Monday, February 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Man shot at, robbed of 3.35 lakh in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 13 — Barely 48 hours after a servant was found murdered in Sector 4 here, a commission agent was seriously injured and robbed of Rs 3,35,000 this morning in Sector 9 in the town when two armed assailants fired three shots, one of which hit him in a thigh, before escaping with the booty in a white Maruti car. The incident took place at a stone's throw from the house of the victim.

Recalling the incident, Mr G.R. Hans, admitted to the General Hospital in Sector 6, said, "I got out of the house at around 6:50 a.m. with the cash to the tune of Rs 3.35 lakh. No sooner had I crossed a couple of houses in my lane than two persons with muffled faces jumped out of nowhere in front of my scooter. One of them pushed me from the scooter and I fell.''

"A tussle with the two followed, whereby they tried to snatch my bag containing the money.When I resisted and did not give the bag, one of them fired two shots in the air. Meanwhile, I managed to unmask one of the two robbers and caught him by the scruff of his neck. The second one, seeing this, fired at me. Following the firing, the two collected their bag and sped away in their Maruti, which was parked by the side of the road,'' he said. He could recall the number plate of the car as "CH and nothing beyond that".

From the robbery spot, a few yards away from his house, Mr Hans limped back to his residence and informed the police. He said the two men seemed to be around 25 years of age and were positioned in the two adjacent vacant plots. When they saw the approaching scooter, they jumped in front it, forcing him to apply the brakes. He said it seemed to be a pre-planned move and somebody was in the know that he was scheduled to make the payment that particular day.

Interestingly, the victim's driver had taken leave for a day on February 9 to attend a marriage and was scheduled to come back the next day. However, he failed to return that day and the family has received no news of him since then.

According to Mr Hans, as his driver used to take him to all his engagements, he was aware that all business parties were made payments on Sunday. He was also aware that in the absence of the driver, Mr Hans was left with little choice but to take the payment on his scooter since he did not know how to drive car, family members added.

A police party has been despatched to the village of the driver who had been working for Mr Hans for nearly three years. Forensic experts also visited the spot this morning.

The incident comes within two months of a robbery in Sector 17 where four persons robbed a man of Rs 2.75 lakh outside his residence on his return from the bank with the payment. Also, two teachers had earlier been robbed of Rs 1.10 lakh in broad daylight.Back


Decision on British Council Library stirs hornet's nest
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — Jinxed more than once since the inception of its idea nearly five years ago, the British Council Library, though approved to be set up on the top floor and terrace of the City Museum for the time being, would not be the same as planned earlier.

The latest decision of the Chandigarh Administration, the second in three months, has not only stirred a hornet's nest over the proposed alterations in the "prestigious City Museum building", but has also come as a disappointment to those who expected a cybercafe, a visa counselling centre and tourist information centre also to come up as a part of the British Council Library.

The Administration has made it clear that it was not aware of any proposal of the UK Government for opening a visa office in the city. Even the position about opening of tourist, business and education information centre and cybercafe as part of the library has not been clarified by the Administration.

British Council officials had maintained that the library, would not only be the latest state-of-art one equipped with the latest information technology but would also house a Nat Puri Information Centre (an NRE of Indian origin belonging to the adjoining Mullanpur village who has agreed to be the main sponsor of the project), a tourist, business and education information centre and visa counselling office.

Some of the architects, including those who had designed and then subsequently supervised the construction of this prestigious building in the cultural belt of the Leisure Valley after death of Le Corbusier, feel "deeply concerned" over the allotment of the top floor and terrace of this "unique City Museum Complex" for library.

Architects maintain that though all prestigious buildings, including those of the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Vidhan Sabha Complex and Gandhi Bhavan are not under frame control, it does not mean that their designs or concepts could be tampered with.

"It would be wrong and unfortunate to set such a precedent," they felt, hoping that wiser counsel would prevail and the Administration would revert to its original plan of allotting the unused portion of the Museum of Evolution of Life to the library.

It may be recalled that after hanging fire for some years, the project was finally cleared in 1998 when the Administration decided to allot a portion of the Government Museum and Art Gallery complex for the proposed library and allied centres.

The new Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J. F. R. Jacob (retd), however, objected to allowing of a visa or passport office in the serene and peaceful environs of the museum complex. Instead, some alternative sites, including one in Sector 34 and another in Punjab Engineering College, were suggested to the visiting British Council officials.

Investigations reveal that after the Administration had reversed its earlier decision, there were pressures from various levels, including some union ministries, to honour the commitment made earlier. It is how, the library project got back to the museum complex.

The City Museum was inaugurated only two years ago by the then prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, after certain structural changes were made in the complex without tampering with its original concept and design. It became the first City Museum of the country.

Delhi has decided to set up a similar City Museum and engaged the services of a top architect to plan the City Museum Complex in the Union Capital.

