C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sector 17 to get facelift by Divali
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Sector 17 will have

  • Multi-level parking
  • Ultra-modern toilets
  • Granite benches around trees
  • New look to Central Piazza
  • Uniform signs and advertisement panels
  • Encroachment-free pavements.

Chandigarh, September 21
In an effort to boost tourism, improve the city’s image and make it a preferred shopping destination, the Municipal Corporation and the city administration will give the Sector 17 Shopping Plaza a major facelift. Besides improving infrastructure, the shopping arcade will be beautified. A decision has been taken to complete most initiatives by Divali.

Municipal Commissioner P.S Aujla told The Tribune that the entire project would cost around Rs 2 crore that would be shared between the administration and the corporation. The Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) has given a deadline for the current financial year for the projects like the multi-level parking and this Divali for other smaller projects.

The multi-level parking will come up behind the first block between the circus ground and liquor vend behind Dr Sahib Singh’s showroom. It will be built on a build-own and transfer (BOT) formula for which a master plan is being prepared. Indian Infrastructure and Leasing Society (IILS) has been asked to make the project report and help the UT market the project. The entire construction work is expected to be completed in four months.

As a beautification measure, the Central Piazza will undergo a colour change. The place will have a fresher and more colourful look for which a model has been prepared. The place will also have a water feature with brighter and more powerful coloured lights. Ultra-modern lighting fixtures will be imported and put up here in the next few weeks.

Mr Aujla said the move to beautify the area started after S.F. Rodrigues visited Sector 17 in June last. It was decided that the city’s commercial hub should be improved and suitable plans were invited. At a subsequent meeting last month, the UT Home Secretary and other officers specified proposals that have been cleared. Maximum emphasis is being laid on the Central Piazza, he said.

The water feature and the improved carnival stage will further help in attracting people

Other improvements include putting up of interlocking pavers, along with ornamental railings, in front of Empire Store for which funds are already available from the MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund. Work on interlocking pavers in front of Bata Store and Dr Sahib Singh is also in progress and will be completed before Divali. Damaged concrete pavement in front of Sindhi Sweets and Batra and the red stone flooring in the connecting passage near Neelam Theatre will also be replaced with new one’s in a fixed timeframe.

The four sets of toilets too in Sector 17 will get a ultra-modern look after they are renovated under the BOT scheme. Besides, granite benches will be provided in clusters around trees.

The existing railing around Bird Fountain will be replaced with new ornamental railing so as to ensure that polythene bags do not enter into its enclosure. Some new landscaping is also planned.

Besides improving the infrastructure, the Department of Tourism has been asked to increase the frequency of the carnivals, currently being performed on Saturdays. Another important feature in Sector 17 will be putting up of murals on the end walls near Neelam Cinema and Azad Hind Store. These will have beaming lights to enhance their beauty at night.



Punjab to include forest land in Nayagaon NAC
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 21
Even as the Punjab Government is going to declare Nayagaon and nearby areas as Notified Area Committee (NAC), the last thing on their mind seems to be the fact that a major part of the area, which the government intends to bring under municipal control, is “locked” under the provisions of the Preservation of Forest Act 1900, the Indian Forest Conservation Act 1980.

Highly placed sources in the Department of Local Government admitted that they were “confused” about what to do with this particular problem and had now written to the Legal Department of the Punjab Government to ask for their opinion on the matter. They added that though a large part of the area did fall within the precincts of the various forest Acts, the ground reality was very different. “What forest? The whole place is nothing but a concrete jungle now,” said a senior officer in the local government department.

With a little consideration towards the sanctity of forest land, its no surprise that the department had already moved a step further towards the formation of the Nayagaon NAC that would include Kansal, Karoran and Nadah villages. “We would be shortly issuing the first notification in this regard calling for objections to the proposed notification. The state Forest Department can object to the notification if they feel that the Central Acts in this regard are being violated,” said Mr B.R. Bajaj Principal Secretary, Local Bodies, Punjab. Interestingly, the state forest department had raised such an objection in 2001, when the then Akali government had notified Nayagaon as a NAC.

Sources warned that even if the state Forest Department “allowed” the Local Bodies Department to go ahead with such violations, the Central Government was at least not expected to take kindly to the entire move. “This decision of the Punjab Government is going to invite a lot of flak from the Ministry of Environments and Forests, specially when viewed in light of the fact that a large part of forest cover in the state has depleted in the past few years right under the nose of the Forest Department. Urbanisation at the cost of forest land in Punjab is a well-known fact and the Centre is not oblivious to this development,” pointed out a Chandigarh-based environmentalist who requested not to be named.

The government proposed to include land of Karoran (Choti and Baddi Karoran), Nadha village and Kansal villages in the civic body. At least 3,700 acre of land of Karoran village (Choti and Baddi Karoran) is protected under Sections 4 and 5 of the Land Preservation Act. While including land in the NAC does not violate the provisions of the forest Acts, any change of land use undertaken following inclusion in NAC would amount to violation.



Drive cautiously near slums
Most children dying in mishaps are slum-dwellers: report
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Drive with utmost caution if you are in the vicinity of a slum. For most of the accidents involving children take place around such colonies. Among the slums declared sensitive by the Chandigarh police are: Colony No 4 and 5, Nehru Colony, Bapu Dham Colony, Kishangarh, Kajheri, Dhanas, Manimajra and Sector 25 Colony.

