Chandigarh Tribune
Tuesday, February 1, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


New grenades for infantry
By Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 — Infantry units will soon be replacing their obsolete hand grenades with indigenously developed ones. Designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the grenades are reported to be in the final test phase.

Christened Shivalik, it will replace the existing No 35 HE hand grenade, the original version of which dates back to World War II.

The Shivalik can either be thrown by hand or launched from a standard service rifle by using normal ball ammunition. A bullet-trap contraption incorporated into the design eliminates the need for a special ballistic or gas cartridge for launching it from a rifle.

The grenade comprises three basic modules — the body, the tube and the fuse. The body of the grenade is made of special polymers and is non-splintering type. The main charge is a mixture of RDX and TNT.

In the offensive role, the grenade will be used in the final phases of an assault, being hurled by hand normally from a distance of 50 metres to soften the enemy. On detonation, the enemy is stunned because of concussion effect produced by the blast.

In the defensive role, the grenade can be used against enemy troops in the open. Controlled and uniform spread of fragments can incapacitate human beings within a specific radius, but causes no harm to own troops.

The range of the Shivalik when launched from a rifle is stated to be 200 metres, which is more than the 120 metres achieved by the No 36 grenade. A special attachment is required to launch the No 36 grenade.

Further, the Shivalik can be paradropped and can function in temperatures ranging between minus 20 degrees Celsius to 55 degrees Celsius.Back


Administration, MCC on collision course over illegal structures
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 — The Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) are on a collision course again. This time over the regularisation of the illegal structures in Mani Majra.

With the administration virtually rescinding the resolution passed by the civic body regarding the use of land in Pocket Nos 2 and 11 of Mani Majra, the battle for supremacy between the civic body and the Administration seemed to have intensified.

It may be recalled that the corporation, at its meeting on February 1 last year, had passed a resolution for the regularisation of hundreds of illegal structures on the prime land. Under the MCC plan, the owners of the structures were required to pay premium of land on the existing market rates on the day of the assessment. The commercial structures were to be regularised on the payment of commercial rates of the land.

Besides, only those structures were to be regularised which did not come in the final planning of the area. The owners were also to pay development charges, including penalties, imposed by the corporation.

The MCC plan, however, did not find favour with the Administration which, in a strongly-worded show-cause notice to the civic body, said that “ by passing the resolution No 11 at the meeting held on September 11,1999, the MCC had again exceeded the powers which were not vested in it under the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act,1976, as extended to Chandigarh”.

The Administration feared that if the unauthorised construction was regularised, that would encourage further encroachment and illegal colonisation. The UT Administrator, keeping in view the repercussions of the regularisation of the unauthorised construction and exercising the powers under the Act, had annulled the resolution, the letter said.

In fact, at a meeting of the corporation held on January 28, the BJP councillors blamed the Administration for the construction of hundreds of houses as the land was with the Administration when the encroachments and the constructions took place.

They contended that since the land had been transferred to the civic body it was the prerogative of the corporation to decide about its land-use. Instead of the show-cause notice, the Administration should have transferred the vacant land to the corporation.

The councillors argued that under the existing circumstance the MCC plan was the best one as the owners would pay premium at the market rates and development charges. It would be virtually impossible to demolish hundreds of the houses since they had water and electricity connections besides house numbers, the councillor argued.

Ultimately, House, while condemning the issuance of the show-cause notice, decided to constitute a three-member committee to hold talks with the Administration officials to break the impasse and arrive at an amicable settlement. Back


‘Master concrete’ for intersections
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 — The Chandigarh Administration has decided to go for “master concrete” at all heavy and busy road intersections. A special type of concrete pre-mix is used as top layer at the intersections where heavy vehicles, including buses, trucks and other load carrying vehicles, ply.

The Administration has taken this concept from the Union Capital where a large number of intersections, roundabouts and stretches of roads have been specially tarred with this master concrete.

The Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration has initially shortlisted some busy intersections for fresh top layers of master concrete. These include the Cricket Stadium intersection, The Tribune intersection and the Kisan Bhavan intersection.

