Sunday, July 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fresh water, sewerage pipes continue to run parallel
Second cholera case from Mauli Jagran
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Even after official confirmation of 33 per cent faecal contamination in the drinking water of most of the slum colonies in the city at the time of outbreak of cholera last year, the situation remains the same as no efforts have been made to distance out parallel pipes carrying sewerage and water.

Meanwhile, having tested positive for cholera, a 22-year-old woman, Reeta Devi, from Mauli Jagran village has been admitted to the communicable diseases ward at the PGI.

Lalita Devi, a resident of Sector 25-D, has been admitted to the PGI with suspected cholera. Her stool examination report is awaited, said the Director, Health Services, Dr C.P. Bansal.

A study had been conducted by PGI’s Microbiology department to undertake bacteriological evaluation of drinking water being supplied to the slum colonies, urban sectors and the periphery areas. “It was after collecting over 500 samples between July and October last year that we came to the conclusion that there was an average of 33 per cent faecal contamination in the drinking water, being supplied to most of the slum colonies,” disclosed Prof Meera Sharma, head of Medical Microbiology department at PGI.

The study conducted jointly by Prof Sharma and Dr Neelam Taneja, was sanctioned by the UT Science and Technology department to check the quality of the drinking water. With the outbreak of water and vector borne diseases like cholera and dengue becoming an annual feature, the study was conducted with the objective to assess whether the water being supplied was fit for human consumption.

At the time of outbreak of cholera in Sector 52, Dadu Majra and Palsora, the then UT Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob(retd) had directed the MC authorities to relay the parallel running drinking water and sewerage pipes, so that the main source of contamination could be plugged. In fact, a two-member committee comprising of MC Chief Engineer, V.K. Bhardwaj and Chandigarh Housing Board, Chief Engineer, S.K. Jain had been constituted to look into the matter. The MC, on its part had pointed out that a lot of funds would be required to relay the pipes.

Even after last year's bitter experience steps have not been taken to relay the pipes though it had been established that it was faecal contamination, which had led to outbreak of cholera.

“The presence of e-coli found in drinking water was an indicator of faecal contamination, which was the main cause for outbreak of cholera in many colonies,” said Prof Sharma. She added that the contamination was found to be the highest in Dadu Majra, Sector 52, and Palsora Colony and this information had been conveyed to the authorities so that the problem could be rectified.

The water samples collected from urban areas of PGI, Sectors 15 and 16, and Industrial Area were found to be fit for human consumption, while water drawn from the well in Mata Jayanti Devi, had high contamination. “The slum colonies of Maloya, Udham Singh Colony, Bapu Dham, Labour Colony, Palsora, Sector 25, Dadu Majra, Sector 52 and Ram Darbar some of whom witnessed outbreak of cholera, had the highest water contamination levels,” confirmed Dr Taneja.

Reeta Devi, who was admitted to the PGI yesterday, was today shifted to the communicable diseases ward. Reeta’s husband, Subhash, said, “My wife fell ill two days ago. I took her to the General Hospital in Panchkula, from where she was referred to the PGI.”

This is the second case of cholera reported from Mauli Jagran this year. The first case, that of seven-year old Arjun, was reported from Vikasnagar area in the village.

A rapid response team of the Health Department was rushed to the locality from where the second case was reported. Dr Bansal, accompanied by the Anti-Malaria Officer, Dr H.C.Gera, also visited the area, along with other senior officials. Water samples have been collected and chlorine tablets distributed among residents.

“The possible source of contamination could have been the choe adjacent to the house of Reeta Devi, apart from the fact that she had been storing drinking water for a long duration,” said Dr Bansal.

Doctors at the GMCH said there had been an increase in the number of diarrhoea and gastroenteritis cases during the past few days. Most of these cases were being reported from the slums and rehabilitation colonies, they added.

To check the sale of adulterated and contaminated food items and drinks in view of the epidemic threat, a team of health officials comprising Dr G. Dewan, Deputy Medical Superintendent, General Hospital, and Dr Satbir Singh today raided several places in the city. Huge quantities of local- made ice cream, soft drinks, jal jeera, gol gappas, chana masala and other eatables were destroyed in Mauli Jagran, Darua, Industrial Area Phase-I, Khuda Lahora, Rock Garden, Bapu Dham Colony and Maloya.

The total number of cholera patients admitted to various city hospitals during the past 10 days has gone up to five, including two from Balongi village in SAS Nagar. 



Balongi on verge of cholera epidemic?
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 5
Balongi village here could well be on the threshold of a cholera epidemic. With the Government Medical College Chandigarh having declared two confirmed cases from the village and at least three persons reporting every day to private clinics in the village with cholera-like symptoms, the situation could turn alarming in the coming weeks.