Chandigarh Tribune sent a questionnaire to the Administration on issues raised by various architects, planners and others over its latest decision. The Administration maintained that Museum of Evolution of Life was a "heritage building" while the City Museum was constructed later as an Administrative Block-cum-Temporary Exhibition Hall and Child Art Gallery. Only in 1997, it was converted into a City Museum by making suitable modifications.

The Administration has been recently offered a number of valuable Sikh historical manuscripts and Indian miniature paintings. Besides, there is also a proposal to set up a research centre for the study of Sikh Art and Culture in the Museum of Evolution of Life.

Further, the area being offered in City Museum was much less than that of Museum of Evolution of Life.

The Administration has also justified the glazing of the terrace above parapets.

The CITCO canteen, which runs irregularly on the terrace of the City Museum would be shifted to the original canteen building of the Government Museum and Art Gallery complex.

The Administration, however, evaded a reply to the question whether a portion of the second floor would be given to the British Council for cybercafe or not. Instead it maintained that the two lower floors by readjustment of the displayed exhibits would continue to function as City Museum. In reply to another question, it said that the first floor of the City Museum, which has a few exhibits (8 maps) and a part of the terrace where only a cafeteria is presently functioning, could be well utilised for the British Council Library as a temporary measure.Back


What architects have to say?
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — Some top architects who had been associated with the planning and development of Chandigarh, have expressed concern over the decision of the Chandigarh Administration to enclose the terrace of the top floor of City Museum, while allowing its use for British Council Library, though temporarily.

They said any alterations in such important buildings would set a bad precedent and should be avoided. They also said the opinion of professionals, especially architects, should be given due weightage while taking a decision in matters related to designing and architectural controls.

They said almost all important buildings, including Gandhi Bhavan in Panjab University, were not under frame control, but, it did not mean that such buildings could be tampered with.

"The British Council Library would be welcome addition to the city," said Mr M.N. Sharma, the first Indian Chief Architect of Chandigarh. He hoped that the administration would make genuine efforts to help the library come up.

"I understand that, once, an offer was made to accommodate the library in the left wing of the Museum of Evolution of Life which was acceptable to the representatives of the British Council. The proposal was, however, overruled by the new Chandigarh Administrator, perhaps because it would violate the original concept of the museum and invaluable collections would have to be stored somewhere else."

"The administration, as I learnt from press reports, has offered the use of upper floor and the terrace of City Museum for the purpose. City Museum is one of the most prestigious buildings located in Leisure Valley along with other museums. I was responsible with Le Corbusier and my colleagues for the design and building of these three museums. My concern is, therefore, genuine."

"The most dominant feature of City Museum is its roof with divergent angles covering the terrace which provides ideal setting in a serene atmosphere for informal discussion over a cup of coffee after the tour of the museum. If the terrace is enclosed for other purposes, it will not only ruin the basic character of the building and its interiors, but will also set a bad precedent. Ironically, the administration has been objecting to the tampering with the Corbusier's Civil Secretariat building by covering of verandas with glazing."

"Chandigarh is a city of special character and nothing should be done to destroy its concept or alter architectural quality of its prestigious buildings. As in the case of all professions, due consideration should be given to the views of the experts on technical matters. Till the time the library is housed in its own building, it can be accommodated in the left wing of the Museum of the Evolution of Life with its dignified and independent entrance and an ample parking area. The exhibits of the left wing can be displayed in the vast vacant spaces of the main museum around cyloroma," Mr M.N. Sharma said.

"City Museum has its own identity and I feel strongly about a portion of it being allowed for setting up of a library," said Mr S.D. Sharma, who designed this building.

"The shape of this building was conceived by Le Corbusier. In Switzerland, there is a steel structure of the same design. In the master plan, Le Corbusier had planned a culture belt. After his death, the idea was developed though the actual building was slightly different from the design concept of Le Corbusier. The ramp and the basement were the additional features. When City Museum was designed, Mr M.N. Sharma was the Chief Architect."

"Though there was a long delay in setting up country's first City Museum, some alterations and changes were made before the then Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, inaugurated it. It is a small building which is fully occupied. For its future expansion, it will need some more space," said Mr Sharma.

"The British Council Library issue was well settled after allotting it some unutilised portion of the Museum of Evolution (Science). The library and the Museum of Science would have made a good combination."

"The concept of pavilion would be the worst hit. The decision to glaze this open pavilion is disturbing. It has been a self-contained building. Its separate identity would disintegrate after the glazing job."

"Further, once you establish any library of a foreign mission in the country, certain restrictions are bound to come with it because of security reasons, which I think will not go well with a place like a museum," said Mr Sharma.

Some other senior architects, who refused to be identified, said City Museum was for all practical purposes a "heritage building" and no tampering with its design and concept, which broadly defy the building bylaws and controls, should be allowed.