Chandigarh, September 21
Shocking, but true. In Chandigarh, 20 per cent pedestrians killed in road accidents are children less than 15. In the past two years, 70 walked their way to death. Out of the total, 14 were young.

Quoting the results of an extensive study conducted by the “Research Branch” of the Chandigarh police, sources in the police headquarters say incidentally 70 per cent victims are boys. Almost all victims belong to the category of “very poor” or are from the “lower income group”.

The sources say a majority of the mishaps took place in the vicinity of the slums located throughout the city, including Colony No 4, Colony No 5, Nehru Colony and Bapu Dham Colony.

Taking a serious view of the matter, the sources assert that the police is now considering the possibility of installing “pedestrian barriers” on the road berms adjacent to the slum areas.

The intention is to lessen the number of accidents by reducing “pedestrian crossover points”. For the purpose, senior police officers are already in touch with the authorities in the UT Administration.

Besides this, the police has decided to launch road safety education campaign with enhanced focus on the slum children. Special emphasis is expected to be laid on the techniques of road crossing. As a part of the campaign, police personnel will hold camps in the slum areas.

The sources add that eight-year-old Kamini’s death, while crossing a road on Monday, is not an isolated incident. During the period under study, six minors died under similar circumstances. In one case, a school student was crushed to death while crossing the road outside his institute.

Analysing the accidents, a senior officer say that most of slums are located on the main roads, exposing to danger the little ones living there.

To make the matters worse, there are hardly any elders to supervised them effectively. In fact, the children are allowed greater freedom to move outdoors on the roads by the parents.



Want to be fit, observe fast
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
To shed those extra calories, the city residents can now avoid strict diet and exercise regimen and can look forward to a much simpler fitness mantra. Òbserve a fast.

In a most recent study conducted among 161 women in Chandigarh aged 18 years and above by the Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Sector 32, a strong association between fasting and health benefits such as reduction in weight, blood pressure and depression related symptoms was found.

According to the study , among the 89 fasting women, 39.3 per cent used to fast for a day in a year, 19.1 per cent for more than 40 days and the remaining in between.

Majority (51.7 per cent) of these women began observing fasts starting from 18 years of age. Further 58.4 and 62.9 per cent of women continued fasting even during pregnancy and sickness. There were more vegetarians (79.8 per cent) in the fasting group than in the non-fasting group (55.6 per cent)

The study said that while comparing the fasting pattern between married and un married women, 54.8 per cent (40) of the married women observe Karvachauth and similarly 26 per cent of the married women observe the `Monday fast’ which, was also the commonest among the unmarried women.

Talking about the study, Dr HM Swami said the main source of information and inspiration for both married and unmarried women were mothers followed by friends, grandparents and relatives.

He added that fasting, religious attendance and health had strong inter-connections.

The study revealed interesting facts which indicate that anaemia was less prevalent in fasting group because of more consumption of fruits and sweets including jaggery.

Similarly, fasting group included less number of overweight women. Also half of the women in the fasting group were found to be free from depression- related symptoms in comparison to the one-third of the non-fasting group because of observing fasts, visiting more religious places or praying.

Furthermore, the study maintained that the custom of observing fast helps people to cope up with stress in a better way and reduces direct and indirect self-destructive behaviour and depression.

Meanwhile, the study indicated that restricting the diet on socio-religious grounds especially by the vulnerable groups such as adolescents, pregnant and lactating women was not desirable as it might lead to health problems.



UK citizen moves High Court for car release
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 21
A UK citizen, Mr Nasafor Ali Sheikh, whose state-of-art sports car had been seized by the Amritsar Customs authorities, has knocked on the doors of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for getting his car released.

The Tribune had highlighted the travails of Mr Sheikh and his wife, Ms Hasena Sheikh, on May 2.

The Toyota Celica car, which is reported to cost over Rs 1.5 crore, has been in the custody of the Customs Department after it was impounded at the Wagah check-post in Amritsar. Mr Sheikh did not have the Carnet-de-passage, an official document issued by the UK Government, allowing him to take car to other countries.

Travelling in the then-new-car, they were on their way to Bangladesh, the country of their origin, after crossing over 60 countries.

At Wagah, when they crossed over into India from Pakistan on July 19, 2003, their entry was not duly registered by the Customs officers. The BSF officials, though, had full record of their entry.

They were booked for alleged unauthorised entry into India. After six days in jail, both were bailed out.

Following a lengthy legal battle that followed, the Additional Sessions Judge, Amritsar, let them off. In his order, the Judge held that circumstances showed that “no intentional lapse had been committed by them”. While noting that it was a case of bit negligence on their part, which, technically speaking, amounted to violation of the Foreigners Act, the court also held that they were not indulging in any unlawful activity.

The Judge also modified the sentence of one-year rigorous imprisonment awarded by the lower court into the sentence of imprisonment already undergone by them, remarking that the lower court had been a bit harsh on them.

However, the Customs officials still refused to let Mr Sheikh take the car, asking him to produce the Carnet, which he did not have.

In his order dated May 12, the Commissioner of Customs, Amritsar, ordered Mr Sheikh to pay a penalty of Rs 70,000 for illegally bringing his car into India.

