Chandigarh Tribune
Tuesday, January 4, 2000,
Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Plan to set up Chandigarh Botanical Garden
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — The process for setting up Chandigarh Botanical Garden has been set in motion. The Chandigarh Administration will shortly issue notices to acquire land in Sarangpur, Dhanas and Khuda Lahora villages.

This will be the third botanical garden of the city. The other two are the Panjab University Botanical Garden and the Administration’s own Botanical Garden-cum-Smriti Upavana adjoining the world famous Rock Garden.

But the new Botanical Garden planned at the instance of the new Administrator, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), will be different from the existing ones. The new garden, which will be spread over an area of a few hundred acres of land, will also have a special reserach centre, where emphasis will be on forestry, herbal plants and research. The Administrator is keen that all available species of herbal plants and trees should be grown at the new garden.

The Administration has already issued a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act to acquire 146.01 acres of land in Sarangpur village, 19 acres in Dhanas and 14.61 acres in Khuda Lahora. In all, the Administration has so far proposed to acquire almost 180 acres of land for this project.

Initially various proposals were under consideration for selection of sites for the proposed garden. One choice was to locate the garden near Sukhna Lake to serve dual purpose - conservation of soil, and also to make the garden in continuation of the existing one in the forest area.

There was, however, some objection to this proposal as some influential people already have recently decided to go for farmhouses in this area. Further, other problem was that perhaps sufficient land was also not available in this area to meet the requirements of the proposed project.

The other choice was Kishengarh where the Administration has already acquired more than 100 acres of land. A portion of this acuired land — about 60 acres — has already been earmarked for the captive power generation units. A portion of this land was also once offered to the Forest Department in lieu of the Forest land near the Police Lines which is being transferred to the Engineering Department for the provision of second alternate road to Panchkula from Chandigarh.

So this alternate site was also ruled out.

The Administrator was keen that the garden should be so located that it was easily accessible and may also be used as a tourist attraction.

Once the notice under Section 4 is issued, objections to the proposed acquisition can be filed within 30 days. The objections can be filed under Section 5-A of the Land Acquisition Act.Back


Decision on PGI Director on Wednesday
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — The new Director for the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) is expected to be finalised in New Delhi on Wednesday from amongst 10 candidates whose nominations have been received.

The special selection committee constituted to recommend the appointment of a new regular Director will meet on January 5 under the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare , Mr N T Shanmugham, who is also the chairman of the institute body.

Prominent among the 10 candidates are Prof S.K Sharma, Head of the Department of Urology; Prof Sudha Suri, Head Department of Radio Diagnosis and Imaging; Prof A.K Banerjee, Head of the Hepatology Department; Prof R.J Dash, Head of the Endocrinology and Prof SBS Mann, Head of the ENT Department.

Others whose names figure in the panel are Prof Subhash Kumari Gupta, Head of the Department of Cytology and Gynaecological Pathology; Prof O.N Nagi, Head, Department of Orthopaedics; Prof Sarala Gopalan, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Prof Promila Chari, Head, Department of Anaesthesia and Prof P.S Chari, Head, Department of Plastic Surgery.

According to informed sources, a majority of those whose names would be considered hail from the institutes with Col A.L Sharma of Pune being the sole exception. The nominations have to be received from Vice Chancellors of various universities of India, Principals of Medical Colleges and Directors of various medical Institutes.

Apart from the Health Minister, the other six members of the selection committee are Mr Javed Chowdhary, Union Secretary Health; Dr S.P. Aggarwal, Director-General Health Services; Dr Ketan Desai, President of the Medical Council of India (MCI); Prof K Subbarao, Vice-Chancellor, Nizam University, Hyderabad; Dr A Rajasekhar, Head of National Board of Examinations and Prof S.S. Deshmukh, Vice-Chancellor of the Mumbai University.

The recommendations of the selection committee will be ratified by the institute body, which will meet later on the same day. However, a formal appointment of the next chief will be made only after the approval by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

It may be recalled that the post of the Director of the PGI fell vacant after Prof B.K Sharma was relieved on November 30 after the expiry of his two years’ extension. The Union government had appointed Prof N.K. Ganguly, Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) ,to officiate as the chief. But the Punjab and Haryana High Court had on December 1 refrained him from acting as the officiating chief after a petition was filed by Dr R.J Dash, Head of the Endocrinology Department, in which he had submitted that he was the senior most Professor and that the appointment of Prof Ganguly was against the regulations of the PGI Act.Back


Chandigarh records coldest day
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — As a thick blanket of fog engulfed the city and its surrounding areas, the city recorded the coldest day of the ongoing winter season, forcing people indoors. While the poor lighted bonfires, the upper strata of the society used blowers and heaters to fend off the cold.