"This is not a multipurpose stadium, a hotel or a guest house the use of which is determined by whims and fancies of the owners. Such change of land use is not allowed even in case of hotels, guest houses or restaurants, even if they do not come under frame control or other bylaws," they said.Back


What the Administration has to say?

Q1.What prompted the Chandigarh Administration to reverse its earlier decision of not allowing any library/visa office/tourism counter/cyber cafe, etc, in the peaceful environs of the Government Museum and Art Gallery complex ?

Ans: In 1995, the British Council Division of the British High Commission sent a proposal for opening a library in Chandigarh. After discussions with their representative, it was initially proposed to set up a library in the left wing of the Museum of Evolution of Life. However, in August 1996, information was received from the British Council that they have decided to shelve the proposal on account of budgetary constraint.

In December 1998, the British Council Division again informed the Administration about revival of their proposal and that the formal approval from the Government of India is being sought for the same.

The Museum of Evolution of Life is a heritage building, and was constructed to house the archaeological findings excavated from Chandigarh and surrounding areas.The City Museum on the other hand was constructed at a later date to house the Administrative Block-cum-Temporary Exhibition Hall and Child Art Gallery. It was only in 1997 that it was converted into a City Museum by making suitable modifications.

The Chandigarh Administration has proposals to increase the number of exhibits in the Museum of Evolution of Life. It has recently been offered a number of valuable Sikh historic manuscripts and Indian miniature paintings.

There is also a proposal to set up a research centre for the study of Sikh art and culture. Additionally, efforts are being made to obtain displays of Sanghol Sculptures on loan. Keeping in view these facts and existing utilisation of space in the Museum Complex for important Administrative offices also, it was felt that there is a need for giving alternative accommodation for the British Council Library in Chandigarh.

Since the Administration was also keen to honour its commitments to have the British Council Library in Chandigarh, efforts were made to locate a suitable alternative accommodation. After mutual consultations, it was agreed that there is adequate space in the City Museum to house the British Council Library as a temporary measure by slight re-adjustment of exhibits of the City Museum.Thus, it is proposed that the first floor of the City Museum, which has a few exhibits (8 maps) and a part of Terrace where only a cafeteria is presently functioning, could be well utilised for the British Council Library as a temporary measure. It may further be pointed out that the total covered area in the proposal pertaining to the space for use by the British Council in the Museum of Evolution of Life was 5535 ft whereas in the present proposal in respect of the City Museum, the covered area will be less, being 4400 ft. the City Museum will continue to function at the two lower floors. It is expected that the British Council will have its own building in due course.

The Administration is not aware of any proposal of the UK Government for opening a visa office in Chandigarh.

Q 2. and 3. Was there any dissent/protest from some of the former architects, who worked with Le Corbusier or those who designed the City Museum Complex, over the decision of the Administration to go for steel and glass glazing of the top floor of the City Museum ? If not, who all (architects) supported the decision for this change ?

Ans: The Administration is not aware of any dissent/protest from any architect so far, nor has it received any representation against housing the British Council Library in City Museum Complex.

Q4. What happens to the the earlier decision of the Administration to use floor II of the City Museum for exhibiting the present and the future of the City ? Will a portion of the floor be given to the British Council for setting up Cyber Cafe ?

Ans : This point has been replied to in Answer 1 above. It is reiterated that this is only a temporary arrangement and the City Museum would continue to function in the two lower floors by readjustment of the displayed exhibits and no portion of the two lower lower floors is being given to the British Council.

Q 5 and 6 . Do the building bylaws permit glazing of an open space as is being done on the the top floor of the City Museum Complex ? Have some reservations been expressed over the tampering with the original design and concept of the City Museum Building ? If yes, what has the Administration to say on this?

Ans: This building is not governed by an architect control and there are no limitations/ restrictions for making changes in the building. This building was initially constructed as an Administrative Block-cum-Temporary Exhibition Hall and Child Art Gallery. Structural changes were also made in this building when it was converted into a City Museum.

Since a part of the terrace floor is proposed to be used for the British Council Library, only recessed glazing will be provided above the parapets so that transparency through the structure is not disturbed. As such these changes will not affect the aesthetics of the building.

The original design and concept of the City Museum is not being changed. Therefore, there is no question of any reservation being expressed regarding the same.Back


Special fee imposed
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — At the fag end of the current academic session of Panjab University, colleges have been asked to deposit special fees for the College Dean Development office. The fee was approved by the Syndicate early last year.

The Dean College Office has demanded money retrospectively from the date underlined for implementation of the order, i.e May1, 1999. Each student will have to deposit Rs 10 extra.

The Dean College letter says that two letters had been issued by the office in this regard earlier: one in June 1999 and another in August.

"The list of fees and funds provides for a charge of Rs 10 per student per annum towards college development fees. On checking from the fees section, it has been informed that amount on account of this fee had not been received", an official letter says.