Balongi, one of the better developed villages of Kharar due to its proximity to SAS Nagar, however, lacks a government health clinic. Most of the villagers are going to various private clinics in the township.

“The number of patients who could be cholera suspects is six or seven in two days. But one cannot be sure till one examines the patient again. Right now we are treating them for diarrhoea, vomiting and fever and waiting for them to get back to us in case their condition does not improve. Among those who come back without any improvement are being referred to the Civil Hospital here or government hospitals in Chandigarh,” said Dr Seema Jolly, a private practitioner in the city.

Residents, too, are blaming poor sanitation and contaminated water being supplied in the village for the potential epidemic outbreak situation in the village. “The village has an open drainage system, due to which there are flies all around. These drains are not covered and are becoming breeding- grounds for disease-spreading virus and bacteria. ’’said a shopkeeper in the village.

The Ropar health authorities, however, claim that all is well so far. ‘‘Our team of doctors has visited the village, taken water samples for testing, distributed chlorine tablets to the population and held an awareness camp,” said Dr Rana Harinder, Civil Surgeon, Ropar. The residents insist that the water they drink is not clean and about a fortnight ago muddy water was coming from the taps. “Moreover, a large number of people are still using water from handpumps for drinking purposes which is most unhygienic,” said a resident.

“There is no immediate danger of any outbreak as the two patients who have reported at the Government Medical College in Chandigarh spent just a few hours in Balongi. They basically belong to Ludhiana and fell ill during travelling. We have not received any case of cholera in any of the hospitals in Ropar till now,” said Dr Harinder.



MC detects cause of contaminated water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The Municipal Corporation (MC) has detected 12 jhuggis, camouflaged along the wall of the B.Ed. College in Sector 20 C, near the dhobi ghat, contaminating water supply to residents in the sector. The residents had been complaining that they were getting water supply, smelling of kerosene. The Engineering Department of the MC launched a drive to detect the cause of the smell.

Officials of the corporation found a habitation behind 12 feet tall hedges near the college. The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, told Chandigarh Tribune that when the officials, Mayor Subhash Chawla and councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma visited the spot they found 12 jhuggis between the college wall and the hedge. Jhuggi dwellers had allegedly punctured the lead cover over joints in pipelines to take water. The leaking water was being directed towards the wall of the college, he said. The college authorities had also made a hole in its wall to let the surplus water flow towards the jhuggis, making the leaked pipelines vulnerable for contamination, he said.

This has prompted the MC to intensify its drive to free its service lines of encroachments in Kajheri Colony, Daddu Majra and Ram Darbar.

Armed with a survey done across the city, the corporation is planning a major drive to remove encroachments over the service lines, the Commissioner said.

He said if the service lines were not cleared of encroachments, it would be difficult for the officials to trace the leakage.

The MC had sought cooperation from residents to complain at phone numbers 781156 and 775234 to let the authorities know if they notice any change in the taste of water and bring it to the notice of the authorities. Mr MP Singh said the corporation had planned 10 more Sulabh Shauchalays in Colony number 4, 5 and other colonies with the help of the Administration.

He said the corporation would be able to improve water supply in all colonies as new tubewells installed were likely to start functioning within this period.

It was officially said that the corporation was considering closing down water-stand posts inside the colonies to check water logging, which could cause diseases.

A new arrangement had also been made for an alternative water supply to the slums of the city.



PU Senate to discuss fee hike today
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Will Panjab University be able to revert the fee hike recently announced by the Punjab Government in respect of various courses being offered on the varsity campus and at its affiliated colleges? The Senate, governing body of the university, meets tomorrow to decide the matter for the session.

The question gains importance in the light that despite opposition from various quarters and with the university Senate yet to take any formal decision on the issue, majority of the colleges have already started charging the revised fee.

There is very little hope of any opposition to the hike from government colleges, either in Punjab or in the UT. The government-aided colleges in Chandigarh are not charging fee as per the revised fee structure, but majority of government-aided colleges in Punjab have already started following the revised rates.

The government had never before interfered in the fee structure being followed in colleges and universities. Colleges, despite major reservations, will find it tough to overrule the proposed hike. Majority of the colleges are the ones that rely on government for 95 per cent of their budget as grant-in-aid. There is very little hope of any protest or opposition from these colleges.

The revised admission fee for undergraduate classes in Punjab is Rs 750, while in Chandigarh it is Rs 500; the revised tuition fee for Punjab colleges is Rs 350 per month, while it is Rs 200 in Chandigarh; and the admission fee for postgraduate courses in Punjab is Rs 1,000, while it is Rs 750 for UT Colleges.