The work on laying of master concrete at the Cricket Stadium intersection has already started. According to sources in the Engineering Department, fresh carpeting of each intersection with this new heavy duty master concrete will cost anything between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 20 lakh depending upon the size of the intersection.

After the Cricket Stadium roundabout, the work on the Kisan Bhavan intersection would be taken. The Tribune chowk would be taken up last during the current financial year.

The decision to go for the master concrete was taken after the Administration considered various options, including use of cement concrete at busy traffic intersections, especially those which are frequented by heavy duty vehicles, including trucks, buses, tankers and tractor-trailers.

There had been complaints that the existing pre-mix used as top layer at intersections was unable to withstand the pressure of heavy vehicles. As such, the roundabouts become bumpy, uneven and unsafe for vehicular traffic leading to a number of accidents.

The Engineering Departments of both the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and the Chandigarh Administration had been continuously trying to repair these “uneven and unsafe” roundabouts but without any sustainable success. The only exception had been the automated traffic light intersections like the Government Press chowk and the Transport chowk where instead of pre-mix, the Administration experimented with a different material. These intersections have been even and without these “road bump” problems.

Based on the success of the use

of the new material, the Engineering Department contemplates to introduce this master concrete concept at all other roundabouts and also on those roads which remain in use under heavy duty vehicles throughout the year.

This new master concrete, the sources said, was both weather and load proof and would withstand pressure of heavy vehicular traffic as well weather extremes of both summers and winters.

Meanwhile, the work has been continuing for widening of Purv Marg into three lane each way. The work was taken up following directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court that all important roads, especially national and state highways, should have three lanes on either side.

As a sequel to this direction, the work has already been taken up in hand on Purv Marg and also on a portion of National Highway dividing Sectors 43 and 44. Work on both Purv Marg and National Highway 21 is expected to be completed by the end of current financial year.

Work has also been in progress on construction of a slow carriageway along Dakshin Marg in Sector 31. Tippers and trucks of the Engineering Department have been busy in filling the deep depression along the road so as to bring it at the level of the ground before the road is constructed. This slow carriageway is also expected to be completed by March 31.Back


Villagers oppose Anandgarh project
From Shashi Pal Jain

KHARAR, Jan 31 — Mr G.S. Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, today visited Kharar to interact with the sarpanches and nambardars of 28 villages of Kharar subdivision where the Punjab Government has proposed to set up a new city Anandgarh.

Talking to media persons after the meeting in the tehsil complex, Mr Grewal announced that all land-owners who would be vacated in regard to the Anandgarh project would be given adequate compensation as per market rates and they would be given plots at reserve price on a priority basis. He said compensation would be given in lumpsum in one instalment. He said there was a proposal that all persons who would be vacated should be settled in one sector of this new town and all types of facilities would be provided to the persons whose land would be acquired.

Meanwhile, after the meeting many participants said they did not want that they should be vacated from their villages. Mr Bhajan Singh Shergill was critical of the administration which did not invite the MLA of Kharar and Morinda constituencies to the meeting. It was demanded that the rates of compensation should be decided while taking into confidence the MLA concerned.

Mr Meva Singh of Milkh village said the residents of this area did not want any new town as already places like Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula were near their villages.

Mr Kulbir Singh, President of the Youth Welfare Club of Jhampur village said that the villagers had to face a lot of problems for the meeting today as earlier they were asked to come at 10 a.m. afterwards, the time was changed to 2 p.m., but the actual meeting started at 3 p.m. in a closed room. He demanded that such meetings should be held in the open.

Some people in the meeting said the new city should be set up in barren and unproductive land. Mr Gurcharan Singh Hasanpur said the government should not act as property dealer by purchasing land at a very cheap rate and then sell it at a higher rate. He demanded that all profit should be distributed among the land owners.

Some people said an entire village should be acquired and not parts of it. A compensation of at least Rs 25 lakh per acre was demanded. Some villagers said they wondered why there was a need to set up Anandgarh when all people here were satisfied and living in peace

According to information, villagers have decided to meet on February 6 in Mullanpur Garibdas village to discuss further action in this regard.