The office asks that fee with effect from May 1, 1999, be remitted for the academic session 1999-2000. The amount is to be sent in the form of a demand draft drawn in favour of the Registrar of the university.

College principals have, however, expressed lack of information on this front. Dr A. C. Vaid, Principal of the local GGDSD College, said he had attended the official meeting where the charge was proposed. There seems to be a lack of communication in the notices to the colleges.

Mr R. C. Jeewan, Principal of DAV College, said that it would be difficult to collect fee from students at such a late time. The proposal could be implemented from the forthcoming session.

However, there was hardly any protest against the university proposal. The fee was a part of needs of the office in handling the college issues at the university level which had the potential of emerging as centre for good overall exposure.

The College Development Council head authority, Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, said that the council proposed to organise a national-level seminar and also planned to publish a CDC report bulletin in March. Mentioning the 'most urgent' matter, he said that these activities would be possible only if the amount of the special fee was available to the university immediately.

There were reservations from a section of principals against the special fee when the idea came for deliberations last year at a senior level before final approval.Back


200 dogs compete for top slots
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — A Great Dane of Mr Harinder Singh Aulakh was adjudged the best dog of Chandigarh at the 28th and 29th All-Breed Championship held in Leisure Valley here today.

A pomeranian owned by Col A. S. Chaudhary and a Doberman owned by Mr S. K. Ratti were the other city canines chosen as best in their category awards.

The championship attracted more than 200 dogs of different shapes, sizes and breeds. During the break, a 'dog fashion show' was also organised.

The judging was done by Mr Tan Oo Hock of Malaysia, and Mr R. Pandey from Allahabad.

Dogs from new breeds like Miniature Pinscher, Pekinese, Poodle Standard, French Bull Dog, Welsh Corgi, St Bernard, Neapolitan and Beagle were among the participants.

The Adviser to the Administrator, Mrs Vineeta Rai, gave away the prizes. A special running trophy was donated by Ms Ranjeet Sandhu.

The following are the results :

28th All-Breed Championship : Best in show : German Shepherd Dog (Mr Abdulla Noori, Delhi). 2nd best : Great Dane (Mr Vidya Rattan, Meerut); 3rd best: Boxer (Mr Anoop Dhawan, Delhi); 4th best: Retriever Golden (Mr Vimal Sareen, Ambala Cantt); 5th best: Dachshund Smooth Haired (Mr Rishi Chaourisia); 6th best: Lhasa Apso (Mrs Mamta Khanna, Delhi); 7th best: German Shepherd Dog (Mr Iqbal Singh Dhillon, Jalandhar); 8th best: Cocker Spaniel (Mr N.S. Aujla); Best in Show Breed in India: Boxer; Best Puppy in show: Lhasa Apso.

29th All Breed Championship: Best in show: German Shepherd Dog (Mr Abdulla Noori, Delhi); 2nd Best in show: German Shepherd Dog (Mr Iqbal Singh Dhillon, Jalandhar); 3rd best: Great Dane (Mr Vidya Rattan); 4th best: Boxer Visions Boxer Umpire (Mr Ajit Singh, Jalandhar); 5th best: Pomeranian (Col A.S. Chaudhary); 6th best: Dachshund (Mr Rishi Chourasia): 7th best: Dalmatian (Dr APS Mangat); 8th best: Doberman (Mr SK Ratti). Best in Show Bred i India: German Shepherd Dog (Mr Iqbal Singh Dhillon); Best Puppy in Show: Lhasa Apso (Mrs Mamta Khanna).Back


Club holds mass marriages
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 13 — Twelve couples tied the knot at mass marriages organised by the Lions Club Chandigarh Plaza at Aggarwal Bhavan in Sector 16, here today.

These marriages were significant for members of poor families who said they could ill-afford organising such a function. While the baratis came in rickshaws and on bicycles along with the grooms, the band arranged by the organisers provided much excitement. They danced and made merry before entering the bhavan where marriages were solemnised.

The baratis were escorted inside by the organisers where the jaimala was held. Following this, three priests, a pandit, a granthi and a qazi, began the ceremonies on different floors of the bhavan. While the Hindu marriage ceremonies were held outside, those of the Sikhs were held on the first floor of the bhavan, while in a corner, a Muslim couple took their vows.

Once the marriages were solemnised, the kin of the brides and grooms were served lunch. After this, they were led to a hall which had all the items to be given to each couple lined up inside. These comprised beddings, utensils and other household items.

A former International Director of the club, Mr Dennis Creyvenstven, presided over the ceremonies at the venue. He spent some time at each ceremony.

The organisers said four couples had informed them of their inability to make it to the venue since they did not want to get married on a 13th. Also, there was panic among the baratis when a gas leakage was reported and a small fire was seen. However, it was brought under control in a few minutes by the organisers.

