t let yourself be singled out,” pat came the reply.

Balvinder Khehra


Increase height of fish-belly gate

The proposal to raise the sill or crest level of the Sukhna lake to store more water will involve dismantling and subsequent re-construction of the existing crest and other civil works.

The alternative for achieving the same objective is by increasing the height of the fish-belly gate by 2 feet by welding at the top of the existing gate. The effect of slight increase in forces on the gate due to this modification and to check if the stresses remain within the permissible limits can be known by referring the gate design to the workshop at Nangal. Minor strengthening of the gate, if required, can be done easily.

Also no change in gate-hosting equipment is required since counter-balance is there for adjustment. This remedial measure does not involve any dismantling of the crest or civil structure. This is simpler , less time consuming and more economical.

R.K. Sharma,
Retd Chief Engineer,


No afternoon water supply
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 27
There will be no afternoon water supply to Sector 20-C and D, 21-C and D, 31-34, 44-47, the Industrial Area Phase II, RamDarbar, Colony No 5, Burail and some parts of the Industrial Area Phase 1 here on Monday.


Two held for stealing iron rods
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, April 27
Two security personnel deployed at the construction site in the PGI were arrested for stealing four quintal of iron rods being used in the construction of a new complex in the hospital. The accused, had been employed to guard the construction material. The police has registered a case under Section 379, 411 and 34, IPC, on a complaint by the site in charge. The stolen items were being taken away on a “rehri” when a police party reached the spot and arrested them.

DOG STOLEN: A brown labrador was stolen by occupants of a Santro in Sector 9 here. According to information, Mrs Narinder Sandhu, of Sector 8, reported to the police that she was walking with her dog when four occupants of the car stole her dog. A case under Sections 382 and 34, IPC, has been registered.

SEARCH OPERATION: The operation cell of the city police carried out search operation in Bapu Dham Colony here on Sunday. As many as 37 persons were rounded up. They were let off after being questioned.

Chocolates worth thousands of rupees and Rs 50,000 in cash were stolen from a super market in Sector 8 on Sunday. The thieves are suspected to have broken in the shop from a ventilator. A case has been registered.


Renuka Shahane ‘knits’ her way into people’s hearts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
A graceful demeanour, underlined with a million dollar smile — that is actress Renuka Shahane — in a few words. For three years now, this anchor-turned-actress has been walking beside Vardhaman as its brand ambassador to promote the age-old art of knitting.

Interestingly, when approached by Vardhaman three years ago, Renuka Shahane-begun by learning to knit herself, then she went on to promote the art of knitting among lakhs of children, who participated in the much-hyped ‘aao bune contests’ organised by Vardhaman in 500 schools across the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

The contest has made an entry into the Limca Book of Records for being the largest of its kind ever organised. Renuka Shahane gave away the prizes to 45 winners of various categories of the contest which was open to children of Classes VI to XII. The prize winning entries were selected from over one lakh entries. These entries were also displayed at the CII.

Unlike other celebrities who seek complacency in gracing occasions, Renuka chose to talk to the kids about the art of knitting. She added,”childhood is an ideal stage for imbibing the art of knitting.” The Executive Director, Vardhaman, Mr Sachit Jain was also present on the occasion.

After the function, Renuka Shahane spared some time to talk about the new found meaning of life after she got married to the actor, Ashutosh Rana. “He is rooted in tradition. From him I have learnt to have a wider view of my country. But yes, I cannot speak Hindi as fluently as he does,” she added.

Currently busy with her six-month-old son Shauryaman, Renuka is only accepting offers of short television serials. “I owe my identity to television. So, I want to return to this medium. Gradually I plan to produce a film in which Ashutosh will play the lead role.”

After shooting to fame as the anchor for ‘Surabhi’, the teleserial that showcased cultural richness of India, Renuka, went on to act in films like ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’ and ‘Sailaab’. But lately she has been busy with matrimony. And she loves to admit the same, “Living in a joint family with Ashutosh has helped me value human relationships better. There is great joy in marriage, provided you learn to balance.” The balance comes easy to the star couple. News has it that Ashutosh Rana dropped a significant role in the much-hyped ‘Khajuraho’, after his wife, Renuka, asked him to withdraw.

Vardhaman initiated the contest three years ago in order to promote knitting among school children. Initially the response was not very encouraging. But today the contest attracts over one lakh entries from students (classes VI to XII) of 500 schools of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. With novelty in its base, the contest has entered the Limca Book of records. Now Vardhaman plans to take this contest to Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Vardhaman is also in the process of promoting knitting abroad.


WWICS to sue Canadian Govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS) has tied up with Rosenblatt Associates, a leading Canadian law firm, to sue the Canadian Government against the implementation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations (IRPA).

Addressing mediapersons here today, Mr Timothy Leahy of Rosenblatt Associates and Lieut-Col B.S. Sandhu, CMD of WWICS, announced the launch of a nationwide interactive seminar under their “Canada now or never” campaign to educate the masses on the landmark judgement by a Canadian court that had helped 102 applicants to immigrate to Canada.

Lieut-Col Sandhu said the implementation of the IRPA had deprived at least 1.2 lakh Indians from the right to immigrate to Canada. “They all applied in accordance with the existing rules between 1999 and 2002 but the process of finalising their immigration by the Canadian authorities has been delayed until the implementation of the IRPA in 2002”, he said.

“We at WWICS feel that this amounts to a breach of contract as the Government of Canada had accepted the client’s fee and had accepted to consider the case according to the rules,” he added.

“We have tied up with the leading immigration lawyers and are initiating a suit against the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada by the end of this month to pressure the government to assess the pending cases under the old rules”, he said.

Mr Leahy said he planned to file separate cases against the Government of Canada on the complaints of individuals to put pressure on the government.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |