Friday, February 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Advisory Council draws flak
Scramble for nominations to status symbol body
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 17 — There are more protests than appreciation for the 60 member Administrator’s Advisory Council, a widely representative and perhaps the biggest body nominated by the Administrator.

This is the second time that the Administrator’s Advisory council has been nominated after an elected Municipal Corporation assumed office in December,1996. Like the previous council, there has been some criticism about the need of such a council especially when the city has an elected Municipal Corporation and the process is on to constitute the Zila Parishad and the Panchayat Samiti.

Other major plank of criticism, including from the Mayor and a former Senior Deputy Mayor, has been over the nomination of elected Councillors on the council.

A careful scrutiny of the council suggests that students, who number more than a lakh in the city and are the biggest group, have been left out. So are the representatives of the media, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and environment, animal protection and consumer activists.

The proceedings of the council are not open to the media. In protest against the closed door meetings, journalists covering the local beat had protested and even boycotted the formal briefing after the council meetings. Whether the new Administrator opens the council meetings to the media or not remains to be seen.

The Administration maintains that it has a large number of projects and issues which are beyond the purview of the Municipal Corporation and the need for such a council is “justified”.

Over the issue of representation to political parties, the stand of the Administration has been that top four political parties have been given direct representation on the Council.

“There have been pressures, even from one-member parties, for representation on the council. There are 135 parties and if each party is to be given nomination, the council would become unwieldy and useless,” said a top functionary maintaining that people had been coming, shouting and even holding veiled threats of taking to legal recourse to get nominated.

The previous council held only a couple of meetings.

Though not much of business is transacted at the meetings of the council, it is a “status symbol” for the local politicians to get nominated on the council. They try every method, including formation and registration of societies, claiming themselves to be welfare committees and councils. Membership of such councils seldom runs into double figures. Needless to say, they do not function according to norms of the law as the purpose of such committees is only to get “nomination” on the Advisory Council or other Advisory Committees of the Administration.

It is time for the Administration to set norms for nomination on the Advisory Council or other Advisory Committees. Only those bodies, which are functional, have regular meetings, hold their elections at regular intervals, get their accounts audited and have a minimum number of members should be considered for nomination on the council.

Since the Administration has number of other Advisory Committees, those dealing with different areas should be nominated on the Advisory Committee concerned. Those who failed to secure a respectable number of votes in elections — from Panchayat to Lok Sabha — should be automatically debarred from nomination on the council.

The council is so heterogeneous that at times some of the members, including retired bureaucrats, technocrats, defence officers, doctors, academicians and other professionals find it a “waste of time to join the deliberations at the rare meetings where focus is mainly on petty, personal and localised issues.”

Sources in the Administration maintain that all top officials remain available to leaders of political parties, various organisations and others. And as such there was no ban on them to advise the top functionaries, including the Administrator, on any issue any time. Therefore, nomination on the council alone does not give the nomination seekers opportunity to advise the Administration on “important issues”.

The reconstitution of the much smaller Home Minister’s Advisory Council is also held up on technical grounds as the Zila Parishad is yet to be fully constituted. The terms of a number of other Advisory Committees have either lapsed or is about to lapse.

The purpose of constituting these committees would be achieved only if they hold their meetings at regular intervals and the decisions taken at such meetings are implemented in letter and spirit.


Vigilant conductor averts bomb blast
By Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 17 — For 23 passengers of a Haryana Roadways bus headed for Katra yesterday, Ram Kumar proved to be a messiah. His alertness averted what would have been a major bomb blast.

Ram Kumar, who was the conductor of the targeted bus, is presently serving in the Haryana Roadways Depot, Chandigarh.

Recalling the sequence of events, he said he was en route to Katra on the bus, HR-03-PA-0108. The bus started at 10. 10 a.m. and was to go via Hoshiarpur, Dasuya, Pathankot, Jammu and terminate at Katra in the evening.

“As usual, the bus was full and most of the passengers alighted at Pathankot. The bus was again boarded by commuters headed for Jammu and Katra. The bomb could have been planted at any of the towns on the way.”