SAS NAGAR (TNS): The Kandi Area Panchayat Union has threatened to launch an agitation if the Punjab Government went ahead with its proposal to develop the Anandgarh township. The union comprising different villages to be acquired under the Anandgarh project, said the proposal was against the inhabitants of the area. Back


‘Jamboree’ trip of scouts, guides cancelled
By Sonoo Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 — A total of 100 scouts and guides of the city who prepared for days together to participate in a six-day national event called the ‘Jamboree’ at Chennai, starting on January 26, had to have their trip cancelled at the last moment, reportedly for want of funds. The Education Department, UT, indicated that the same was done because the Railways informed them that the 50 per cent concession given to these students each time for participation in ‘Jamboree’ had been withdrawn, as per a new notification by the Central Government. Also, no return reservations were being made available for the students and the accompanying teachers.

These children on their part took part in a four day camp called ‘Pre-Jamboree’, from January 20 to 23 at the State Headquarter office of the Bharat Scouts and Guides, Sector 42, in which they practised regularly in various sports and arts activities from 9am to 4pm. These students, who had abandoned their regular studies and syllabi for these couple of days, were informed about the cancellation of the trip just before the day of departure to Chennai. “Even we got to know about the same on January 25”, said an official of UT Adult Education Department.

Interestingly, no copy of any notification is available with the department, since it was the state of Haryana that informed the UT of this decision. According to sources, the reservations etc of scouts and guides of the city was being taken care of in collaboration with the state of Haryana, which always manages to have one of the largest teams in this event, and in fact, as per reports, a special train had been allotted for the students of this state, for the previous ‘Jamboree’. UT had given, as per sources, a sum of Rs 10,000 to Haryana for the reservations of its seats.

Meanwhile, it is also being alleged that the cancellation has also come in the wake of the Punjab Government’s decision to cancel this trip because of the financial crunch of the state. Sources also informed that the state of Haryana had sent their “huge contingent that had to be fitted in about nine coaches”, this time without any return reservations for its students. An official also alleged that plans were also afoot to “divide the money amongst ourselves” in case of absentee students, since most of the money had already been deposited

The UT spends about Rs 1500 per child who participates in this event, an amount that is provided by the respective schools out of their school funds. This time students from 15 government schools and about four private schools of the city were to participate, and the money, according to an official in the UT Education Department, is now being refunded to each of the respective schools.

According to officials of the department, the main hitch in sending the students this year was not only the disallowing of 50 per cent concession in ticket rates but that no reservations were available. “It would be very risky for us to send some 100 students to as far as Chennai and then not be bothered about their return. And that too with girls and boys as young as 14 years old”, said an official.

The ‘Jamboree’ is an event that is held every three years in which scouts and guides from various parts of the country participate in various activities, including competitions and contest, folk dances and songs and adventure sports. Students of Class IX onwards, who have won a state award or a President’s Scouts/Guides Medal, are eligible for ‘Jamboree’.

This year 59 scouts and guides of the city have been awarded the President’s Medal.Back

Strong winds lash region

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 (UNI) — The city and adjoining areas of Haryana and Punjab were hit by dust storms, at times with a speed of 40 km per hour, while forward areas in Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir experienced fresh spells of snowfall today.

Dust-raising winds from Rajasthan and icy winds from across the snowcapped mountains in the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh caused a drop of two to three degrees in day temperatures while night temperatures were two to four degrees above normal under overcast skies in the area.

Weathermen here attributed the sudden abnormality in the weather to westerly disturbances appearing over North Pakistan areas adjoining Jammu and Kashmir and low pressure area associated with upper cyclonic conditions extending upto 3.1 km above sea level over Western Pakistan adjoining Rajasthan.

Day temperature in and around Chandigarh dipped to 20 degrees celsius from 23.6 degrees recorded yesterday. The minimum temperature rose to 10 degrees, two degrees above normal, against 6.4 degrees recorded yesterday.