Mr Sheikh, in his petition, has sought directions to the respondents to release his car. He has also sought setting aside of the penalty imposed on him.

He has alleged that the order of the Commissioner was a colourable exercise of power and smacked of legal malice. He has also claimed that the officers of the Customs Department were leaving no stone unturned in order to divest him of his state-of-art car at the behest of certain influential individuals, who want to possess the car by buying it as Customs-confiscated goods.

Today, during hearing of his petition, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta remarked that the petitioner had certainly violated the law of the land, but, asked counsel for the Union of India where was the cause for levying personal penalty on him.

The Bench also asked Mr Sheikh’s counsel to seek instructions if he was ready to take the car back directly from India to the UK on an aircraft.



No visa restrictions despite terror attacks: UK envoy
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
“Terrorism flourishes only with the availability of funds. The UK Government is trying its best to check the flow of money which goes to terrorist groups based across the world,” stated Sir Michael Arthur, British High Commissioner to India, in an exclusive interview with The Tribune today.

He was in the city today to launch a tri-city Education UK Initiative for Punjab.

“I am aware that Punjab has also gone through a tough phase of violence and terrorism, and money for this was also collected from across the world,” he further added. Commenting on the Indo-Pak relationship he sated the UK was “very closely following it” and would like to see the issues being resolved soon. “We are very supportive of the initiative taken by both India and Pakistan to strengthen the ties between the two countries and to also resolve the issues concerning them.

Stressing on the need to fight terrorism he stated that despite the recent spate of terrorists attacks in the UK there would be no visa restrictions, instead the UK was trying to simplify the visa process. “We are fully aware of the problems created and we are doing everything to tackle it. We will process the visas as per their validity and would try to ensure that a bona fide traveller is not harassed.”

He further stressed that they were concerned about the illegal and wrongful practices followed for immigration by certain youth of the state to enter the UK. He, however, stressed that they had signed a memorandum of understanding with India to tackle the issues concerned last year and were also fully co-operating with the Punjab Police on the issue.

“It is a small problem, people do come to the UK through the back door, but we are doing our best to deal with it.”

Sir Arthur was, however, hopeful to have trade interactions with Punjab in the agriculture sector. “We are planning to bring a high-level delegation of agricultural experts next march to Punjab and to discuss various ventures and also to render our support for post-harvest consulting to the state.”

Talking about the Education UK Initiative in the state he acknowledged that the UK was late in taking an initiative in the field of education and was an expensive country to study in. He said they were hopeful that the recent relaxed visa rules and change in the rules of education for students would encourage the students come to the UK.



British High Commissioner calls on Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The British High Commissioner, Sir Michael A. Arthur, KCMG, accompanied by Mr Alex Spachis, Deputy Head of European Union, today called on the Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Gen. (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, and discussed different subjects of mutual interest.

The Governor, during his interaction with the visiting High Commissioner, emphasised the need for major initiatives to give a boost to partnership endeavours in economic and trade, particularly in food processing and education.

The Governor emphasised that Punjab had achieved a major breakthrough in the agriculture sector and other allied fields. The state was emerging as a progressive and vibrant investment destination with a good supportive infrastructure. He said that crop diversification had been given a top priority by involving agriculture scientists and experts in the field. A State Farmers’ Commission had also been set up under the chairmanship of a scientist, to coordinate the farm ventures and other related activities. He sought the cooperation of the European Union, especially in the areas of food processing, agro-processing, post-harvest technology and dairying. He said that, “We are also upgrading the Chandigarh Airport to international level and developing Chandigarh as an export hub for fruits and vegetables, which will serve the whole region, including Jammu & Kashmir, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab.”



Education UK Initiative launched in city
Tribune News Service

Education UK: Some facts

* Students can take part time work during study-up to 20 hours per week and full time in vacations.

* Healthcare for students is free or subsidised under the National Health Scheme (NHS)

* Students can avail Discounts for transport, entertainment, etc all over the UK.

* Scholarships are available to students both at the undergraduate and post graduate level.

* Living cost is between £ 7000 to £8000 and varies according to location.

Chandigarh, September 21
Sir Michael Arthur, the British High Commissioner to India, today announced the launch of a tri-city Education UK Initiative for Punjab. This initiative compromises informative road-shows, a study UK exhibition and a series of seminars.

Addressing a press conference at the British Library, here Sir Arthur said 16,000 Indians went to study in the UK every year and the number was expected to increase to more than 26,000 by 2010. He said one of the reasons for the increasing popularity of the British courses in Punjab was the short duration of the courses and also the flexibility of the courses being offered.

“The UK is known for its high standard of education and UK qualifications are internationally recognized and respected all over the world.”

Stating that education in the UK was an expensive prospect he informed that the education structure was now changed to suit the students.

Students can now work up to 20 hours per week and full time in their vacations. This, informed Sir Arthur would help them fund there own study. He further informed that students could choose from a wide range of subjects, however, popular with the Indian students were-Management and Business Studies, Engineering, IT and communications, Art and Design, life sciences and medicine among others.

The events associated with Education UK will be held in three cities: Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar.



India restoring power transmission in Kabul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCI) is implementing a Rs 416 crore project to set up power transmission lines in Afghanistan. This involves laying a double-circuit transmission line from Pul-e-Khurmi to Kabul and constructing a new 220 kv sub-station at Kabul.

This is part of the Union Government’s plan to help rebuild and restore the war-ravaged country’s power transmission system.

Stating this here today, PGCI’s Executive Director (Northern Region Transmission System-II), Mr N.S. Saxena, said the project was being implemented on a turnkey basis and was expected to be completed within 42 months. Work was being carried out in a hostile terrain, with altitudes ranging from 1,800 metres to 4,000 metres above sea level and at temperatures as low as minus 30°.

On the home front, government-owned PGCI is set to enter into an agreement with Reliance Energy Limited (REL) for transmission of power generated at the Kol Dam and Parbati hydel projects in Himachal Pradesh.

“The estimated cost of this project is about Rs 800 crore and the joint venture part is estimated to be Rs 640 crore,” Mr Saxena said. “We hope to sign the agreement in a month or two,” he added.

Stressing upon the need for a strong national power transmission grid, Mr Saxena said a perspective transmission plan had been evolved for strengthening the regional grids and to support additional generation of about 1 lakh MW during the 10th and 11th Five-year Plans. He added that by 2012, inter-regional power transfer capacity of the grid would be increased to 30,000 MW from the present 8,000 MW.

Besides, eight new sub stations are coming up in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. While two stations are scheduled to become functional at Patiala and Kaithal shortly, others are coming up in Bahadurgarh, Amritsar, Chamba, Fatehabad and Ludhiana, Ms Saxena added.



Passing Thru

Dr M. Bhattacharya
Dr M. Bhattacharya, Nodal Officer, National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi

What brings you to the city?

I am here for the inauguration of a 10-week professional development course in management, and health sector reforms for district-level senior medical officers that is being held at the State Institute of Health and Family Welfare in Mohali.

What is the need for this course?

It is generally seen that there is an imbalance between the targeted and actual performance in the health sector. According to a sector investment programme survey, the main reason for this has been found to be lack of professional competence of district-level medical officers. The Government of India in the eighth Conference of the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare decided to initiate capacity building programme for all district-level senior medical officers throughout the nation to improve the situation.

Do you think such programmes make a difference?

Yes, we have seen marked increase in performance following such programmes. These programmes aim at making doctors better health managers and at the same time give them an opportunity to air the problems they are facing.

— Chitleen K Sethi



Cong fissures cast shadow on MC poll schedule
No meeting of delimitation board held
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 21
With the term of the Municipal Council here due to expire on November 27 the town faces the prospects of a delay in fresh elections. The reason is that factions in the Congress are engaged in a tussle over the membership of the board set up the government for the delimitation of wards.

Intense factionalism has led to groups jockeying to get their supporters included in the 12-member board.

Councillors have been witness to the unseemly struggle putting off the board meetings.

The board, which will engage in the important exercise of delimitation of municipal wards here in view of the increase in the population and other factors, has not held even a single meeting since the issue of the notification on its constitution on February 3.

Over the past about six months, four meetings of the board were fixed, but the same had to be postponed with the dissatisfied Congress factions reportedly exerting pressure at the political and official levels to ensure that no meeting took place unless their respective supporters were first accommodated on the board.

According to reports, three meetings of the board were put off following pressure from the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who was said to be unhappy with the composition of the board.

The MLA, however, managed to get two of his supporters — Mr Harinder Pal Singh Billa and Mr Surjit Singh Garewal — included in the board after getting it reconstituted.

Councillors then hoped that the issue had been resolved as a meeting of the panel was fixed to be held on September 19.

However, not to be outmanoeuvred, Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, a Congress leader who fought the last state Assembly elections as a rebel against the official party candidate, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, is reported to have used his influence with the PPCC chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, to get the board meeting postponed yet again till his own supporters also found a berth on the panel.

The first meeting of the delimitation board was scheduled to be held on March 4 in the office of the SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, who was appointed Chairman of the panel, but was cancelled at the last minute.

Then it was decided to hold a meeting on August 8 in the office of the Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, but was again cancelled.

The third meeting was cancelled even before the letters for the same were circulated. After the reconstitution of the delimitation board, authorities concerned gave directions that the meeting would be held in the office of the SDM on September 19. But this again was postponed till further orders.

Mr N.K. Marwaha, a member of the delimitation board and a special invitee member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said if there was any delay in the constitution of the new Municipal Council, residents would suffer.

An administrator of the council would have to be appointed by the government who would, in view of this arrangement being temporary, have neither the time nor interest in redressing residents’ grievances. 



Oppn councillors demand probe
into corruption charges
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 21
Five municipal councillors, belonging to the Opposition, today demanded that an inquiry in connection with a complaint made by a sanitation supervisor of alleged corruption in the civic body should be conducted by the Executive Officer (EO) or an official from the Directorate and not by the Municipal Engineer.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Patvari, vice-president of the council, said at a press conference here that the Municipal Engineer, Mr Tarsem Singh Rai, who had been asked to probe the complaint, was sitting on dharna in support of employees and as such the councillors did not expect a fair inquiry from him.

The vice-president further said that Mr Gurdev Singh, a sanitation supervisor working with a private sanitation contractor, had made a complaint to the EO that a sanitary inspector of the council and other employees were allegedly taking bribe from the sanitation contractor due to which sanitation work suffered.