After the ceremony, Mr Creyvenstven, while talking to the members of the organisation, stressed the need for addressing the problem of AIDS. He said the branches of the organisation had taken up the issue on a priority basis.

He said the second problem which needed immediate attention was that of drugs which were ruining the lives of unwary youngsters. "South Africa has become the house of drug-peddlers and drugs from all over the world were coming into the country from where these were being supplied onward,'' he said.Back


Jhuggis mushroom on private land
From Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, Feb 13 — Thousands of unauthorised jhuggis have mushroomed on private land of Lohgarh village for the past five years. The jhuggis have spread rapidly till Bishangarh village, within one kilometre.

Mushrooming of jhuggis on this land of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat has not only increased the crime rate but has also added to the filth and stench in the area. Nauseating stench of urine and lavatory fills the nostrils as one passes through this area. Jhuggi-dwellers use the space for answering nature's call. It has become a health hazard for them as well as the nearby residents.

Moreover, the jhuggi-dwellers are getting electricity through kundi connections from a main power line passing overhead. They are pilfering electricity right under the nose of the Punjab State Electricity Board authorities at Zirakpur, causing a revenue loss to the board.

The congested jhuggis have become hideouts for criminals. Most cases of gambling, theft, creating nuisance at public places, smuggling liquor and other criminal activities have been registered against the jhuggi-dwellers, according to the police records.

According to Mr Gurnam Singh, a tubewell engineer, earlier, some migrant labourers used to set-up jhuggis for a short period before shifting to other places. This was ignored by landlords always. The jhuggi-dwellers took advantage of the situation and decided to stay here permanently. From about 10 jhuggis here on private land about 15 years ago, the number had risen to hundreds now, he said.

Mr Manmohan Singh, a resident of Dyalpura village, said the jhuggi-dwellers have encroached upon acres of land and now claim it to be theirs. They even pelted stones on rightful owners whenever they asked them to vacate the land. They have even approached a court for stay orders.

Some of them have even raised their jhuggis just adjacent to Government Primary School, Bishangarh. The dwellers often fight among themselves to cause inconvenience to students and teachers.

Mr S.S. Sidhu, SDM, said since the jhuggis had come up on private land, the matter was between landlords and jhuggi dwellers. He, however, said proper security would be provided to owners while they tried to get the land vacated, provided they had orders from a court.

‘‘The Nagar Panchayat will not tolerate any jhuggi on its land. Those which have mushroomed here will be demolished. This matter should be taken seriously,’’ said Mr Surjit Singh, Administrator of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat.Back


Anti-Anandgarh panel to meet CM
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Feb 13 — The Anandgarh Hatao Sanjhi Sangharsh Committee, which has been formed by the residents of 28 villages of Kharar block to oppose the setting up of the new city of Anandgarh, has decided to meet the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, soon before finalising any agitation against the proposal of the government.

According to a press note issued here on Friday by Mr Jagjivan Lal, Vice-President, and Mr Jagtar Singh, Press Secretary, the committee members have visited all 28 villages to know the sentiments of the people and their suggestions. According to the press note, it was suggested by the villagers that the committee should meet the Chief Minister and request him to drop the plan of the new city. The press note said that if Mr Badal would not accept the demand of the committee, then the committee would formulate a plan to start an agitation against the city.Back


Nice time for senior citizens
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — It was a day for fun and laughter for senior citizens of the city who participated in a picnic organised by the Rotaract Club, Chandigarh, near the grounds of the Rotary Vocational Centre, Sector 18, here today.

A total of 265 citizens above 60 years, men and women, played games, shared anecdotes and sang and danced to enjoy the picnic organised by young student-members of the club. Ms Malini Sarin, President of the club, said, "This function is the fifth in the series, where the idea is to give some space to senior citizens to enjoy themselves and to involve youngsters in helping them out to do so." Mr Vivek Sood, Secretary of the club, said such picnics gave a chance to senior citizens to display their talent and put some interesting moments in their life.

The day began with the senior citizens getting together to play musical games and games like tambola. There were times when the excitement level peaked to such great heights that the senior citizens could be seen pleading like children with organisers about who had won and who had not.

They were regaled with Punjabi and Hindi numbers by Kanwalroop Dhillon, in charge of entertainment. Some senior citizens were so swayed by her songs that they sang along with the singer and danced.

The senior citizens also presented several items. Among those who came up on the stage included Lieut-Col J.C. Kapoor (retd), who recited his Urdu poems, Mr S.S. Sethi, who narrated jokes and anecdotes, and Mr Bhupinder Singh, who sang old Hindi numbers. Songs were also presented by Mrs and Mr Chopra, followed by Ms Prabha, a 76-year-old former radio artiste. Mr Ravi Raj Sharma and Mr Arjun Singh sang ghazals.