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of 1.3 degrees, three degrees above normal. @@ However, Shimla was hotter at 5.7 degrees, four degrees above normal, this morning. Solan was among colder places in the state as minimum temperature there hovered around 2.7 degrees. Bhuntar and Una had the low of 1.1 and 2.8 degrees, respectively.

Weather forecasts warned of moderate to heavy rains or snow in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir over the next 48 hours. Light to moderate rain would occur at some places in Punjab and Haryana during the next two days.

Hisar in Haryana recorded 11.7 degrees, six degrees above normal while Ambala had the minimum at 8.3, four degrees above normal.

National Capital Delhi recorded a low of 10.4 degrees today.@@In Punjab, Amrtisar continued to be the coldest place with a low of 5.2 degrees. Patiala and Bhatinda reported eight and 8.5 degrees celsius, respectively, this morning.Back


Make NCC training compulsory, says Jacob
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 — The Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today suggested that NCC training should be made mandatory for every student in Punjab and Chandigarh.

Addressing NCC cadets from Punjab and Chandigarh who had attended the Republic Day camp organised at New Delhi in 1999 as well as 2000, the Governor said that in view of the pattern of events during the past six months, including the incursions in Kargil and the hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft, it was clear that ''we are facing trouble from across the borders''. He said that with attempts to damage the unity and integrity of the country, the nation had to remain prepared for every eventuality.

General Jacob said that making NCC training mandatory for every student would be a great service to the nation, the armed forces as well as the youth.

Expressing regret that just 3 per cent of students in Punjab enrol with the NCC as the funds made available to the NCC were very meagre, he expressed confidence that Punjab would be able to get special concessions or grants from the Central Government to implement this proposal.

Congratulating the cadets on their achievements, the Governor hoped that most of them would join the armed forces. he said that the NCC was founded in 1948 as an urgent need was felt to channelise the energy of the youth in constructive areas so that they were not only educated but also disciplined and made physically fit. He added that though the objectives of the NCC had changed with compulsions and expediency, it had been providing military training to the youth as well as motivating them for the betterment of society. NCC training, he said, also helped to build character and encouraged a spirit of adventure and of taking calculated risks.

The governor honoured 62 cadets who had attended the republic Day camp this year and 59 cadets who had attended the camp last year. Among them were 12 and 10 cadets, respectively, from Chandigarh.

On the occasion, the Governor also gave mementoes to the cadets as well as NCC officers. These included WO Pankaj Kumar Rattan (1 Punjab Air Squadron, Jalandhar) for winning a gold medal in radio control power remote model display and a bronze in control line aerobatics, C/UO Kamaldeep Singh (2 Punjab Air Squadron, Amritsar) for winning a gold medal in radio control power remote model display and a bronze in control line aerobatics, WO Rakesh Duggal (2 Punjab Air Squadron, Amritsar) for winning a silver medal in overall static model display, Cdt Vikas Kumar (2 Punjab Air Squadron, Amritsar) for winning a silver medal in overall static model display, Cdt Gunjan Gokhar for winning gold in show jumping, Cpl Kiranjeet Singh for winning silver medals in show jumping and have-a-gamble and Cdt Ashwinder Grewal for winning a bronze in show jumping. All three are from of 1 Punjab R&V Squadron, Ludhiana.

Cadets from Chandigarh who won prizes at the national-level camps are Vishal Katoch (2 Chandigarh Battalion), Pankhaj Srivastav, Vikramjit Singh Budhwar (both of 1 Chandigarh Naval Unit) and Tara Chand (1 Chandigarh Air Squadron).

Besides a visit by two senior division cadets to Kargil in October last year, 25 girls from 1 Chandigarh Battalion were sent on a motivational visit to the Indian Military Academy last month.