The EO had asked the Municipal Engineer to conduct an inquiry in connection with the complaint.

He said that employees, most of whom were allegedly indulged in corruption, had deliberately tried to side-track the issue of corruption fearing that they might get exposed and hence staged a protest against the behaviour of Mr Sethi.

Mr Amrik Singh said that sanitation contractors had never employed the number of safai karamchari according to the terms of the agreement. Whenever a checking was done, less than half the number of required employees were found to be working due to which sanitation work suffered. All this was being done allegedly in connivance with council employees.

Mr Sethi said that if the sanitary inspector could swear in a gurdwara that he had not accepted bribe from the sanitation contractor. Mr Sethi, was ready to apologise in the presence of a large gathering.



Monograph on Corbusier’s tapestries released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The monograph on “Le Corbusier’s Tapestries of Chandigarh (High Court and Legislative Assembly)” brought out by Chandigarh Perspectives (a registered society working on subjects related to the architecture and planning of Chandigarh) in conjunction with the Chandigarh College of Architecture, was released by the Secretary, Finance & Urban Planning, Mr S K Sandhu and the Chief Architect, Mrs Renu Saigal, at the college.

It is the first in a series aimed at generating awareness of lesser-known elements of the city’s modern heritage. The others include “Trees of Chandigarh,” “Leisure Valley” and “Monuments of the Capitol.”

Speaking at the function, Rajnish Wattas, Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, said the city is “architecturally a living laboratory and textbook.”

In addition to the monograph, a set of eight greeting cards, drawn from the tapestries and designed by Mr Aditya Prakash, former Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, and Mr Bheem Malhotra, a professor at the college, were also released.

In the presentation on the 12 tapestries in the city, Mrs Kiran Joshi, a professor at the college and coordinator of the Chandigarh Administration sponsored, “Chandigarh Heritage Project”, described them in great detail.

“These tapestries are integral to the design of the building and conservation is done not only for a building but for its interiors as well,” she said.

Mr. Sandhu said, “There is need to sensitise public to the value of this heritage.” He said the Administration was of the view that a more effective role could be played by the students of the college of Architecture. “I am happier to give more live projects to students in accordance with their schedule because creativity is not synonymous with age. These students may have brilliant ideas and we wish to tap those.”

Le Corbusier’s exploration of this traditional medium began in 1936 when he was asked by the Aubusson tapestry workshop to paint some sketches for revival of the craft. He went on to produce full-size cartoons for the tapestries.

Corbusier named his tapestries nomadic murals because these can be removed and rolled up to be hung somewhere else.” 



Bhakra, Pong Dams filled to capacity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
After a gap of seven years the two major dams of North India — the Bhakra and the Pong — have filled to capacity. This bodes well for farmers and the power sector besides increasing drinking water availability.

The Chairman of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), Mr Rakesh Nath, told reporters here today that the Bhakra Dam had filled to its maximum capacity (1,680 elevation feet) while the Pong Dam had filled to a level of 1387.34 elevation feet, which was just 2.60 ft lower than the full level. This would also fill to the maximum level within the next two days, he added.

Explaining the reasons, he said this was due to good snow melt and the monsoon. The level was significantly higher than that recorded last year, which was one of the worst years since the rivers were harnessed and the dams built. Last year at the same time the water levels at the Bhakra and the Pong Dams were about 82 ft and 43 ft lower than the maximum.

The chairman said since the cost of power generated was just 13 paise per unit, the three partner states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan would save Rs 416 crore as these would need to buy less power from other states where it was available at nearly Rs 2.50 per unit. This year’s generation was not only higher by 35.81 per cent than that of last year, but also 20.27 per cent higher than the current year’s target, he added. The BBMB’s hydropower stations generated 6,611 million units (MUs) till yesterday as compared to the previous year’s figure of 4,868 MUs for the corresponding period.



Police shielding HCS officer, alleges rights’ body
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 21
The functioning of the Chandigarh police has come under a cloud with a human rights organisation today claming that the police was trying to favour a HCS officer in the alleged molestation case.

In their compliant to the Union Home Minister, the representatives of the Lawyers for Human Rights International claimed that the police had booked Sushil Sarwan, the Joint Director of Department of Hospitality and Tourism, Haryana, under Section 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman), despite the fact that Paramjit Kaur had levelled more serious allegation against him.

They demanded that the accused be booked for criminal intimidation (Section 506) and trespassing (Section 452). They alleged that Paramjit Kaur had been running from pillar to post for justice as the police was yet to arrest the accused.

The victim was suffering from trauma as the accused being an influential person could hurt her, they said.

On the other hand, they alleged that the senior police officers of the Chandigarh police were forcing the victim to withdraw the case.

The brother of Paramjit Kaur, today alleged that the police was shielding the accused. While refuting the allegation, the SHO of the Sector 34 police station said the case had been registered on the basis of the first complaint made by Paramjit Kaur.



DC inspects Estate Office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Following the surprise visit of Gen (retd) S.F.Rodrigues, the Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, to the Estate Office in Sector 17 on September 16, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K.Rao, today took a round of the public dealing counters at the estate office.

Reliable sources said the visit was in anticipation of another surprise visit by the Administrator to the estate office.

The DC took a round of the office of the Estate Office and inspected the building branch and inspected the record room.