Representatives of local colleges, including Principal S.C. Marriya, DAV College, Principal A.C. Vaid, GGDSD College, and Principal P.S. Sangha, SGGS College, confirmed that the non-government colleges in the city had not implemented the revised rates and would wait for the Senate decision. On the other hand, the government colleges in the city have already started charging fee as per the revised rates.

Principal Harmit Kaur, Ramgarhia Girls College, Ludhiana, said the college had already started charging the revised fee and so had the majority of other colleges.

Despite all opposition to the idea, the colleges had no option but to follow the orders.

Principal Janmit Singh, DAV College, Hoshiarpur, said the college was waiting for the university decision on the issue.

Principal Tarsem Bahia, AS College, Khanna, said colleges had little choice despite opposition to the idea. Private colleges were caught between two masters — the government and the university, he said.

The Senate meeting is also likely to witness scenes of opposition from different student organisations.

The ABVP and the GGDSD College Teachers’ Union have vehemently criticised the fee hike through separate press notes.

It is also worth mentioning that all other universities in the state have already decided to impose the fee hike.



Students to hold protest

All prominent students’ organisation of Panjab University today formed a joint action panel to protest against the proposed fee hike by the university and affiliated colleges. The protest will be held in front of the Administrative Block tomorrow. After two hours of deliberations, a delegation met Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, at his residence and requested him to follow the present fee structure and agreed to 10 per cent fee hike annually.

The organisations were PUSU, SOPU, the Haryana Students Association, the ABVP, the Ambedkar Students Association and the Panjab University Research Scholar Association.



Row over control of PUSU refuses to die
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The controversy regarding the real group controlling the affairs of the Panjab University Students Union refuses to die. Leaders of two groups are busy convincing the university offices these days that they are in charge of the organisation.

A press conference was organised today by the group which has Gurparvez Singh Sandhu, a law student, as its president. Sandhu said the rival camp led by Malwinder Singh Kang had lost its claim to PUSU by registering itself as the Panjab University Students Union Association (PUSUA).

Prof Nirmal Singh, Dean Student Welfare, in an official letter, has informed Kang that the students’ body he headed was registered as PUSUA. “You are, therefore, required to address the PU authorities as president of the PUSUA only,” it reads. Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Kang had said that his organisation was PUSU only and the error in recording the name had occurred in the office of the registering authority. He said he would soon get it corrected. 



Heavy monsoon showers in city, suburbs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The city and adjoining areas in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh received heavy monsoon showers today, causing a steep fall in the maximum temperatures.
The maximum temperature fell by 11°C as compared to yesterday's temperature in Ambala, in Patiala by 10.3°C, Ludhiana 9.6°C and in Chandigarh by 8°C.

The south-west monsoon, which had arrived in Chandigarh, parts of Punjab and most of Himachal Pradesh two days in advance than its expected date of June 29 but eluded most of Haryana, brought welcome showers for the state that suffered its worst drought in many years last year.

Its advance was stalled in the rest of the northwest region for about a week in the absence of any thrust from the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.

The widespread rains brought respite to the people from the hot weather and torrid humid conditions. Besides, the rain has brightened the prospects of the kharif crop, especially the recently transplanted paddy in this part of the country.

However, farmers who had planned to sow maize crop in the villages of Chandigarh and adjoining areas in Punjab and Haryana would still have to wait for another few days, as a little humid soil would favour sowing of the crop.

According to the Met Department, Ambala received 54 mm rainfall, Panchkula 14 mm, Kalka 16 mm and other adjoining places of SAS Nagar, Kharar, Kurali, Dera Bassi, Morinda (in Punjab) and Pinjore, Barwala, Raipur Rani (in Haryana) between 12 mm and 17 mm.

It started pouring in Chandigarh in the wee hours and the city had received over 15 mm of rain by late afternoon, said a senior official of the department.

Patiala received 33.4 mm of rainfall and the Nangal Dam area 78.6 mm.

The department has forecast moderate to rather heavy rain for the region over the next two days. There were also reports of disruption in power supply for a few hours due to rain in parts of the city and adjoining rural areas.

Comparative maximum temperature in the past few days. (Temperature in degree Celsius)


July 1

July 2

July 3

July 4

July 5



























Now colour blues for vehicle owners
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Vehicle owners in the city and its surrounding towns might be fuming at the Chandigarh Administration’s move ordering them to get their addresses changed in the registration certificates (RCs) of their vehicles, but they should now be ready to make sure that the colour of their vehicle is the same as mentioned in the registration certificate, if the staff at the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) is to be believed.