The maximum and minimum temperatures were the lowest recorded in the city, during this season. The maximum temperature dropped to 12.4 degrees celsius, 9 degrees below normal. This was a drop of almost 8 degrees since yesterday. The minimum temperature was 3.2 degrees celsius, 4 degrees below normal average. This was drop of 2 degrees since yesterday morning.

The Director of the local Meteorological Office, Mr S.C. Bhan, classified this as a cold wave. Explaining the reason for the fog, he said an “incursion” had occurred over the Bay of Bengal, which had pushed up moisture levels over the city, resulting in fog. The conditions will continue for 2 to 3 days as there is no possibility of rain.

For the first time during this winter, thick woollens were out during the day. Attendance in schools and colleges was low. Office-goers were delayed while work in offices was slow.

The fog also delayed the Shatabdi coming from Delhi in the morning by 2 hours, while the Himalayan Queen was running 2 hours and 30 minutes behind schedule. Several long-distance trains passing through Ambala were running behind schedule. Driving of vehicles was also difficult this morning as visibility was reduced to a few metres.

The poor could be seen huddled around bonfires. Others were snuggled in their quilts with blowers and heaters warding off the cold. Fog lifted around noon and by 3.30, fog started descending over the city. In this cold weather shopkeepers reported losses. Sales of samosas, pakoras and such items were brisk. Gol gappa sellers and those selling soup also did good business.

Motor mechanics were slow in their work.

While driving in fog

  • Keep headlights of your vehicle on dipper mode and not on high beam.
  • Use fog lights or cover the headlights with yellow coloured cellophane paper.
  • Drive very slow as the other drivers may not be able see you.
  • Keep a small portion of the window pane open as this will prevent window panes from fogging.

Due to the prevailing conditions, the Punjab Government has ordered that all schools will open at 9.30 am, instead of 8 am. This was done as children and teachers were getting delayed in the fog. These timings will remain in force till February, 2000. Schools will close at 3.30 pm.Back


Blind youths threaten fast
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — Three blind youths, in their early twenties, have threatened to go on fast unto death before the Punjab Governor’s house from January 17. No hope of employment has forced the trio, products of Sector 26 Blind Institute, to think about this step.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, they lamented that though they could efficiently work as telephone operators , besides doing other jobs like chair cane weaving, they were not given opportunities. “After getting education, our conscience does not allow us to beg for survival. We want to survive with our hard earned money,” they said.

The trio, Ram Bhaj Sharma, Attar Singh and Kunji Ram hail from Jind, Sonepat and Rohru, respectively, and are currently residing in hostels. The grant they get from the Red Cross is sufficient to pay their mess bills only.

Having responsibilities of their families, one is doing his post graduation from Panjab University and the other two are students of undergraduate classes at city government colleges. After getting free education upto plus two level from the Blind Institute, higher education has become a weight in their pockets.

Ram Bhaj, doing his postgraduation from Panjab University, said: “ My mother (widow) is living alone in the village. She is dependent upon me in her old age. I am without any job.”

Attar Singh, a student of BA final year and a degree holder in Vishardh, has the responsibility to give education and marry his two nieces. Kunji Ram is the only son of his parents, who are residing at his native place Rohru in Shimla district.Back


Encroachers are back
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 3 — Hardly a few months after a drive to implement various guidelines of the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders regarding the implementation of the traffic rules and removal of encroachments was launched, the encroachments are back.

The hoardings and signboards which were removed by the enforcement staff of the local Municipal Council have again sprung up. The maximum encroachments are in the corridors of different sector markets.

On the implementation of the traffic rules, the local police appears to be least bothered as surprise checks on the violators have become a rare practise.Back


Breath analysers on the way
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — In an effort to check drunken driving in the city, the police will procure two portable breath alcohol analysers soon. A proposal in this context has been finalised. Each analyser costs about Rs 1 lakh.