This was followed by lunch and a cake-cutting ceremony by the 93-year-old Mr Jamuna Das of Sector 15, the oldest senior citizen present. The buoyant mood did not go down after lunch and some senior citizens could be seen trying hard to win either the hoopla game or the throw-ball-at-cans game.Back


Advisory Council reconstituted

THE Administrator’s Advisory Council has been reconstituted. The previous council had last met in January last year. Since then none of various Advisory Committees of the Chandigarh Administration has held a meeting.

Included in the newly constituted Administrator’s Advisory Council are sitting MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, besides three of former MPs from the city — Mr Satya Pal Jain, Mr Harmohan Dhawan and Mr Jagan Nath Kaushal — the Presidents of the local units of Congress (Mr Kulbhushan Gupta, acting President, as no one has been appointed President after Mr Venod Sharma quit), Mr Dharam Pal Gupta (BJP), Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar (Shiromani Akali Dal) and Mr Mata Ram Dhiman (Bahujan Samaj Party).

All four present and past Mayors of the City — Mrs Shanta Abhilashi, Mr K.K. Addiwal, Mr Gian Chand Gupta and Mrs Kamla Sharma — too have been nominated on the Council. The surprise omission has been the former Union Minister of State for Civil Supplies, Mr Venod Sharma, who had resigned from the previous Council but was renominated later.

Among the retired bureaucrats, former Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana, Mr P.H. Vaishnav and Mr B.S. Ojha, have also been nominated on the Council. Others include former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice G.C. Mittal, Mrs Daya Chaudhary (Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, Mr N.K. Nanda (District Bar Association), Mrs Swaroop Krishan (Blood Bank Society), Mr I.S. Paul (CII), Mr Yash Pal Mahajan (Industries), Mr Inder Lal Batra (Beopar Mandal), and a few trade union leaders.

The Council, which is normally scheduled to meet once in three months, will have a tenure of two years.

The reconstitution of the committee has come in for mixed reaction as majority of those who have not been nominated have criticised its composition while a few have welcomed it. The local unit of Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and some of the lesser known political parties here, too, have criticised the new Council for denying representation to minorities, weaker sections and other sections of society.

Though Chandigarh is known to be an educational centre, the representation to teaching as well as student community, too has been below expectation.

Power station: Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former BJP MP from Chandigarh, says that because of the callous attitude of certain officials, the power generation project was getting delayed in the Union Territory.

Mr Jain maintains that the Government of India had taken a decision to provide a 120 MW capacity power generation unit in the city. Mr P. Kumaramangalam, Union Power Minister, informed him in writing that the complete technical advice for the project had been given by the NTPC free of charge even though it had demanded Rs 60 lakh initially. Mr Jain said that even the site for the project had been identified near Kishengarh village.

“But because of the callous attitude of certain officials, the project is getting delayed unnecessarily. I have urged the Union Power Minister to expedite the setting up of the plant at the earliest so that the power supply problem of Chandigarh was solved. Chandigarh was the only UT in the country which is without a power plant of its own,” Mr Jain said.

Mr Jain further said that he had also urged the Union Government to take an early decision about the grant of 3.5 per cent share of the power being produced by the Bhakra Beas Management Board to the Union Territory of Chandigarh in accordance with the provisions of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.

Mr Jain said that he met the Union Minister of State for Power, Mrs Jayawanti Ben Mehta, during her visit to the city a couple of days ago in connection with a social function, and apprised her of both the issues.

Mrs Mehta has assured him that she would take up the matter with the officials concerned and consider the issues sympathetically.

Music centre: Of late, Chandigarh has become the main launch centre for new music albums of both established and upcoming stars and singers. During the past one year, more than 20 albums have been launched from here. These included those of Hans Raj Hans, Jasbir Jassi, Harbhajan Mann, Satwinder Bitti, Shankar and a few others. Besides a large number of up and coming Punjabi folk singers, including Pargat, also held their cassette release functions here.

The number of eminent singers who have been in the city for performance is also growing rapidly. The latest were two all-girl groups.

The singers and producer of these albums find Chandigarh a good place. That is why they prefer this city to cosmopolitan towns like Mumbai and Delhi for release of such albums.

Vehicle registration: Despite the changes carried out in the process of registering new vehicles, the system could be further improved and all this without any expense to the exchequer. Probably more staff could be deputed just to accept the forms. At present a person is faced with long queues.

And at lunch time the staff rightfully gets up thus leaving those in the queue to try the next day as papers are accepted only before lunch time. Usually 10 to 15 people are left behind when the clerk closes the window for lunch.

However, the authorities could follow a system adopted by the regional passport office. A time could be fixed. For example it could be decided that those entering the building by 12:45 pm will be attended to before lunch. The doors of the building can be closed at the fixed time. Those inside can submit their forms before the window closes. This will not be a problem as a police picket already exists. This practice is followed very successfully by the passport office.

