Friday, February 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Current going against power project ?
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — The initial enthusiasm notwithstanding, the proposed 120-MW captive power generation unit at Kishengarh appears to be slipping out of the priority list of the Chandigarh Administration.

Though the Environment Impact Assessment report is expected either by the end of this month or early next month, the Administration does not appear to be very keen in going ahead with this Rs 400-crore project, which took off at a great speed less than two years ago following the visit of the then Union Power Minister, Mr Kumaramangalam, to the city and the high-level meeting he presided over at Punjab Raj Bhavan.

The initial or preliminary feasibility report was furnished by the NTPC after it was persuaded to conduct the study free of cost. Subsequently, the Environment Impact Assessment work was also assigned to the NTPC.

The Chandigarh Administration was, until recently, keen to set up a naptha-based captive power generation plant here with two units of 60-MW each. The preliminary modalities, including correspondence with the Railways for a "siding" at Kishengarh for the supply of naptha, clearance for the chimney of the plant from the Ministry of Defence and other ministries, including allotment of sufficient quantity of naptha for regular running of the power plant, were either completed or were in the process of being completed.

Of late, the Administration has realised that the cost of generation of power at its own plant would be on a much higher side than the rate at which surplus power was being made available by several surplus states, especially those in the Eastern Grid.

Investigations reveal that the cost of a unit of power would have been between Rs 6 and Rs 8 compared to the present availability rate of around Rs 2 per unit.

Some surplus states, including Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, have been offering surplus power to the Union Territory of Chandigarh at much cheaper rates or the global rates.

Investigations reveal some officials from the Union Power Ministry who visited the city recently expressed their doubts about the advisability of going ahead with the project because of the exorbitant cost of power generation.

Interaction with senior functionaries of the Engineering Department too indicates the "go slow" trend on the project.

In fact, some engineers it would work out much cheaper even in joint sector either with the government or the private sector. Further, they point out that in summer, Himachal Pradesh is surplus in power.

Some engineers, however, do not commit themselves about the feasibility of the project on economic grounds. A final decision, they maintain, would depend upon the preliminary report about the EIA is also submitted.

It may be recalled that the Chandigarh Administration has already earmarked a major portion of the 120 acres of acquired land at Kishengarh for this captive power generation plant.Back


Court to speed up cases of senior citizens
By Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Responding to a call given by the Chief Justice of India, Dr Adarsh Sein Anand, judicial officers at the Sector 17 District Courts have urged the 65 plus litigants to inform the court about the cases they are involved in for early disposal.

In the notices displayed outside almost all the courts, the judicial officers have asked the parties or their counsel to bring their cases to the court's notice by attaching a note regarding the plaintiff or the defendant's age on the plaint or the written statement.

The judicial officers have also asked the litigants to "file affidavits regarding their age so that such cases may be disposed of at an early date". Giving reasons, a notice outside the court of an Additional District and Sessions Judge reads: "The High Court has desired to dispose of the cases of persons and parties who are above 65 years of age and are involved in cases."

Calling for the evolution of a system for ensuring ''timely disposal'' of the pending ''matters'' involving ''older persons'', the Chief Justice of India had earlier requested the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Arun B. Saharya, to ''consider the desirability'' to ''identify and dispose of matters in which persons above 65 years of age are involved, on priority basis.''

In a letter to the High Court Chief Justice here, Dr Anand had written: ''... let us take all possible steps for the early disposal of the cases involving older persons so that the agony of the older persons is brought to an end. It would be a befitting gesture for the judicial system to respond in the International Year of Older Person.''

Emphasising on the fact that the 65 plus constituted almost 7 per cent of the population, Dr Anand had said: ''There are some older persons who are facing criminal charges and are languishing in jails as undertrial prisoners. The problem gets compounded by the inordinate delay in disposing of the matters of older persons in the courts and in many matters the litigant unfortunately dies even before the case is finally settled.''

Giving details of the pending cases, Dr Anand had stated: ''In India, there is a high incidence of litigation concerning property and inheritance, two most common issues in which elderly persons are generally involved apart from the landlord-tenant disputes. Besides property and inheritance matters, service matters, such as pensions and retiral benefits also concern the older people.''