The DC had come straight from the officers coordination committee meeting.



Maratha unit celebrates battle honour day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Several events are being organised by the Second Battalion of the Maratha Light Infantry to commemorate its Battle Honour Hussainiwala Bridge, awarded to it in recognition of its actions during the 1965 Indo-Pak war. This is the first battle honour to be awarded post Independence and the 22nd to be won by the battalion since its inception in 1768.

A special Sainik Sammelan, which was attended by officers, and men as well as veterans of the unit was organised today. Earlier, tributes were paid to the Maratha warrior king, Chatarpatti Shivaji, by the unit’s Commanding Officer, Col C.P. Sangra and other officers. A Barakhana, Maratha pageantry including Lezim, malkhamb, pathaka dance, torchlight display and a Maratha band display are also being organised.

It was on this day in 1965 that the battalion, also known as the Kali Panchwin, had repulsed an attack on Hussainiwala Headworks in the Ferozepore Sector by a Pakistani brigade supported by armour. The battalion was defending the sector in complete isolation and the nearest friendly troops were 12 miles away.

The then Commanding Officer, Lieut-Col Terry decided to cross the bridge to keep the enemy from getting anywhere near the bridge. The battalion then went on to capture Kikar Tower and the Kunjianwala post, which dominated the whole sector. The daring attack resulted in the enemy fleeing from these positions, leaving behind vehicles and vast quantities of arms and ammunition.

In its illustrious history spanning 237 years, the battalion has carved a niche for itself. Commencing with the bloody battle at Seedaseer Hill in 1798, it has fought in China, Abyssinia, Palestine, Persian Gulf, Burma, and Afghanistan in the 18th century. The battalion saw action in Palestine during the World War I, at Keren and Tobruk during World War II. and took part in post independent operations in Nagaland, Hussainiwala, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Sri Lanka and Sunderbani.



Dalit morcha extends support to Gohana victims
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, September 21
The Gohana Agnikand Dalit Sanghrash Morcha comprising several Dalit associations of Panchkula, Chandigarh and Mohali, after a general meeting, submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner here today.

The memorandum demanded check on harassment to Dalit workers being falsely implicated in cases of arson and damages to public property during their peaceful protest expressing solidarity with the Gohana victims. Both Santreah Kumar Rahi and Rajesh Bohat condemned the hooligans from other parties who had indulged in damaging the public property while the Dalit workers were holding a peaceful protest under the leadership of Dalbir Singh, a Dalit Municipal councilor.

They further lamented a move by the government to initiate CBI enquiry targeted against the Dalits to involve them. The Dalit associations threatened to intensify morcha if the government failed to take any action.

The Dalit Mahila Samaj too endorsed support to the sangharsh samiti, as per a press note.



PSIEC staff hold protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Employees of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation ( PSIEC) from Punjab and Haryana staged a state-level dharna in front of the Udyog Bhavan, Sector 17, today, on a call given by the PSIEC Staff Association. The agitating employees from the head office as well as the field offices were protesting against the management’s proposal of retrenchment of 595 employees, working in the Corporation from the last 15 to 25 years.

They alleged that the management of PSIEC, instead of regularising their services on the basis of the government instructions issued from time to time and the Punjab and Haryana High Court decision, had chosen to throw them out on the basis of the decision taken in May 2005.

The MD of PSIEC, they said, was also bent upon implementing this decision as he had assured the government that the corporation had enough sources to pay the retrenchment compensation. Further, the management of PSIEC had withheld the due benefits of the employees on the plea of deficient resources but on the other hand there was enough amount in the coffers of the corporation to pay the retrenchment compensation.

The main demands included restoration of HRA and conveyance and staff welfare funds, filling of vacant posts by promotions, regularisation of workers and increase in the business of the corporation.

Leaders of the PSIEC Staff Association, who addressed the rally, accused the state government and the management for their step-motherly treatment to them. They alleged that despite the Punjab and Haryana HC verdict and the instructions of the Punjab Council of Ministers, the allowances had not been released though the corporation was in profit whereas in other corporations under the Industries Department namely PSIDC, PFC, ELTOP and under the control of the same administrative secretaries, the allowances had been restored with arrears, even when they were in losses. While these financial benefits had been withheld due to staff crunch, the MD and Chairman were spending lavishly on foreign tours, mobile bills, entertainment etc.

These employees were also sore over their wages being linked with the profit and loss of their units. While the decision-making was with the top management, the workers were made scapegoats.

Later, the leaders declared that the employees would participate in the nationwide strike bing held on September 29 and would also participate in the joint rallies being held throughout the state. They had also sought the removal of the Chairman and the Managing Director, who were working against the policies of the government and bringing the organisation a bad name. 



Village representatives to stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Representatives of different villages in the UT have announced to stage a dharna at Hallomajra village, along the Zirakpur-Chandigarh highway in protest against the move by the Chandigarh Administration to acquire around 33 acres on which a residential colony (Deep Complex) has come up on the outskirts of the village.

The decision was taken after an emergency meeting of panches , sarpanches and members of the Panchayat Samiti and the Zila Parishad. The Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti, Mr Didar Singh, said it was wrong on part of the administration to destabilise the needy people. He said the future course of action would be decided after tomorrow’s dharna.