We reached Jammu at about 6.45 p.m. and dropped passengers at Vikram Chowk and Jeevan Chowk. I was initially suspicious of one of the suitcases, but as a passenger had been sitting along side it all along, I lowered my guard. It was when many passengers alighted near Jeevan Chowk and the suitcase was left alone that I asked for the bus to be stopped.

I climbed down and called after the passengers who had alighted and asked them whose suitcase it was. When all of them expressed their ignorance about its owner, I overcame my initial fears and decided to open the suitcase.

I shook the suitcase and heard something rattle inside. I opened it and saw that it contained clothes, a cream coloured loi and a diary. I picked up the diary to ascertain the address but got a shock instead. Sensing that something was wrong, I cried out that the bus had a bomb.

Hearing this, everyone left the bus and ran away. I also alighted and informed the police. Cops came and pressed a bomb disposal squad. A DSP congratulated me and said that I had averted a tragedy as the bomb was in the shape of a diary and had I opened it fully, it would have gone off, killing or injuring many people.

Although shaken by the experience, he and Kuldeep Singh, the driver, took the bus to the bus stand, took on passengers and completed their journey.

Mr S.S. Dhankhar, president of the local unit of the HR Workers Union, who accompanied Ram Kumar, said they had informed their GM and would also write to the Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir governments to recognise the bravery and courage of their member. He should be suitably rewarded so that others could emulate him.



Awaiting basic facilities for 15 years

By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 17 — Despite claims to the contrary, the city markets continue to be in a state of drift. The Sector 38 (C and D) market here is a case in point where even the basic facilities continue to elude the shopkeepers and shoppers even after over 15 years.

The shopkeepers, who have invested lakhs of rupees in setting up businesses in the market, alleged that in the absence of the requisite infrastructure the customers avoided the market and their business was seriously affected. And this was in spite of the numerous representations, first to the Chandigarh Administration and now to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC).

A visit to the market by a Tribune team today revealed that the main parking lot in the market was in a state of neglect. In the absence of any maintenance the parking lot had developed potholes and pools of dirty stinking water make the situation worse in the rainy season. The parking lot had not been recarpeted for the past over 15 years, alleged Mr Jagtar Singh, President of the Market Welfare Association.

And as there was only one entry and exit point in front of a row of booths in the market, a majority of shoppers parked their vehicles on the main road, thus making it an accident-prone area, complained a shopkeeper, Mr Harminder Singh.

The malba dumped at one corner of the market is used by residents as an open air urinal despite the fact that a functioning toilet was there in the market.

Another shopkeeper, Mr Satpal Kohli, alleged the shopkeepers and visitors were put to a lot of inconvenience on account of the non-functioning of the street lights. Due to darkness, the customers avoided the market and the business was hampered, he added.

While there were no street light poles in a section of the market facing the booths, the street lights in the other parts of the market were non-functional. In fact, they pose danger to the visitors as most of the controlling units were in a bad shape and the electric wires dangled out.

Meanwhile, the shopkeepers have demanded the linking of a road near the market to the mega housing complex of the Chandigarh Housing Board in West of Sector 38. They claimed that a provision for the construction of the road existed but it had been delayed as a stretch was under illegal occupation.




Bhattal addresses Congmen in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 17 — Alleging the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) to be a party of turncoats who had deserted their respective parties in their lust for power, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former Chief Minster of Punjab, said that there was a similarity in the functioning of the INLD, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Akali Dal. Slowly, the three were leading their respective states towards destruction. Ms Bhattal was speaking to media persons after addressing a meeting of party workers here today.

"The green brigade of the Chautala government, the RSS of the BJP and the Akali Dal are tapping the religious sentiments of the people and providing shelter to criminals. They are neither interested in the welfare of the public nor in putting the state on the road to progress. They can shake hands with just about anybody if it earns them the chair and have no qualms about sacrificing anything if the situation so demands. Also, they have resorted to arousing religious sentiments to curry favour of the masses and led them astray,'' she said.

On the stand of the Congress on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal, Ms Bhattal said only the heads of the two parties in power could answer the question since the BJP had taken up the issue as the main poll plank. She said that their stand on the issue would be made known after their party assumed power.