In the absence of analysers the traffic police is not carrying any drive at present. Such drives were a routine feature some time ago and the number of offenders challaned was very high. Large sums of money as fine were also realised from them.

According to information available with the department, drunken driving was one of the major reasons for road accidents. Publicity and awareness camps in this context have not been very effective though the stress was on awareness than challaning. However, no chances can be taken as such drivers are not only a danger to other road users but to themselves also.

A case in point was when a driver rammed his car into the pilot Gypsy of the UT Administrator at the Sector 26 traffic lights. Some time ago a Ludhiana-based engineer crushed a man under his vehicle near the Sector 22 traffic lights.

Figures show that after accidents due to drunken driving come overspeeding and driving on high beam. It may be recalled that the department had been using ballon-type analysers which were quite cumbersome.

The practical difficulty in using such analysers was that the offender had to be subjected to a medical examination to determine the amount of alcohol consumed. The ballon could only tell that the person had consumed alcohol but the amount was necessary to challan him under provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act.

To tackle this, the department later bought a state-of-the-art breath alcohol analyser-3020 which had a printer which gave an accurate reading of the amount of alcohol consumed by a person. In this way the need for a medical examination was eliminated.

Sources said the only analyser with the department developed a snag some months ago and had not been used ever since. It was purchased from a Hyderabad firm and repeated reminders for its repairs had not yielded any response.

Challaning would be resumed once the gadgets were acquired, the sources added. Back

One dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 3 — Surinder from Bihar died after a speeding truck knocked him down near a brick kiln at Raipur Rani. A case filed by Swarn, from Bihar, who was accompanying the deceased, was registered under Sections 273 and 304 A of the IPC.Back

Two purse snatchers held
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — Two persons have been arrested for snatching purses in various parts of the city.

Ashish was arrested from near the Sector 19 church when he was running after allegedly snatching the purse of Effy Rodrigues. The purse contained some important documents, besides Rs 150 in cash.

In another incident, Sanjiv Kumar was arrested while stealing the purse of Akhtar Khan near the Mani Majra bus stand.

Cases under Sections 379 and 411, IPC, have been registered.

Held with liquor: The police has arrested two persons on the charges of possessing liquor above the permissible limit.

According to sources, Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Burail village, was arrested from Sector 44 and 12 bottles of whisky were recovered from his possession.

Partap Singh, a resident of Sector 32, was arrested from Sector 20, and 12 bottles of whisky were recovered from him.

Cases under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act have been registered.

Car stolen: Mr Raj Kumar, a resident of Sector 22, reported that his car, (CH-OI-T 5401), has been stolen from the Sector 22 parking lot. A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered at the Central police station.Back


Good response to SBI gold scheme
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — The SBI Gold Deposit Scheme has evoked a good response in the city and the surrounding areas.

The scheme was launched on December 20 by the Sector 17 main branch of the SBI. As much as 11.5 kg of gold valued at about Rs 50 lakh has been deposited under the scheme by the individual depositors so far. The deposits are likely to shoot up after the branch taps corporate sources and religious institutions and launches an intense publicity campaign, according to sources here.

It may be recalled that the SBI Chairman, Mr G. G. Vaidya, had launched the scheme in New Delhi on November 19, which was subsequently extended to the whole of the country. The Reserve bank of India (RBI) had authorised only the SBI to accept gold under the scheme started with the purpose of "bringing the privately held gold in circulation, reduce the country's dependence on the import of gold and provide its owners with additional income apart from freeing them from the problems of storage, movement and security of gold in their possession."

The Deputy General Manager, Mr V. K. Gupta, informed The Tribune that India, which is the largest importer of gold in the world, spent about Rs 8,000 crore per year on this account. With the start of the scheme, the "idle" gold could be brought into the mainstream for productive use and precious foreign exchange saved, he added.

According to banking industry sources, the country has "idle" gold to the tune of 11,000 tonnes in the shape of jewellery, melted gold, gold bars and coins in the country, on which the depositors could earn interest at the rates varying from 3 per cent to 4 per cent, depending upon the duration of deposit from 3 years to 7 years.