Expressing concern over their condition, Dr Anand had asserted: ''At present, a large number of older persons are passing through an era of difficulties and hardship because the family which used to traditionally look after them, is no longer being able to do so.''

Requesting Chief Justice Saharya to ''examine the matter and consider the desirability of issuing the necessary instructions to the High Court registry as well as to the subordinate courts,'' Dr Justice Anand had written: ''So far as the Supreme Court is concerned, efforts are being made to identify the matters relating to older persons and get them disposed of on priority basis. I have already given the necessary instructions in this behalf to the registry of this court.''

Earlier, suggesting 1999 to be the ''year of action towards disposal of old matters'', Dr Anand had written, ''... after my assumption of the office of the Chief Justice of India, through my letter of December 22, 1998, addressed to all the Chief Justices, I had requested for the initiation of steps for early disposal of old matters, particularly those matters which were more than seven years old as on December 31, 1998.''Back


Bail pleas of doctor couple rejected
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — The anticipatory bail applications moved by a doctor couple, accused of causing death during abortion, were today rejected by the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr B.S. Bedi.

The two — Dr S. Javed Akhtar and Dr Nazhat Jamal Rani of Mani Majra — were apprehending arrest after an offence under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) was added on to the first information report registered against them on January 27.

A case for causing death by rash or negligent act, under Section 304-A of the IPC, was initially registered against them by the Chandigarh police. The two were arrested and subsequently granted bail. According to the prosecution, Balwinder Kaur had died while the abortion was being carried out.

Seeking the grant of anticipatory bail, the defence counsel had stated that custodial interrogation of the accused was not required for carrying out further investigation in the case. No useful purpose, counsel had stated, would be served by arresting the accused.

Counsel had added that Dr Javed Akhtar had been "running his own clinic" in Hallo Majra and no complaint had ever been received against him. Back


Bid to rob lawyer in Sector 24
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Three unidentified youths attempted to rob a city lawyer at gunpoint at his house in Sector 24-D here today.

Talking to TNS, Mr Zorawar Singh said he had exchanged Rs 50 denomination notes, totalling Rs 1. 55 lakh, from a bank in S A S Nagar. He started moving towards his residence on his scooter and was followed by the three Maruti-borne youths from the bank itself. The money was in one of the pockets of his coat.

He parked his scooter outside his house and was climbing the stairs when a car stopped and two men rushed towards him. While one of them pointed a long barrelled pistol at him and commanded him to hand over the money, the other stood on the road and kept a watch.The third kept the car engine running.

As I grappled with the robber, my family members rushed out after hearing the shouting. Some of our neighbours, too, came out, which unnerved the assailants and they sped away in their vehicle. The police was informed and a party arrived after about 10 minutes and recorded my statement.

The man who was threatening me was of medium height, fair, well-built and bearded. I could not see the number of the car but many in the locality said the registration number of the car was DL-3-CE-0044, Zorawar Singh said.

Mr Singh said he overheard one of the cops telling another that a car bearing the same number was parked at the Sector 22 police post.Back


Rain prolongs chilly conditions
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — The city and its surrounding areas received a heavy rainfall in the evening hours as winter rains prolonged the chilly conditions. While snow fall was reported from neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, the plains of Punjab and Haryana were also lashed by rain.

Intermittent spells of a light to moderate drizzle started in the wee hours today and continued throughout the day. The peak of the rainfall was a spell of heavy showers around 6.30 pm. This was the second spell of rain within the past one week. Once again residents were forced to pull out woollens, blowers and heaters. The rain — recorded at 2 mm till 5.30 p.m. also resulted in low attendance in offices.

The markets in the city were largely vacant as shopkeepers reported low sales. Long-route buses ran slower than usual, thus delaying passengers. The movement of vehicular traffic was also affected.

The rain made the day temperature drop to 16.8C. This was 5 degrees below normal for this time of the year. It was also 4 degrees less than yesterday. On the other hand, today’s minimum temperature — recorded at 9.2C — was 1 degree above normal.

The local meteorological office said that the rain had been caused due to western disturbances over Jammu and Kashmir adjoining Pakistan and aided by a lower pressure build-up over central Pakistan adjoining Rajasthan.