Mr Satish Awasthi, an ex-serviceman, was shocked when he was told by the staff at the RLA office here today that he could be in trouble if he ever changed the colour of his vehicle without getting necessary changes made in the RC. He had come to the RLA office to get his address changed in the RC. After spending over three hours, he was able to get a slip with the changed residential address.

But when he saw that the colour of his vehicle “green light” was also mentioned on it, he enquired about its purpose? He was told, “Under the Motor Vehicles Act, the colour of the vehicle could not be altered without prior permission of the RLA. “The traffic police can impound a vehicle or challan its owner if he fails to intimate about the change in the colour of his vehicle and get the necessary changes made in the RC,” said the person manning the counter.

Mr K.S. Lamba, an advocate, said under the Motor Vehicles Act no alteration could be made in the vehicle, including the colour of the vehicle, without the permission of the competent authority. He said the basic purpose of the Act was to ensure that in case of theft or accident, the vehicle could be identified. But in Chandigarh, he felt, a section of officials was bent upon harassing the vehicle owners.



Shifted to Panchkula? Pay road tax again
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 5
Even as the office of the Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM) here is all set to deal with the rush of residents wanting to get their addresses changed in the registration certificates (RCs) of their vehicles, the State Transport Authority has said that vehicle owners will have to pay road tax for the balance period, besides the transfer fee.

The SDM’s office will be dealing with all cases of transfer of addresses of Panchkula residents, who own vehicles registered in Chandigarh. Though the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Panchkula, Ms Neelam Pradeep Kashni, will be formally chalking out the course to be adopted on Monday, the State Transport Department has said that vehicle owners will have to pay all requisite taxes and fees.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the Secretary (Transport), Haryana, Mr R.N. Prashar, said, “Residents are expected to get their vehicles registered on their permanent addresses only. According to rules, any person shifting his residence from one state to another will have to pay the road tax for the remaining period of registration, along with an extension fee of Rs 20,” he said.

The SDM, Mr Inder Singh, said, “Once a vehicle owner gets a no objection certificate (NOC) from Chandigarh, he should approach this office with a proof of residence (ration card, voter card, electricity or water bill) and form number 33 for getting his address changed. However, we have not launched a concerted drive against vehicle owners residing here but having a different addresses on the RCs of their vehicles,” he said.

It may be noted that the Regional Transport Authority, Punjab, had sought clarification from the State Transport Commissioner, Punjab, over the collection of road tax, extension fee etc. in such cases. Since then, Panchkula residents have been making inquiries about the possibility of a one-time exemption of these taxes being allowed for the Chandigarh to Panchkula change of address cases

It may be noted that only 40,000 vehicles are registered with the Registering Authority, Panchkula, while the vehicular population of the township is almost one lakh. The remaining 60 per cent of the vehicles are registered in Chandigarh.



Stricter than men in khakhis
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
They are policemen in the making. Prominent in their orange jackets, a group of students streamline traffic and manage public single-handedly at the admission venue for plus one classes of government schools in Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 23.

On duty since last week, ever since the admission process began, these students have been hand-picked for the job from Government School in Sector 37, which has a National Service Scheme(NSS) contingent.

The hot, sultry weather is no deterrent for these boys. Fired with a desire to perform, the new-found power is giving them a perpetual high.

Stricter than the men in khakhis, they give lessons to the public in discipline sans any concessions. Managing the traffic from morning till the last vehicle leaves the venue, their devotion is undaunting.

“Our school told us to reach the venue this morning. Since then we are here, enjoying every bit of the work. At times a little excitement comes our way when some obstinate parent doesn't comply with our directions. But we convince him to abide by the rules and have the last word,” a volunteer, Mandeep, says.

The hands-on experience has given the students a peek into a cop's life, which, even they say, is certainly not a bed of roses. “Some people argue, some are nasty. But by and large, we have had no major hassles. A policeman's life is tougher, however, this is a good training ground,” Vishal Bagga adds.

Though these students are performing their duty with utmost devotion, they are doing so without any incentive. “We don't even know if we are getting any attendance for the days we are missing at the school. However, this experience is worth it and is a reward in its own right,” Purshottam explains.

The DPI (Schools), Mr DS Mangat, appreciative of the boys' efforts, said they had received training by working with the police, last year. He added that a number of boys had been trained for the purpose and were being employed in shifts. “We want to give each one a chance while ensuring they do not miss out much on their studies,” he explained.

At the end of the duty, the boys will be given one-day camp's certificate as a reward for their hard work while attendance will automatically be given at the level of the school. 