An aero-modeling and a ship modeling display was also organised by NCC cadets in the lawns of Raj Bhavan. The others present on the occasion included the Minister for Higher Education, Mr Mohan Lal; The Principal Secretary, Higher Education, Mr G.P.S. Sahi; and the Deputy Director-General, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorate, Brig R.K. Mehra.Back


No funds, no GPO, poor facilities
From Gautam Dheer

PANCHKULA, Jan 31 — The Office of the Superintendent of Post Offices, Ambala, under whose jurisdiction the Panchkula Postal Division falls, has sought re-allotment of the site for a General Post Office (GPO) with revised rates, to be set up in the township, though the Postal Department is facing paucity of funds.

The site for the GPO, 4620 sq m in area, which was earlier located in Sector 5 between the telephone exchange and the main bus stand, was earmarked for the postal department several years back. The department failed to pay Rs 1.07 crore, following which the issue remained pending with the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

The regulations provide for a GPO in every district. The long pending demand by social welfare organisations and residents for establishing a GPO here has failed to heed fruitful results. Residents complain that they are deprived of ideal Post and Telegraph facilities by existing sub-post offices in the absence of a GPO.

Earlier attempts in this regard, especially before 1997, by senior officials of the department, were in vain due to paucity of funds. The scenario holds good in regard to setting up of sub-post offices in various sectors, sites for which have been earmarked by HUDA in sectors 8 and 15 and in Industrial Area.

Out of the total 6 post offices in the town, only one is functional on the department premises. Others are running in small market outlets and houses on a monthly rental basis. Sources reveal that the site plan for the post office in Sector 15 has been approved and the site plan for Sector 8 is pending with the authorities concerned.

Increasing population, coupled with industrial development, in and around the town, has not only compounded problems of residents but has also resulted in overburdening the existing number of post offices. Mr S.K. Nayar, President of the Citizens Welfare Association, laments that residents are the worst sufferers at the hands of the postal staff, who are famous for their curt attitude, possibly because of being overburdened.

Residents have to bear a delay in the delivery of dak as the process is through Ambala, in the absence of a GPO. Sources in the postal department reveal that the postal staff here faces many routine administrative problems owing to centralised functioning from Ambala. The load on post offices often results in quarrels between residents and the staff. The post offices here are under-staffed, with the main post office in Sector 8, operating in a rented accommodation, being treated as a "dummy" GPO from where the staff is adjusted in other sector post offices.

There are no separate counters for money orders, speed post, stamps and payment of telephone bills. The problems have aggravated as every post office follows a separate delivery system, contrary to the centralised delivery system adopted at places having a GPO. Facilities for bulk purchase of postal material is often not possible at the post offices in the absence of the GPO.

Mr Nayar says the residents have to bear a lot of inconvenience when the postman takes leave, as the department has no alternative functional arrangement. Mr N.K. Sharma, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Ambala, says the department has certain extra department employees but this has not served the purpose.Back


Candidate's cavalcade blocks traffic
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 31 — In a frenzy of enthusiasm, supporters of Mr Chander Mohan, the Congress candidate from the Kalka Assembly seat, accompanied him in a procession which went through the township to the office of the Returning Officer in Sector 1 where he filed his nomination papers today.

Beating drums and raising slogans in support of the Congress and the candidate, the supporters and party workers accompanied him in trucks, cars and scooters. Some gathered at crossings to welcome him to their sector. The enthusiastic supporters made a beeline for the Gypsy carrying Mr Chander Mohan to garland him while others were content showering flowers at the passing procession.

The procession started from Mr Chander Mohan's residence in Sector 8 and went through Sectors 9 and 10 before crossing over to Sector 5. The two-hour procession started the return journey from Sector 5, coming onto the road leading to the secretariat.

Though the police had made elaborate arrangements to control the crowd, they proved to be of little assistance to the public which tried to weave its way through the cavalcade. The trucks carrying supporters, along with over 150 cars and jeeps and nearly 5,000 supporters brought most of the traffic to a stand-still even as some of them crossed over to the wrong side in an effort to find their way out.

Near the crossing of the roundabout, members of the newly formed Kranti Yuva Morcha greeted the procession. The association, involving youth from the four blocks of the Kalka constituency, will work to propagate the policies and programmes of the Congress at the grassroot level while mobilising people to cast their vote and educating them on the use of the electronic voting machine.