Met officials have predicted more rain tomorrow.Back


Stage set for mass marriages
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 10 — The stage is set for mass marriages which will be organised on February 13 at the Aggarwal Bhawan in Sector 16 and the arrangements are being given the final touches before the `baratis’ finally arrive.

Though there is joy in the camps of families preparing to get the brides home, there is an underlying sadness in the homes of the girls where preparations are on to part from them with happiness as the band plays.

Some 21 couples are expected to tie the knot when the big day for their families finally dawns and the Lions Club, Chandigarh Plaza, is at the helm of affairs managing the behind-the-scenes activities for the families.

They are geared to gift items worth Rs 1,2000 to each couple after the wedding is solemnised. Their gift comprises seven suits for the girl, two suits for the boy, some jewellery items and trunks and beddings along with a few household items, besides utensils. Some standby arrangements have been made in case more couples turn up to get married on the occasion.

The couples, mostly belonging to Indira colony, Rajiv colony and surrounding villages, have been chosen after shortlisting them from among the many who had approached the club for making arrangements for their marriage. Among them four couples from Morinda will also get married at the venue.

The President of the club, Mr Sushil Goel, said that this was an annual affair and almost everything was ready. He informed that the applications from couples from weaker sections had been invited through pamphlets and posters which were distributed in villages and colonies through the sarpanches. Then, cases were checked and verified following which arrangements were made.

“At times we get applications from couples who are minors posing to be of marriageable age. To avoid legal complications, verification is a must.

Also, sometimes we get couples who are already married and come to get remarried to avail themselves of the benefits and pocket the gifts,’’ Mr Goel added.

He informed that previous attempts at organising mass marriages had gone off very well but at times the ‘barats’ accompanying the groom became unmanageable. However, last time they put a restriction on the number of people accompanying the barat but it did not work since it was ``rude’’ to turn them back after they had come to the venue in all their finery.

For the time being, the club members are keeping their fingers crossed and putting in last bit efforts to make the marriages a success and the couples are looking forward to the great day.Back


Rain showers misery in villages
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Life in the peripheral areas was affected due to intermittent showers over the past two days.

The water accumulated in streets in the absence of a proper drainage system, has led to resentment among residents of Ratwara, Salamatpur, Siswan, Dairi and other villages.

Open drains are choked due to plastic bags and other waste material dumped in them. Residents complained of difficulty in moving around due to stagnant water. Mrs Pushpa Rani, a resident of Mullanpur, said a big pool of slush was formed due to the poor drainage system in the village. Usually, the streets and lanes flooded even after a mild shower.

Villagers complain that domestic waste and dung lying in the open emit foul smell. They blame the panchayats for the ill-maintained garbage disposal system. The villagers apprehend break of an epidemic if adequate steps are not taken.

A number of villagers blame the district administration and the panchayats for ignoring the health and sanitation needs of the rural population. Back


Ru-Ba-Ru with candidates
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 10 — An interaction with the Independent candidates in the fray for the Kalka Assembly seat, titled Ru-Ba-Ru, was organised by the District Press Club, here today. The candidates of the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Haryana Vikas Party, however, sent their representatives for the programme.

Replying to a question, Mr Jagdeep Chaudhary, candidate of the Bahujan Samaj Party, said the Independents were likely to get over 12 seats in the forthcoming elections. Back


Congress panel submits memorandum
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Members of the Block Congress Committee, Mani Majra, today submitted a memorandum of the demands of the people of the town to the UT Administrator.

A delegation led by Mr Surinder Singh and Mr Giri Raj Sharma, President and General Secretary of the unit, respectively, highlighted their long-pending demands.

The issues highlighted include rolling back the water tariff, shifting of some of the earlier offices to the civic premises in Mani Majra, reservation of jobs in the administration for domiciles of UT only, rehabilitation of oustees whose land was acquired for the expansion of the city and the provision of playground and stadium in pocket number 7.

The early disposal of all the projects of public works, acquisition partition, of the shamlat land of the town, issuance of Schedule Caste certificates and no-objection certificates in the unacquired abadi areas, dairy plots for owners of milch cattle and electricity supply are their other demands. Back


Two flee with scooter
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Two unidentified youths fled with the scooter of an employee of a Sector 20 firm. The scooter had Rs 20,000 in its dicky.