Earlier in the day, the residents of the Deep Complex led by various local Congress leaders called upon the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, to air their grievances. The MP assured the residents of taking the issue at every possible forum.

Talking to The Tribune Mr Bansal said the administration should not have done this after sitting on the issue for over seven years. The administration had been given representations from time to time on the issue.

“There is no continuity in administration. Officers come for short periods and do not go for a long-lasting solution. Policies were never framed. There has to be holistic plan for development of the city”.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, a former chairman of the Market Committee, said efforts were being made to allow a delegation of the villagers to meet the Prime Minister during his forthcoming visit to the city.



District courts get 20 computers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 21
The district courts in Panchkula are all set to get computer savvy. Almost 20 odd computers have been sent to the district courts by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The computerisation of the district courts will completely revolutionise the court functioning. Each court official will be able to check the work list of all cases listed for hearing, argument or judgement. Once operational, details can be checked by browsing the network instead of going through typed lists.

All six judges in the district and sessions court here, ahalmad and stenographer are being provided with a computer and printer. Computer systems are also being given to the accounts and establishment branch of the district courts.

The computerisation is being done under a pilot project for computerization of district courts was taken up in 2002. As part of the project, three district courts in Ambala, Patiala and Panchkula, under the Punjab and Haryana High Court were to be computerised. The Ambala courts have already been computerised.



Bhog of Lt-Col Amardeep held
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 21
The bhog and antim ardas for Lt-Col Amardeep Singh, who died in the bridge collapse at Kharo in Kinnaur district on September 8, was organised at Gurdwara Sri Kalgidhar Singh Sabha in Phase IV here today.

Among those who attended the bhog ceremony were Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Punjab, Mrs Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, an OSD, to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, Mr M.L. Sharma, SDM.

The Army was represented by Maj-Gen Arun Bedi, the Chief Engineer, Western Command, Mrs Raman, wife of the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, a number of Commanding Officers and officers from the Engineers Brigade.

A cheque for Rs 2.5 lakh, which was sent by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was handed over to the wife of Lt-Col Amardeep Singh, by Mr Kang, Mrs Garcha and Mr Bir Devinder Singh.

Mrs Garcha said the Chief Minister had also sent a condolence message to the bereaved family.



Milk producers’ stress on better quality
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 21
The general body meeting of the Ropar District Cooperative Milk Producers Union, Mohali, was held under the chairmanship of Mr Parminder Singh here today. The various farmers associated with the local milk plant attended it.

Addressing the members, Mr Parminder Singh said farmers should take up dairy farming professionally and constantly improve the quality of their products so that the cooperative could further improve upon the quality and provide the consumer with the best possible product.

Former PWD Minister, Punjab, Randheer Singh Cheema also participated in the meeting and exhorted the farmers to take up dairy farming as a profession.

Mr Balwinder Singh, General Manager of the milk plant, read out the annual report of the plant and listed the achievements.



Mumbai viewer wins trip to London
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Kohinoor, the popular suspense thriller which airs on SaharaOne Television from Monday to Thursday at 10:00 pm, had organised a “Kohinoor Dekho Kohinoor Parko” contest which offered viewers an interactive viewing experience and enabling them to win grand prizes. This contest was aired between September 5 to 8 during the telecast of the programme.

Samir Bubere from Mumbai won the bumper prize, thus getting the opportunity to fly to London to check out the coveted stone. Two hundred other participants won exquisite diamond jewellery.

“I have always been very keen and inquisitive about Kohinoor diamond and its whereabouts since I was a kid. There was always something mystic about it which induced me to know more and this contest helped me to make my dream come true. I am thankful to SaharaOne Television for giving me this amazing opportunity. 



Sai Trust to add 15 rooms to old-age home
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The Sri Sathya Sai Trust is adding 15 new rooms for senior citizens at its Sector 30 old-age home here. Already 22 rooms exist in the home.

The rooms will be used to accommodate the needy persons selected out of a waiting list, said Mr A.K. Ummat, Chairman of the old-age home here today.



Crime Round-up
Husband, in-laws booked in dowry case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Acting on a complaint of a Hallomajra resident, the Chandigarh Police has booked her husband and his relatives on the allegations of harassing her. In another case, the theft of a laptop, besides two vehicles, was also reported to the police. In yet another theft, thieves decamped with jewellery after breaking into a Sector 18 house.

Besides this, a pedestrian was injured after being hit by a three-wheeler. Two residents were taken into custody on the allegations of gambling at a public place during the past 24 hours.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh Police said Khuda Ali Sher resident Jasmer Singh and his relatives were booked for subjecting Jasmer’s wife to cruelty and criminal breech of trust under Sections 406 and 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the complaint of his wife Amarjit Kaur. In her complaint to the police, Amarjit Kaur claimed that her husband and in-laws were demanding more dowry.

Mr Chander Bhan Sharma of Industrial Area alleged that a Qualis, (CH-03-N-1913), was stolen by a watchman. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC was registered on his complaint.

In his complaint, Mr Sanjiv Bali of Sector 42 claimed that his scooter, (CH-03-E-4797), was stolen while it was parked at a school in Sector 32. A case of theft under Section 379, IPC, was registered.