Around noon, Mr Mohan filed his nomination papers at the office of the Returning Officer, Mr Shubh Ram Vashisth. He was accompanied by his mother, Mrs Jasma Devi, and younger brother, Mr Kuldeep Bishnoi, among other leaders of the District Congress Committee.

Later, he addressed a rally at Old Panchkula. Appealing the public to cast their vote in his favour, he highlighted the work done by him in the constituency and promised to usher in large-scale development of the township.

A former MLA from the Adampur Assembly Constituency, Mr Kuldeep Bishnoi, claimed that most of the progress in the constituency had taken place during the Congress regime in the state. "Mr Bansi Lal completely failed on the issue of implementation of prohibition in the state. Mr Chautala has doled out promises which can never be fulfilled. Even if the government were to give 5 per cent of what had been promised in the darbars held all over the sate, we would be required to mortgage the entire state,'' he said.

The others who addressed the gathering included the District Congress President, Mr R. S. Chauhan, Mr Lachman Singh, and Mr Om Parkash.Back


BJP starts recruitment drive
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 — The local unit of the BJP has started its enrolment campaign. The unit has already appointed a number of people as mandals in charge to oversee the recruitment drive, according to Mr Narinder Dev Sharma, Chief of membership campaign of the unit.

In a press note, Mr Sharma said that a meeting of all membership supervisors or in charges would be held at Kamlam on February 2 at 5 p.m. so that membership forms could be supplied to them and they could be briefed properly about membership drive and other related issues. The local unit chief, Mr Dharam Paul Gupta, would also be present at that meeting.

Though some of the old record of the local unit was destroyed as the computer on which data was stored was damaged in a fire some time ago, the unit is now trying to reconstruct some of the old records.

Meanwhile, the following have been appointed mandal chiefs for the enrolment drive : Mandal 1 — Mr Parveen Goel; Mandal 2 : Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP; Mandal 3 : Mr Des Raj Tandon; Mandal 4 - Mr Yash Pal Mahajan; Mandal 5 : Mr Jai Ram Joshi; Mandal 6 : Mrs Neena Tiwari; Mandal 7 : Mr Santosh Mishra; Mandal 8 : Mr Harbhajan Singh and Mr Des Raj; Mandal 9 : Mr Parshottam Mahajan; Mandal 10 - Mr Lalit Sengar; Mandal 11 : Mr Parveen Rawat; Mandal 12 : Mr Neeraj Tayal; Mandal 13 : Mr Satinder Singh; Mandal 14 : Mr Dalip Sharma; Mandal 15 : Mr Hari Shanker Mishra; Mandal 16 : Mr Gian Chand Gupta; Mandal 17 : Ms Ranjana Shaahi; Mandal 18 : Mr Prabhu Dyal; Mandal 19 : Mr Roshan Lal Jindal and Mandal 20 : Mr Suresh Verma and Mr Gurdeep Singh.

Since in the appointment of mandal chiefs, important dissidents or those owing allegiance to Mr Satya Pal Jain and his group, have also been accommodated, the party hopes that the enrolment drive would get overwhelming response, leading to free and fair organisational elections of the unit in the coming months.Back


Boy commits suicide
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 — The fear of a thrashing at home led a 14-year-old resident of Maloya Colony to reportedly commit suicide by consuming an insecticide here today.

According to police sources, the teenager, Jagjit Singh, a student of the Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 40, is battling of his life at the PGI. Ranjit Singh, younger brother of Jagjit, told TNS that his brother's cycle was stolen last afternoon and he was afraid that he would be beaten up by their father. He did not come home after school yesterday and reportedly stayed at a friend's house.

Their father, Mr Harbaksh Singh, an employee of Punjab Roadways, is away on tour.

Today he came home at about 11 a.m. and is suspected to have consumed some liquid insecticide. He was rushed to the hospital by his neighbours.