According to police sources, Mr Chain Singh reported that he was stopped by two persons near B.Ed. College and asked him for a spanner for opening the plug. When he refused, they assaulted him and sped away on his scooter (CHOIX 4682), leaving theirs behind.

A case under Sections 382 and 34, IPC, has been registered.

Whisky bottles seized: The police has arrested two persons and seized 24 bottles of whisky from them.

While Mohan Lal, a resident of Milk Colony, was arrested from near the bus stand, Amrik Singh was arrested from Sector 21. Both were carrying 12 bottles each.

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


Liquor seized: The police seized 2,187 pouches of country liquor, 108 bottles of rum and 48 bottles of wine from the possession of Gurcharan Singh, driver of car (CH-01-D 3544), on the Paploha-Kalka road. The liquor was seized by SI Mukesh Kumar during a routine check of the vehicles. The driver has been arrested and booked under the Excise Act.

Killed: A 30-year-old man, Hari Ram, was killed when a school bus ran over him near a school in Sector 6. The deceased, reportedly, belonged to Bihar. Driver of the bus, Ved Prakash, has been arrested by the local police and a case under Section 304-A of the IPC has been registered against him.


Cases unsolved: The SAS Nagar police has been unable to solve three cases of theft which occurred on the night of February 4 and 5 in Industrial Area Phase VII. The owners alleged that the air-conditioner compressors, sanitary goods and machine parts were among other goods which were stolen. They alleged that despite the fact that they approached the local police, it did not even register the case.

JE caught: Sukhpal Singh, a JE of PUDA, was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe from a Phase XI resident here today. He had gone there for earmarking a plot of land and had demanded a sum for doing so. Details could not be ascertained, sources said.Back


3 killed in mishap
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Feb 10 — Three persons were killed, while another was seriously injured when a Tata Sumo struck a tree near Daon Majra village on the Kharar-Kurali road today.

According to the police, the incident occurred when the Tata Sumo (PB-0-2708), which was coming from Delhi to Nawanshahr, hit a tree on one side of the road. Two persons — Harinder Singh and Kamaljit Singh — died on the spot, while Gurpreet Singh was rushed to Civil Hospital, Kharar, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Dr S.S. Dhanoa, SMO, Civil Hospital, Kharar, said another person Bhupinder Singh was seriously injured and had been sent to the PGI, Chandigarh.

All persons belonged to Nawanshahr area and were returning after dropping someone in Delhi. The bodies were handed over to the relatives of the victims after post-mortem at the local Civil Hospital.Back


Youths take away gold chains
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Three car-borne persons, reportedly, fled away after cheating a Sector 44 goldsmith of three gold chains late yesterday evening.

According to Mr Mohinder Singh, proprietor of Ridhi Jewellers, three clean-shaven youths, between the ages of 22 and 28, in a white Maruti car, came to his shop at about 6.30 pm and asked him to show them some jewellery. They were particularly interested in gold chains and asked him to show the range available. He showed them five chains arranged in an exhibition tray and enquired whether they wanted to examine anything else.

After consulting each other, one of them said they wanted to buy a couple but would make the payment partly in cash and partly in old gold ornaments. He refused and said it was not their policy to accept old gold jewellery and would only accept cash.

At this point, one of them told his companion to bring the money from the car. While one of them waited in the shop, two went to the car and sat in it. Suddenly, the person in the shop picked up the tray and dashed outside. He crashed through the main glass door and fell outside. While two chains fell outside, he was able to get away with three.

The accused managed escape. The persons in the area were able to get only 2960, last digits on the registration plate of the car, clearly.

The three were reportedly not armed and did not threaten the shopkeeper. Meanwhile, the police in the city and personnel manning all exits have been alerted and further investigations are on.Back


Power theft rife in colony
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Even after more than two years of allotment of dwelling units by the Chandigarh Administration at Mauli Jagran, a majority of beneficiaries continue to pilfer power from the distribution system of the Union Territory Electricity Department.

Yesterday when the enforcement wing of the Engineering Department went to Mauli Jagran on a special “kundi removal mission”, it had more than 3,000 “illegal kundi connections” to remove.

Out of the 2800 dwelling units allotted by the Administration more than two years ago, only 250-odd allottees have got regular power connections. The rest had been getting “illegal supply of power by use of kundis”

The enforcement, team led by Mr V.P. Dhingra, Executive Engineer, was also accompanied by a contingent of the police.