27 per cent fall in crime
Tribune News Service


  • 27 per cent fall in cases reported during the first six months of this year as compared to the corresponding period last year.
  • Redefining of duty of beat constables, personnel on PCR vehicles and regular perusal of pending cases.
  • 2,160 new cases registered and 2,500 old cases were disposed of during the past six months.
  • However, incidents of snatching have increased.

Chandigarh, July 5
Residents of the city can feel more secure if the figures of crime reported this year are to be believed. The incidents of crime reported during the past six months have registered a decrease of around 27 per cent as compared to the corresponding months last year.

The top brass of the city police feels encouraged by the trend as the crime detection abilities of the force, though restricted to certain units, have shown an improvement. All cases of heinous crime, including the murder of the manager of Kiran Cinema, Harjinder Singh, were solved.

Various steps like redefining the role of the PCR vehicles, persistent pursuit of pending cases by senior officials, regular inspection of different units and pressure on the police personnel to deliver the goods produced results, feel senior police personnel. The result was that the cases under investigation reduced from 1,234 to 825 by the end of June.

The police claims that the reported cases of burglary and theft at all 11 police stations have shown a decrease. Brushing aside reports of non-registration of cases of burglary and theft, a senior official said all police stations had been specifically asked to register an FIR in all cases.

The amount of property stolen has come down to Rs 2.84 crore from Rs 3.12 crore during the corresponding period last year. According to the figures of crime reported in the city during the past six months released by the police today, the number of murders have fallen to nine from 15 of the corresponding period last year. Similarly, the cases of attempt to murder registered by the police have shown a fall of 20 per cent.

The stolen property recovered this year was worth Rs 1.41 crore against the property worth Rs 78.44 lakh recovered during the corresponding period last year. A senior police personnel said the percentage of property recovered had increased to 49.65 per cent from 25.14 per cent during the previous year.

During the past six months, the focus was on checking crime under the local and special laws like the Arms Act, the NDPS Act, the Excise Act and the Gambling Act. The police claimed that 450 persons arrested under the Excise Act this year against 204 persons arrested during the corresponding period last year. The cases registered under the NDPS Act also increased to 40 from 20 last year. Similarly the arrests made under the Gambling Act also increased during the period.

A number of gangs of auto-lifters, computer thieves and an inter-state gang of highway robbers and burglars who used to steal money from the glove boxes of scooters were detected this year. An ISI-backed spy racket was also detected by the crime branch. The police personnel said all the heinous cases reported so far during 2003, had been solved.



Accustomed to live with dirt
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
An estimated 1,000 houses along an open drain in the largest slum of the city, Colony Number 5, have learnt to live with the mosquito and fly menace and the diseases caused by them despite the authorities claiming to have taken measures to contain it.

The residents, estimated to be in thousands, have been vulnerable to fever and dysentery, said one such resident, Ram Snehi Dass, today.

The children of lesser mortals like Pankaj, Sangam and Pooja, residents of house numbers 1656/ 21 and 22, could be perpetually seen sitting along the drain emptying their bowels, said Mr Dass.

A large number of children and even elders are faced with the problem, he said.

“Flies, which swarm the houses, do not leave any food item untouched, making them contaminated,” Ms Rani said. The threat of the spread of diseases from flies and mosquitoes is always lurking over the colony. However, a large number of these cases do not reach hospitals as the people feel it is common here.

This is a common problem in the area where the number of public toilets is less than the population pressure. Out of around 15,000 jhuggis, 10,000 people might be affected by the dangerous twin menace of mosquitoes and flies, another resident Des Raj said.

Residents said that recently the garbage bins and the areas surrounding them had been thoroughly cleaned but that was only a cosmetic treatment to a bigger problem in the slum. Lime dust could be seen spread across the colony.

The colony is now virtually witnessing a daily powdering of the lime dust along the open drain but to no avail, the residents said. The lime dust spread to check the fly menace does not reduce their number.

Residents say unless spray of pesticides that had any effect on the mosquitoes and flies was done, the problem would not go from here. They said the spray of pesticides had not been done in the area for a long time.

Those living along the open drain have to keep a vigil against those who stealthily throw garbage here giving them sleepless nights against both mosquitoes as well as those elements who throw garbage along the drain instead of at the places where garbage bins have been kept.

Rani says against an impression that there was a round-the-clock water supply in the colony, this supply comes only at one point where women might have to wait for an hour to be able to get one bucketful of water.

“We have not seen how sweepers of the city look like as nobody comes inside the colony to clean the area,” a large number of women said.

Housewives said that the open drain emits dangerous gases during the summer and the monsoon is feared the most here.