Explaining the deposit procedure, the officials said a minimum of 200 gm gold in the form of gold bars, coins and jewellery would be accepted at the designated branches which would then be sent to Mumbai after preliminary assaying. A special cell under the supervision of Mr H. C. Rana, Manager, had been created for the purpose. It would be returned to the depositor in cash or gold at his option on maturity, the officials highlighted.

Apart from no tax on the interest earned, no wealth and capital gains tax, the scheme provided for premature encashment, besides loans against the gold bonds.

Mr Gupta claimed that the deposits would shoot up once the bank tied up with religious institutions, which had bulk quantities of gold, like Mansa Devi, Mani Majra, Naina Devi, Chintpurni Temple and Golden Temple, Amritsar.

The Mansa Devi authorities alone are reported to have 4.5 kg of gold received by them through offerings by devotees.

Apart from the Chandigarh main branch, the main branches at Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Jammu have been authorised to accept gold in the Chandigarh Circle.Back


Biggest ceiling fan in the world?
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — What would cool almost two acres of lush green lawns in the hot summers? A gigantic ceiling fan, which has been fabricated by Kansal resident Satwant Singh Gill.

The fan, weighing six quintals and having a wing span of 40 feet, is the first thing one notices at his farmhouse on the outskirts of the village. A giant strut, 204 metres in length and 40 feet high, is needed to suspend the fan which operates on a 5-hp motor.

Built at a cost of Rs 1.30 lakh, with an additional expenditure of Rs 2.50 lakh for the strut, it is probably one of the biggest and costliest fans in the world, claims a beaming Mr Gill.

Narrating the incident that led to this awe-inspiring creation, he said he was sitting with some friends thinking of ways to ease the humidity when he got the brainwave to make a ceiling fan. While some of his friends were skeptical, others were supporting.

Work began in earnest and after hit and trial and two months later, the fan was ready. Initially, people refused to believe that the fan would work, but when it was shown to them, they were impressed. In fact, the farm has become a tourist attraction following this, Mr Gill added.

He plans to write to The Guinness Book of World Records about his creation.Back


3-day strike by oil dealers
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Jan 3 — Petroleum dealers of Ropar district observed a strike from January 1 to 3 in support of the demand to soften the terms and conditions of the tender for transport of petroleum products.

According to a press note issued here today by Mr Sushil Kaushal, President of the Ropar District Petroleum Dealers Association, the association thanked the Tank Lorry Contractors for cooperating with them and not lifting any product from the Sangrur terminal.Back


Millennium Grasim Mr India Contest
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — “Mirror-Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of all?”. This seemed to be the question that 47 young males, in the age group of 22 years to 25 years, appeared to be asking at the regional round phase of the Millennium Grasim Mr India Contest, being held for the first time in the city today at Hotel Mountview , Sector 10.

The aspiring males for this much-coveted crown, the first contest for which was held six years back, were presented today to the media at a press conference. A short-listing of these boys was done earlier today, and the final names would be announced only before the final rounds, an event that would be held in Hyderabad.

According to Mr Anshuman Swami, the event director, since a large number of contestants happen to be from the region, so the regional phase this time was held in the city.

When queried about all the contestants being clean shaven, Mr Swami said that there was no such set criterion for this, but most of the boys preferred the same. He also added that the boys would not have to go through any “make-up regime”, but would have to go thought a 14 days training to build up their physique.

The contest would be a 12-day contest, which would include five sub-contests — Mr Physique, which would judge the contestants on the basis of overall physique and vital statistics; Best Dressed male, which would judge the overall dressing sense and knowledge of the latest style in vogue; Mr Photogenic, for the most camera-friendly male; Best Smile, which would be on the basis of warmth and genuineness of his smile, and Mr Popular, in which the contestants vote for the winner of this title.

Also participating in this contest is Mr Rupinder Singh, who had won the title of Mr India in the year 1999. The choreographer for this show would be Mr Rafal Sojka from Poland to “give an international touch to the show”.

Interestingly this year the height requirement for the participants has been reduced from 6ft to 5’11”. According to Mr Swami, even the international contests have now reduced the height requirements, since the average height of men in the Asian countries is lesser than those in the European countries.

The title of Mr India has earlier been held by Bikram Singh Saluja, Sachin Khurana, Deepinder Gill, Diwakar Pundir and Abhijit Sanyal. This year a total of 5,000 males had send in their entries, out of which 343 have been short-listed.Back

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