During the “kundi removal action”, residents of the Mauli Jagran complex and nearby areas and some local leaders were urged to come forward for regular electricity connections, failing which strict action would be taken against the defaulters.

Mr Dhingra said Mauli Jagran Rehabilitation Colony was a fully electrified colony and getting a regular power connection was no problem there.Back


Police officers to get special tasks
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — All officers, including the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), will be assigned special tasks in addition to their present assignments in various parts of the city from Saturday.

During this, the officers will be assigned particular tasks they would be carry out for durations up to four hours in various parts of the city. This is being done as it was being felt in the police circles that some of the officers were overworked while others were under-utilised.

Commenting on the new scheme, Mr Parag Jain, SSP, said this was being done not only to increase the visibility of the force but also to ensure that it had a deterrent effect on the criminals and anti-social elements. Another factor was that the men at the lower rungs felt that the officers were not spending enough time in the field.

The officers, the SDPOs, DSPs, SHOs and Inspectors, will be given areas and specific tasks that they would carry out in various sectors, villages and colonies. The areas to be covered included checking of vehicles, special nakas, drunken driving, overspeeding, driving on high beam and other related offences, he added.

This process would work both ways. The officers would be utilised for making good the shortcomings of the local set-up while at the same time the complacency that normally crept in the force, once the subordinates felt that there were no checks, would be stemmed.

Mr Jain said the force was doing a good job and that a revamped PCR was producing good results. More schemes for the service of the people would be drawn up since there was always scope for improvement, he added. Back


Media group men hold protest
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Members of the Business India Group Employees Union protested outside Parade Ground in Sector 17 while as the Outside Inside mega show was being inaugurated by the UT Adviser here today.

The protesters, who arrived from Delhi in the morning, alleged that they were bearing the brunt of serious anti-labour practices followed by the management of the TVI news channel of the Business India Group, which was hosting the show.

Mr Anil Chamadia, General Secretary of the union, alleged that the management had defaulted by not paying salaries to the staff for more than a year. Besides this, the company was also in trouble for alleged income tax violations, bungling in the PF of its employees and not depositing the ESI to the authorities.

The financial hardship was so severe that five members had expired due to it so far, he alleged.

Mr Chamadia said they had requested the Adviser not to inaugurate the show but by doing so, she had, apparently, joined hands with a media group which had made a mockery of all the labour laws of the land. Back


Benefits sought for industry
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Various industries’ associations, while demanding the abolition of first-point sales tax on the items used only by the industry, have urged the Chandigarh Administration to grant certain benefits to the industry.

Talking to TNS, industrialists said that though the Chandigarh Administration had imposed first -point sales tax on several domestic items, by mistake certain items, which were only used by the industry such as corrugated paper and boxes, industrial paints, power coating paints, industrial paints, hardware goods and oxygen gas were also taxed at the first point.

In Chandigarh, the raw materials come from outside and the local industry was already paying 4 per cent CST, transportation and other costs, which raised the input cost and this made the local industry uncompetitive as compared to the industry in the neighbouring states.

In a representation to the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, the Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, the Industries Association of Chandigarh, the Federation of Small Scale Industries and the Chandigarh Industries Association, urged him to abolish the first-point tax since this will make the local industry sick and lead to unemployment.

The secretary of the Federation of Small Scale Industries, Mr Rajeev Gupta, said though there was first-point tax on some of these items in the neighbouring states, their inputs cost was not affected since the raw material was available in abundance in these states, and the industrialists were not required to pay CST like their local counterparts.

Moreover, the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal give various incentives such as tax holidays from seven to 10 years of the new industry, subsidy and interest-free loans. Chandigarh may not be an industrial town, but at the same time it was the duty of the Administration to see the industrial units already working did not become sick, he added.

The association also urged the administration to rationalise the sales tax structures , which were hampering the growth of the local industries. Repeated representations in this regard over the years have failed to improve the things, the associations added.

While demanding the deletion of notification dated June 1,1998, they demanded the exemption of electrical and electronic goods from the first stage.

Adoption of the Punjab pattern in respect of ST XXII forms and summary assessment cases limit on the Delhi pattern were other demands highlighted by the industrialists.Back

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