While a case is yet to be registered, the police is investigating. Back


One held with cartridges
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 — The police has arrested Jugal Kishore, alias Billu, a resident of Sector 37, from near the GSSS, Sector 40, and recovered 76 cartridges of a .32 revolver from his possession.

He was produced in a city court and has been remanded to police custody for three days. A case under Sections 25, 54 and 59, Arms Act, has been registered.

Scooters stolen: In separate incidents, Mr Rajinder Saliya, a resident of Sector 19, and Mr Suresh Kumar, a resident of Dhanas Colony, have reported that their scooters were stolen from Sector 8 and the bus stand parking lot, respectively.

The police has registered cases under Section 379, IPC.

Injured in mishap: Mr Gurbachan Singh, a resident of Madhopur village, Ropar, reported that he was hit and injured by a Gypsy (PB-02-C 7565) driven by Sector 24 resident Jaspal Singh on the outer Sector 39 road.

A case under Sections 279 and 337, IPC, has been registered. Back


Conman continues to escape police net
By Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 — The long arm of the law seems to have eluded a city resident who was declared a proclaimed offender in 1989 and has reportedly continued conning people over the years.

His shady activities would have gone unchecked but for the stand taken by Mrs Nandita Joshi, a resident of Chennai, who, irked by the challenge of the accused, “I have been evading the law with impunity, do whatever you can,” decided to bring him to book.

The person in question is one-time Sector 20 resident Rohit Kumar alias Santosh Kumar, now a resident of Australia. A frequent traveller to India, and UK, he often befriends fellow Indian passengers on the aeroplane and then offers to sell them land in and around Delhi at rock-bottom prices, citing urgent need for money.

Narrating her tale of woe, Mrs Joshi, who was in city to collect more facts about the accused, told TNS that she was taken in by the smooth talk and paid nearly Rs 1. 30 lakh for a plot in Gurgaon. She later learnt that the same house had been sold to other persons also.

But the road to get justice has been a long and arduous one with an indifferent police and little help from the British and Australian missions in New Delhi, she lamented.

“I have come all the way from Chennai, and over the past days dug out the record, including the order for the issuance of a proclamation dated April 19, 1989, from the then CJM’s court. I also met senior police officers who promised to look into the matter but nothing came out of it. The proclamation was issued in a case of preparing forged documents, cheating and conspiracy (FIR 365) registered at the central police station in 1988.

“I also brought to the notice of police officers in Delhi that he has somehow managed to prepare another passport in the name of Ravi Kumar Verma but to no avail. The stock answer from the office of the DCP (EOW), DCP (FRRO), DCP (CID), DCP (Central district) and the RPO is that since he lives in Australia and has committed no crime in Delhi, nothing can be done about it”.

The officers are also reported to have informed her that since the proclamation had been issued by a Chandigarh court, it was upto the Chandigarh Police to nab the accused. They did not offer to send the information to the police here. “Now that by you are pursuing the matter, the accused would come to know and he would go underground negating all her efforts”, they are reported to have said.

The reply from the officials at the British High Commission and the Australian High Commission was that they were grateful for the information but what action would be initiated could not be intimated to her.

Questioning the functioning of the police and other related departments, she said “Was the order of a court bound by state boundaries? Was the police of another state not bound to arrest an accused if a law-abiding citizen produced the order?.

“The question here is not about money but pursuing a matter to its logical end. Such cheats should be hounded and brought to book so that they do not target other people. Being a woman, the task for me has been compounded, but I will not rest till the needful is done”, she added.Back


Barriers pose traffic hazard
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 — The Information Collection Centre (ICC) barriers established by the State Excise and Taxation Department for the convenience of the traders, industrialists and truck operators carrying freight to and from Punjab are increasingly becoming a traffic hazard.

Located on the busy highways leading from Chandigarh and SAS Nagar to different destinations in Punjab, these centres at Lakhnour, Banur and Balongi daily witness traffic jams and mishaps. While the truck drivers and representatives of traders wait for their turn to get their documents checked, long queues of trucks lined up on both sides of the narrow roads hinder the smooth flow of traffic.