They said the heavy rain brings sewage mixed water in thousands of houses and food items become contaminated. The perpetual stink in the houses of the open drain has weakened the sense of the residents living along the drain, the housewives said. The residents said the colony, which is the largest in the city, did not have any dispensary and the people have to rush for medical aid to a nearby Sector 45 and Burail village.



Sewerage system fails, residents fear epidemic
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 5
Residents of Phase 3B2 have complained to the Public Health Department here that failure of the sewerage system in the area has led to rain water entering their houses. In a letter addressed to the Municipal Council and the PWD, these residents have stated that houses numbering 1131 to 1136 and 1142 to 1145 are facing the problem most severely. Alleging that wooden doors have been damaged due to rain water collecting in the house, the residents fear that an epidemic like cholera or jaundice might spread here.

The letter also states that one of the residents had undergone a kidney transplant and he is prone to diseases and could suffer a lot because of the rain and sewerage water collecting in his house. “We are facing this problem for the last six years and we have already highlighted and shown this problem to municipal councillor and concerned officials but there has been no solution.” states the letter.

Inadequate power: In a complaint to the Superintending Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Mohali Circle, residents of 7 marla houses in Phase 3B1 here have stated that they have been without adequate electricity supply for over two months now due to overloading on their transformer. “Low voltage due to overloading on existing 300 kva and 200 kva transformer is just one of the many problems being faced by us. Almost everyday electricity wires are heating up and breaking loose from the poles causing potential danger to those who are on the roads at that time,” said Mr Ram Singh Matharu, senior vice president of the Welfare Association of these houses.

The complaint letter also states that the SE Operations had promised to install a new transformer for these houses to divide the load but no action to implement the promise had been taken. “Each day the electricity goes off for over eight to nine hours sometimes due to a cut and sometimes due to a fuse burning out at the transformer. We have had not a single night when the light has not gone for two to three hours. The earth wire is broken at some places and the list of houses near where it needs repair has also been given to the PSEB,” pointed out Mr Matharu.

Water and power shortage: Members of the Yuvak Vikas Manch, Mohali Circle (rural), have complained that the villages falling within the Mohali subdivision are facing over 18 hours of power cuts each day. According to the president of the Manch, Mr Karamjit Singh Chilla, the electricity board has failed to supply adequate power supply to the villagers. Inadequate electricity supply has also affected the water supply in these villages and the villagers are now forced to drink water from hand pumps or store them in large quantities. The problem, according to Mr Jarnail Singh, secretary of the manch is most severe in Sohana and villages being supplied by the Manoli feeder.

Risky bridge: The Chandigarh-SAS Nagar road between Industrial Area, Chandigarh, and Industrial Area, Phase IX, SAS Nagar, here is in a deplorable condition. Commuters using it everyday have informed that the condition of the road had never been good and has just worsened after the first monsoon showers. Other than the large potholes filled with rain water and slushiness, the road is now almost non useable due to a dangerous bridge near village jagatpura on the road. The bridge should be barricaded from usage as it can lead to a major accident, pointed out a commuter.

Although the bridge is too small to bear heavy vehicular traffic, trucks and buses routinely pass on it. For the commuters it is a bumpy ride starting from the end of Chandigarh, till one reaches Phase XI, SAS Nagar. This is one the shortest roads from the city to SAS Nagar and is widely used but has never been repaired or maintained, said a commuter.



Now Beant memorial awaits contractor
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The much delayed Beant Singh memorial project in Sector 42, here, now awaits a contractor, to finish the project. An agreement with the previous contractor was scrapped last week following a dispute over the release of payments.

A library, an auditorium and other peripheral services planned as phase I of the project have been ‘‘under construction’’ even as these were planned to be completed in 18 months when announced in December 1998.

Every year tributes are paid to highlight his supreme sacrifice and once the functions are over, things are back to slow motion and the faces one hurdle after the other.

The previous SAD-BJP government in Punjab had said that a financial crunch had stalled the project. The Punjab Government had paid Rs 2.2 crore and Rs 5.8 crore was held back.

The Chandigarh Administration and the Punjab Government had jointly formed the Beant Singh Memorial Society with its governing body headed by the Governor of Punjab.

In December 1998 phase I was announced and it included the construction of an open air auditorium, a conference hall and a library, besides 26 acres of land for gardens. Comprising three major parts — the Axial Walkway and Sculptural Stream Channel, the Gardens of the Five Senses, and the Smriti Van — the entire complex was supposed to be unique in the country.

When the SAD-BJP government did a volte face on funding the project, the Chandigarh Administration came out with a proposal to make the memorial a financially viable option. Alternative use of the building other than originally envisaged was planned.