Another thing the authorities can do for the members of public is to supply the list indicating all the documents that need to be provided while getting a vehicle registered. At present the list is pasted inside the building where one stands in a queue to submit the forms. The list can very well be a part of the bunch of forms one buys on payment.

Open loot: In the past couple of months the Administrator of Chandigarh , Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) has made surprise visits to all kinds of places. If he sees the functioning, or rather faces the manner, in which autorickshaw drivers fleece members of the public, he will be aghast. But the situation is so bad that it merits intervention from the highest authority.

For long auto drivers in the city have been driving around without any meters or fixed rates. They charge as they wish. Rates to hire an auto rickshaw from a southern sector to the railway station can vary between Rs 100 and Rs 150. The fare can be much more for the sectors 38, 39, 40 , 41 or 42 that are located a bit further away. And if one has to hire an auto for neighbouring S.A.S. Nagar or Panchkula, he is even more unfortunate as the fare will be astronomically high.

Even for travel within the city the fares are quite high. A trip from Sector 17 to the High Court can set one back by Rs 70 and if it’s raining the demand could be even more. Surprisingly, neither the police nor the state transport authority seems to check any violation. No challans are issued .

Seems to be a fit case for the people friendly Administrator.

A mission: In an effort to create a more amicable environment around him, the Sub Divisional Magistrate of Panchkula, Mr Shubh Ram Vashisth, contributes his mite by offering a copy of the life of Swami Vivekananda to his visitors. What’s more, he even inspires them to contribute to the movement he has started and the visitors unhesitatingly fish out whatever they can contribute. This money is re-invested in the booklets and the chain continues as the message goes far and wide.

So inspired and moved is the officer by the teachings of the Swami that he has left behind a picture of the saint in whichever office he has occupied.

Kashmir to Kanyakumari: Not many people know that the stick dance is performed in many states of the Indian sub-continent. It is a popular folk art in the Kashmir valley. In Jhang district it is called Gatka dance, Chhej in Sindh (now in Pakistan), dandya dance in Gujarat and Kolattam in Tamil Nadu.

On the third day of the Vasant Utsav organised by the Environment Society of India at the local Home Science College the Kolattam dance presented by 2 girls from Tamil Mandram was a rare treat.

In addition three young Kannada and Tamil girls presented Bharatnatyam which drew thunderous applause.Back


Theft in Sector 37 house
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — Mr Karamjit Singh, a resident of Sector 37, in a complaint with the police alleged that someone stole his video camera, two gold bangles, $ 80 and Rs 2,500 from his house yesterday afternoon.

A case has been registered.

Forgery case: A resident of Sector 37, Harbans Singh, has been arrested by the police in a forgery case.

According to information available, the accused had entered into an aggrement with Mr S.C. Vohra, a resident of same the sector, for selling house No 2183, Sector 37-C, for Rs 4.25 lakh on February 18, 1994. He reportedly, in a written agreement with Mr Vohra, told the latter that the house in question was not disputed, while in fact it was under litigation. He also reportedly pocketed an earnest money of Rs 1 lakh by way of earnest money from Mr Vohra.

The case ultimately went to a city court which reportedly directed the police to look into the matter following which the accused was arrested and a case registered.

Two held: The police has arrested two persons,Vinod Kumar of Palsora and Rajinder Kumar of SAS Nagar, on the charge of stealing Rs 1,500 and some documents from a cement store.

A case has been registered against the two who were working at the store.

Car theft: A resident of Sector 32, Mr S.L. Kapoor, complained that his car (CH-0-1-9703) has been stolen from his house.

The police has registered a case.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested Deva Nand, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, and seized 36 quarters of whisky from him.

A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

Scooter stolen: Mr Kanshi Ram of Sector 21 complained to the police that his scooter (CH-01-T-5874) has been stolen from Sector 17.

The police has registered a case.


Bid to snatch chain: An attempted chain-snatching incident was reported from near the DAV School in Sector 11 here this afternoon.

According to information received, two women in a rickshaw were signalled to stop by two boys on a Bullet motor cycle. The pillion rider tried to snatch the chain of one of the women even as she tried to nab him. However, they sped away.Back


Boom in flower sales
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — The city florists never had it so good. With the residents turning flower conscious and presenting flowers on every conceivable occasion becoming a routine affair, the florists are having a boom time.

In fact, it is a big business if the mushrooming of florist shops during the past one year is any indication. And a substanital rise in the prices of flowers, it seemed, had not dampened the spirits of the residents, particularly youngsters, for them it had become a wont, say the florists.

A quick survey of the florist shops today revealed that there had been an increase of 30 to 35 per cent in prices of all varieties of flowers. However, the price of the king of the flowers — Rose —witnessed a massive increase of over 50 per cent.

However, there had not such a steep hike in the prices of gladioli, which, florists said, were supplied by the cultivators from around the city.