When the Tribune team visited the barrier at Banur, located on the intersection of the Chandigarh-Patiala highway and the Shambu-Landhran road, the scene there was of chaos. The width of the busy Chandigarh-Patiala road had virtually been reduced by half due to a haphazard parking of trucks. A mishap was averted when a truck driver tried to jump the queue. Officials said such scenes were regular at these centres.

Though two police personnel were on duty, regulating the movement of over 1,000 trucks passing daily through the barrier appeared to be too big a task for them. Enquires revealed that officials at the barriers had written to their higher authorities to widen the road upto a certain distance from the barrier. These widened sections could be used for parking trucks without hampering the traffic flow. Stopping of trucks for the collection of mining fee and octroi was also leading to traffic jams.

Besides this, no arrangement of lighting after the sunset poses danger to motorists. Haphazardly parked trucks on the road have caused accidents earlier. The barrier at Balongi on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway presented a similar scene.

Apart from causing harassment to the road users, these barriers are causing inconvenience to truck drivers and entrepreneurs. When the computers installed to download the information failed, the staff had to manually write it down, which wasted a lot of time.

Highlighting the problem faced by industrialists, the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) had urged the Excise and Taxation authorities to avoid stopping vehicles ferrying freight within the state. "It will ease traffic congestion at the barriers," said Mr S.S. Sandhu, President of the association. Shifting of these barriers to the inter-state border has also been sought by the association.Back


A miracle: tomatoes on potato plant!
From Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, Jan 31 — It's a miracle: Tomatoes on a potato plant! This unusual phenomenon was noticed by Mr Daljit Singh while he was spraying pesticides in his father Thakur Singh's potato fields at Gajipur village, near here.

"We had sown potato seed (S1), purchased from another farmer, on 2 acres. I noticed tomato-like berries on a plant but did not bother. However, as these grew in size and their number increased to five, we became curious. We plucked two and checked whether they were really tomatoes. Some experienced farmers were also consulted," says Daljit Singh.

"Tests regarding the taste, seeds in them and similarities with a tomato have been conducted. The results have been positive. The fruit is juicy, has seeds like a tomato but tastes sour. One difference is that the plant is much healthier than other potato plants. Though, it is the time to harvest the crop, we are waiting for the fruit to ripen," said Mr Thakur Singh.

The owner of the freak plant plans to preserve the "tomatoes and potatoes" for the next crop.

Scores of villagers and farmers have been visiting this farmhouse daily to have a look at this "freak" plant. No such case has ever been noticed, say farmers of the village.

Prof S. P. Khullar of the Department of Botany of Panjab University says that though both the plants are from similar families, it is a rare case.

The dictum Boya perh babool ka, aam kahan se hoye got reversed as "Boya perh babool ka, aur aam ho gaye," comment residents of the area.Back


Seminar on housing cooperatives
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 31 — The National Housing Bank and the National Cooperative Housing Federation of India will organise a seminar on housing cooperatives in the city on February 5.

Besides reviewing the follow-up action on the recommendations of the 12th National Congress of Housing Cooperatives, the seminar will discuss the difficulties being faced by apex cooperative housing federations and housing cooperatives in raising loans from various funding agencies, the role of housing cooperatives in the national housing and habitat policy and national agenda “Housing for all”, the role of funding agencies in financing housing cooperatives and the need for strengthening the apex federations to achieve the targets set for them.

According to Dr M.L. Khurana, Managing Director of the National Cooperative Housing Federation of India, the seminar will be inaugurated by Mr S.N. Sharma, Minister for Commercial Tax, Parliamentary Affairs and Law and Justice, of Madhya Pradesh and Chairman of the National Cooperative Housing Federation of India, Mr S.S. Chattopadhyaya, Secretary, Union Minister of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation will preside over the function, while Mr P.P. Vora, Chairman and Managing Director of the National Housing Bank will be the guest of honour.

He said that over 150 delegates from the Union Government, State governments, the Planning Commission, the RBI and several other institutions are likely to participate in the seminar.Back

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