A nine-acre piece of land adjoining the project was proposed to be used as an exhibition centre on lines of the Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. This was suggested by the executive body headed by the Adviser to the Administrator.

In the original plan there was a proposal to construct four-storeyed library. This was later redesigned to house a convention centre. It was opined that a huge library was not required after the advent of the Internet and computers. As of now the basement of the auditorium is ready while the library is partially ready in its original form.

Last year the Punjab Government paid Rs 2 crore and asked the Chandigarh Administration to complete the project in 10 months. Since then the contract with the previous contractor had been cancelled. Meanwhile, the architect has submitted a detailed plan of the re-designed library. 



Afforestation must

Water, which helps to sustain life on this planet, is becoming scarce day by day. Despite water being an important gift of God, its conservation has not gained importance.

Every individual should feel a sense of responsibility and make efforts to save water. New methods of irrigation can contribute towards water conservation in a big way.

Water harvesting can come to our rescue at a time when saving water is our primary concern.

With the green cover fast vanishing and being replaced by concrete, the rain gods are unhappy. Afforestation should be undertaken on a priority basis and each of us must begin by planting one tree.

Water pollution by industries which throw their waste into rivers is wreaking havoc on the limited water resources. This must stop immediately or else there would be no water left to quench the thirst of the teeming millions.

Mudit Bhasin, Class VI, St Xavier's School.



New courses for jail inmates
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 5
With a view to make jail inmates better citizens of society, the UT Deputy Commissioner-cum-IG (Prison), Mr Arun Kumar, today inaugurated two vocational courses, radio and television technician and electrician technician, in the Model Burail Jail, here today. The courses would be conducted by the UT Jan Shikshan Sansthan in collaboration with the UT Administration.

Giving details about the courses, the Superintendent of the jail, Mr D.S Rana, said the courses would be of six months duration and teachers would be provided by the UT Jan Shikshan Sansthan for one hour daily and paid by the jail authorities. He said the programme would benefit those undertrials who were convicted in the different cases for more than a year and would help them start their lives afresh with confidence and dignity.

Giving details about the courses already being run by the authorities, Mr Rana said two batches of male inmates had completed a course in refrigeration and air-conditioning and female inmates in applying mehandi.



BJP function
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 5
The local unit of the BJP will celebrate the 104th birth anniversary of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee at the BJP office in Sector 33, here tomorrow. Party workers, including state office-bearers, executive members, district presidents and general secretaries, morcha presidents and BJP councillors, are expected to participate in the function. 



Don’t leave money in parked vehicle!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Beware! You could be the next to lose your money if you think it is safe to leave it in your vehicle at a parking lot. Several incidents of money being stolen from vehicles at parking lots have been reported in the city in the past few days.

A day after a Panchkula resident reported a theft of Rs 85,000 from his car parked at Nanaksar Gurdwara, Sector 28, a case of theft of Rs 95,000 and documents from a car at the parking lot of Udyog Bhavan, Sector 17, was today registered at the Sector 17 police station. The Udyog Bhavan houses various government departments.

In both cases, thieves apparently followed the car driver from the bank from where the cash was withdrawn and stole the money when they got an opportunity. Though the Sector 17 incident was reported to the police on July 3, a case was registered only today.

The victim, Mr Suresh Kumar Aggarwal, a Patiala-based contractor, told TNS that around 12.30 pm on June 3, he withdrew Rs 1,05,000 from the Sector 9 branch of the Bank of Punjab. Of the withdrawn money, Rs 6,800 had to be paid to someone in Sector 26.

While entering the premises of Udyog Bhavan, he left Rs 95,000 in a bag in the car along with passport, a PAN card, cheque books, TDS forms and other items and took Rs 3,200 with him. When he returned, he found that the central locking system of the car had been tampered with and the bag was gone. The security guard posted at the parking lot expressed ignorance about the theft.

Mr Aggarwal sought that the police should also question the security guards. On July 3, Yogesh Pasrina, a resident of Sector 4 reported that Rs 85,000 were stolen from his car parked in front of Nanaksar Gurdwara,

A few days ago, Rs 2.75 lakh had been stolen from a car parked in the paid parking lot in front of the Sector 8 branch of the HDFC bank. The thieves had stolen the money from the boot of the car after breaking a side window. The police had said that the thieves had followed the car occupants from a Mani Majra bank from where the cash had been withdrawn.

On April 16, a case of theft of Rs 60,000 from the dickey of a scooter in the Mani Majra motor market was registered at the Mani Majra police station. The case was registered after Mr Mohinder Singh, a resident of Jawarpur village in Dera Bassi, reported that cash had been stolen from his scooter when he had gone inside a shop in the motor market. 