Mr B.B. Gupta claimed that thieves took away gold jewellery, including bangles and some chains, after entering their first floor accommodation in Sector 18 while he and his wife were away to work. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC was registered.

Mr Daljit Kuashik of Sector 48 claimed that a laptop was stolen from his shop-cum-office in Sector 9. A case under Section 380, IPC, has been registered at Sector 3 police station.

The spokesman added that a pedestrian Rattan Singh of Kajheri was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital after being hit by a three-wheeler in Sector 25. A case has been registered under Section 279 and 337, IPC.

He said Lal Chand of Colony Number Four and Dilbagh Singh of Khuda Lahora were booked for allegedly gambling at public places. Cases under the provisions of the Gambling Act were registered against them. The spokesman added that further investigations in all the cases were on.

In a complaint to the police, Sector 47 resident V.K. Kakkar claimed that his neighbour — related to his daughter’s alleged abductor — “trespassed” into their house and chopped off a guava tree on September 9. Mr Kakkar claimed that his daughter was kidnapped on August 17. Mr Kakkar said his wife, teaching in a school, returned from work to find the tree chopped. Mr Kakkar further claimed that his wife was also threatened by the neighbour.

Claiming that their lives and property were in danger, Mr Kakkar asked Chandigarh’s Inspector-General of Police to look into the matter, adding that police had so far not taken any action on his complaint.



Two held for snatching laptop
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 21
The police has arrested two residents of Chandigarh on a charge of forcibly depriving a resident of Sector 71 here of a laptop and scooter.

The arrested persons are Ashish Bharadwaj and Naresh Kumar, alias, Kaku. The police has recovered the laptop and the scooter from them.

According to the police, the two persons had taken away the computer and the scooter from Harmanpreet Singh on September 19. When Harmanpreet Singh was going on a scooter, the two of them followed him on a motor cycle and allegedly committed the crime.

The police had registered a case under Sections 382 and 34 of the IPC in this regard.



QuarkCity is one-year-old now
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 21
QuarkCity, Mohali, celebrated its first anniversary today. Spread over 51 acres of land, the QuarkCity is an integrated township being developed with unique architecture, infrastructure and world-class facilities.

With the focus of the industry shifting to the region, the endeavour of the company is to provide commercial, residential and office space to top corporate houses and companies in the region.

According to a press statement issued by the company today, one of the two major accomplishments of the year for the QuarkCity has been laying strong foundations of the new tower (F3) which has 13 levels in all, three of which will be used for parking.

F3 is currently under construction and will be ready for occupancy by July 2006. The new tower will be a 10-level state-of-the-art building providing total space-solution.

A typical floor plate of approx 48,000 square feet will provide options of taking a fully furnished space (gold option), a warm shell (silver option) or a bare shell (bronze option).

Clients will have the freedom of being involved with the design and planning of the office space from the very inception so that their office is as per their preferences and requirements.

The other major achievement has been the granting of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status to the QuarkCity by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government Of India.

This is the first functional, notified SEZ to an IT/ITES Park in Punjab and will act as a shot in the arm for the state’s economy.

The QuarkCity would have a shopping mall, a multiplex, recreation and community centres, sports facilities and parks, a crèche, a daily-need market, food courts, a library, a convention centre, Quark Institute of Advanced Learning, Unique features of QuarkCity’s infrastructure etc.



Power tie-up with Reliance Energy to benefit North
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
As part of the ambitious plan to set up the national power grid, the Power Grid Corporation of India is going to sign a joint venture with Reliance Energy Ltd to lay transmission lines of 400 kv capacity, linking the Koldam-Parbati project in Himachal Pradesh with the states in the northern region, said Dr N.S. Saxena, Executive Director (Northern Region Transmission System-II), Power Grid Corporation of India.

Talking to mediapersons in connection with two-day 7th Inter-CPSU Kabaddi Tournament beginning at Chandigarh from tomorrow, Dr Saxena said the 350 circuit kilometer of transmission line would involve a cost of Rs 800 crore of which Rs 640 crore would be invested as part of the joint venture. The beneficiary states would be Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal, Rajasthan and Delhi. It would be the second public private utility venture, the first one being with the Tata’s to commission transmission lines between Bhutan and Delhi.

Other projects were interconnecting the northern region with the eastern region and the western region. As part of strengthening the existing infrastructure, Power Grid had plans to commission several sub stations in the region.

Explaining the concept of National Power Grid, the Executive Director said a perspective transmission plan was being implemented the grid for establishing the national grid in a phased manner. For strengthening the regional grids, five grids had been structured on geographical contiguity basis. To support the generation capacity, additional programme of about 1,00,000 MW had been planned during the Tenth and Eleventh Plan. Due to the national grid, the inter-regional power transfer capacity of 9,500 MW is expected to be enhanced to 30,000 MW by year 2012.

For creating the national grid, total investment requirement in the Central transmission sector had been envisaged to be about Rs 71,000 crore . Out of power grid plans to invest about Rs 50,000 crore, while the balance of Rs 21,000 crore would be mobilised through private participation.

He said the phased development of the national grid would enable scheduled/ unscheduled exchange of power as well as for providing open access in order to encourage and facilitate competition in power market. Such a grid is envisaged to disperse power not only from mega sized generation projects but also to enable transfer of bulk power from one part of the country to another in different operational scenarios across the country.


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