"The average rose crop, coupled with the hike in the transportation cost as these flowers were fetched from such distance places as Bangalore and Delhi, have pushed up the price," informed Ms Varsha Sood, a florist in the Sector 34 market.

She said that the flower sales had picked up by about 30 per cent with the trend of observing such days as Mother's Day, Father's Day, Friendship Day, Chocolate Day, Grandparents' Day, besides the Valentine's Day, was catching up in the city. Since a large number of people preferred presenting bouquets on occasions like marriages, marriage anniversaries and birthdays, it had also added to the sales.

The florists informed that reasonably priced bouquets and flower sticks were hit with the people. The prices of an average bouquet ranged between Rs 100 and Rs 250 and that of a flower stick between Rs 15 and Rs 25.

Meanwhile, the flower sales for Valentine's Day being celebrated tomorrow were yet to pick up. Though some bookings were made for sending flowers with messages to lovers, yet the actual sales would start only tomorrow, the florists added.Back

Gifts await couples
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — On Valentine's Day tomorrow, Bharat Petroleum has announced a pleasant surprise for its customers at its select outlets in the city.

Customers will be given heart-shaped scratch cards to try one's luck. More than 500 prizes await the lucky ones.

The contest — Love a prima vista — has been specially designed for couples, says a spokesman of the BPCL.

Besides, a city photographer, Mr Tejbans Singh Jauhar, has decided to make free pictures of all couples visiting his studio — Tejee Studio — in Sector 17 tomorrow.Back

Time for trauma, nostalgia
From Gautam Dheer

PANCHKULA, Feb 13 — Red roses, scintillating gift items, chocolates and sundaes, made for each other greeting cards and candle-light dinners may not be for broken hearts in the township on Valentine's Day this time.

Reminiscing memories of love, those shattered in love feel that moments of sharing and happiness will tarnish their sore wounds. For the optimistic few, to forgive and forget seems to be a better option. The emotions of each one, who is heart-broken and believes his love story to be the ultimate happening on earth, now has a saga to reveal.

Anmol of Sector 7 says Valentine spirit has dampened for her. She claims to be a victim of conservative family circumstances, which have forced her to part with her loved one. She adds that the day will remind her of good times. "One does not find true love easily, so its worth holding on to when one finds it. Society contradicts its own values and punishes lovers with ostracism," she says.

Due to the westward mobility in the minds of youngsters, the area has witnessed a rise in the number of cases of two- timing, dumping, flirting and dawn-dusk love affairs, leading to broken hearts. Emotional trauma due to heart breaks force some to weep and others to envy those in love. The few optimistic ones gear up for Valentine.

"Self-indulgence helps one to fall out of love," says Rahul Sharma. Postponing giving up cigarettes, drinking too much or keeping lax office hours, in the long run, adds to the bankruptcy of the heart-broken, he adds.

Dating can be as random and dangerous as a free radical. Not everyone wants a friend as partner because a segment of people feel that love and dating are about mining dark recesses of mind and secret spaces of soul.

Rohan of Sector 6 feels that love is being contrary to norms. "Once which kept the restaurant lit past closing time, is today trying more to endlessly dazzle and push without eternal devotion," he says. A bit of escapism will be provided by wearing your heart on your sleeves and checking out the foggy romance in the air.

Going solo is not as bad an option as it seems, says Tina Kapoor of Sector 11. "You get to maintain your romantic illusions. You can fly to Mauritius within an hour if a Di Caprio lookalike invites you. You have time for yourself. You have the option to save big bucks on Valentine cards and spend these on a soppy video or a super chocolate-chip sundae instead," she adds.Back


Business school team wins quiz
From A Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — The team of Arun Mittal, Ashish Jain and Saurabh Sehgal from University Business School won the business quiz organised by Mastermind, an MBA preparatory school, at Tagore Theatre here today.

The second prize of the quiz went to the team of Siddharth Chauhan, Kunal Sharma and Manu Sharma from the DAV College.

Fortyfour teams were registered for participation from corporate and management institutions. Three teams were chosen for the final round on the basis of a written preliminary round. Cash prizes and gift coupons were given to the winners. Back


Computer centre opened
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — The karROX Technologies, an institute in high-end computer training and certification, opened its centre in the city yesterday. The centre was inaugurated by Mr Rakesh Singh, Finance Secretary.

A speciality of the institute is that candidates can be interviewed by firms on their computers without physical presence. Mr Tarun Sadana, local director, mentioned the special features of the institute aimed at helping students in global careers. State of the art infrastructure is another highlight.

The centre claims to have managed more than 8,000 jobs for students in firms abroad. The placement cell exclusively caters to 500 companies.

The centre, after having opened centres in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Calcutta, entered North India with six centres in Delhi and one in the city.

Mr Sadana said karROX, the Mumbai-based training centre, was established in 1991. It was in strategic training alliances with major global software giants, including Microsoft, Novell, OMG and Express Online, he added.Back

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