Cop’s son killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
A minor son of a constable of the Chandigarh police died after being hit by a truck near Colony No.5, late last night. The 15-year-old victim, Vinod Kumar, a ninth class student of a school in Burail, was going on a scooter when the speeding truck hit him near a mandir on Vikas Marg.

The victim, who was rushed to the GMCH, Sector 32, was declared brought dead. A police official investigating the case said the registration number of the truck had been noted down and raids were being conducted to nab the driver. The autopsy of the body was done at the General Hospital, Sector 16. The body would be handed to family members of the deceased tomorrow.

The father of the victim, Constable Suresh Kumar, is posted at the Sector 22 police post. A case under Sections 279 and 304 A of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 34 police station. It could not be ascertained whether the victim had a driving licence or not.

Thief arrested: Nishar Ahmed, a resident of Burail, was arrested for stealing eight bicycles from different parts of the city. According to the information, the thief was remanded today to police custody till July 7. Earlier, he had also been arrested by the SAS Nagar police for stealing Rs 24,000 from a house in SAS Nagar. On being questioned by the police, Nishar said that it was easy to sell stolen bicycles.

Thefts: Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Sector 15, reported that his trouser, containing a gold set, three gold chains and Rs 3,550, was stolen from his residence during the night intervening July 3 and July 4.

In another case, Rohit Bhatija, a resident of Sector 21, reported that his bag containing some documents and cash was stolen from his car.

Suicide case:
Driven by financial crisis, a 25-year-old resident of Sector 9, Baljit Singh, committed suicide by hanging himself from a hook in the ceiling late last night. A lottery agent, he had reportedly lost a lot of money lately.

According to the police, he had come home around 9 pm and again left with a few friends. His wife Manmohan Kaur was sleeping when Baljit Singh came back home. There was a power shutdown and it was only after the power was restored around midnight, that Manmohan Kaur went in to switch off the light in another room and found him hanging from the ceiling.

Two booked: The local police booked a migrant labourer, Aladdin, and his son, Yakub, on charges of kidnapping a 14- year-old girl from Sector 9, here on Saturday. A case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC has been registered against them on the complaint of the girl’s father. He alleged that Aladin had forcibly taken away his daughter in order to marry her to his son. 



Gang active again

The gang involved in stealing money from the boot or dickey of vehicles seems to have become active again in the city.

Despite the arrest of some members of the gang in April, such incidents are still being reported from the city. The and, based in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, specialises in stealing money from vehicles. Members of the gang live in Azad Nagar and hail from the Bathu community.



Chargesheet filed against Inspector
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 5
The CBI today filed a chargesheet against the Inspector with the Excise and Taxation Department, S.U. Khan, who was arrested while allegedly accepting bribe from a shopkeeper in Mani Majra. Khan was booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act on April 28.

A CBI team led by the ASP, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, laid the trap at the residence of the complainant and arrested him.



No permanent address, no connection, says Reliance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
In its zeal to expand its customer base, Reliance Infocomm Limited (RIL) has given handsets to a number of jhuggi and slum dwellers who have no permanent address in the city after the demolition of their houses by the authorities. According to government instructions, the connections cannot be activated without verifying the bona fides of the applicants.

Mr Vishal Mishra, spokesperson for Reliance Infocomm, said, “Due to heavy rush of customers, some handsets have passed into the hands of customers who have no permanent address. We are now verifying their residential address. In case we find that they are not residing at the address mentioned in the application form, their connections will not be activated and action would be initiated to recover handsets.” He admitted that there was always a risk in the business that some of the applicants may just run away after taking a handset for just Rs 501. However, under the agreement there was a provision to recover the handset, he said.

Insiders said the company had stalled the supply of handsets to the customers from today. A dealer said the reason for this was that the stocks had been cleared and the company had asked the dealers to verify the credentials of the applicants before handing over the handsets. The company is offering a handset of Samsung or LG worth Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 in the market under the scheme. The customers have to make a down payment of just Rs 501 and they would have to pay Rs 449 per month minimum with Rs 100 free air time.

A visit to the company outlet in Sector 35 revealed that a number of customers were returning without handsets. The salespersons claimed that till yesterday there was heavy rush of customers. “We have been asked today by the company officials to be more strict with the applicants. The connections would be given only to those who have a permanent home address and have the capacity to pay the bills,” they said.

Mr Sunder Lal, one of the autorickshaw owners from Palsora colony who had come to get a connection, was denied the connection as he could not furnish the proof of his residence. He said his house had been recently demolished by the enforcement wing of the Chandigarh Administration. Some villagers were also denied connections as they could not produce the relevant documents. 


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