About the rumblings within the party on the issue of the new chief minister, she said that the high command would decide the matter. However, she added that irrespective of the minor dissents within the party, all state leaders were unanimous on the idea that there is only one policy and one leader.

She added that the candidates of the Congress in the state were well placed as far as the election scenario was concerned in the constituencies she had visited.

In Punjab, she said that there was no doubt the party would come out with flying colours especially since the people had had the opportunity to try the Akali Dal government for almost three years and were disgusted with the outcome. "The government has failed to keep its word with any section of society which had led to a lot of resentment,'' she said.


Arun Jaitley to visit city tomorrow
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 17 — The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, will visit Chandigarh on Saturday to attend the annual district conference of Rotary International District 3080.

In fact, there will be a lot of activity in the city during the next four days starting with the presence of noted playback singer Kumar Sanu for the inauguration of a music shop in Sector 17. Also famous Punjabi folk singers, Mohammad Siddique, Surinder Chinda and Paramjit Sidhu, will be in the city.

Besides Kumar Sanu, the Innerwheel Club, which is coinciding its conference of confidence millennium with the Rotary District conference, may have Shubha Moudgil or Bollywood star Hema Malini here on Saturday. Besides, the Rotarians will have the world-renowned French composer-pianist Marc Vella performing in the city on Saturday.

The Rotary and Innerwheel conferences will bring to the city Rotarians from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Besides, some top Rotarians from Rotary International, including Jack Forrest and his wife, Ina Beth, will be representing Rotary International President Carlo Ravizza at the district conference.

On Saturday, a former Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, and the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Farooq Abdullah, would be joined by the former Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr K.P.S. Gill, at an interactive session on terrorism being organised by the Bradlaugh International Centre in the Sector 22 Aroma complex.

Some of the top surgeons of the world will be in the city for the three-day conference on organ implants at the PGI.


Interaction with party candidates
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 17 — An interaction with the candidates of national parties, the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Haryana Vikas Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, was held at a function, Ru-Ba-Ru organised by the Panchkula Press Club.

The programme began with each of the candidates, Mr Chander Mohan, Mr Sham Lal Bansal, Mr Jagdeep Chaudhary and Mr K.P. Singh, highlighting the main points of the manifesto and the work they intended to undertake in the Kalka assembly constituency if they were voted to power.

In the interaction, which followed, most members of the audience wanted to know whether the Ghaggar dam would be constructed, especially since the Chautala government had stalled work at the site. All candidates, including that of the BJP, said that the construction of the dam would be undertaken if they came to power. The candidates also answered queries of the audience on the problem of migrant labour, removal of hedges as per the directions of the high court and development of Morni.

The programme was compered by Mr Vipin Garg, General Secretary, and the vote of thanks was presented by the President of the club, Mr P.P. Verma.


Workshops on road safety
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 17 — A non-government organisation, Altruist, has started organising workshops on road safety in various schools of the city. Students of St Anne’s Convent School, Sector 32, YPS, SAS Nagar, Mount Carmel School, Sector 32, and Sanjay Public School, Sector 44, have already undergone training in these workshops.

Talking to the TNS today, Ms Pragati Gandhi, a child counsellor, and Mr Dheeraj Aggarwal, another trainer, informed that the workshop was divided into two sessions which started with testing the knowledge of traffic rules of the children, their road sense and their basic automobile sense. The second session focused on the theory of road signs, traffic signals concerning pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and car drivers.

Ms Gandhi and Mr Aggarwal further added that these workshops hold interactive sessions, and quiz contests. The children were given comprehensive literature in the form of leaflets and pamphlets on road safety.


Use of solar energy stressed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 17 — “Environment-friendly use of energy is the need of the hour” said Prof S.K.Sharma, Director of the Energy Research Centre, while addressing a workshop on popularising solar equipment, at Panjab University here today.

“There is an acute need to use the non-conventional energy sources in routine work”, felt Prof. Ashok Sahni, Dean University Instructions. Only devising solar equipment is not essential but popularising these for common use is needed, he added.

Mr S.S. Bedi, Regional Director, MNES, while highlighting the activities of the ministry said to popularise solar energy programme in the county, the ministry had earmarked Rs 62.10 crore out of its domestic budgetary sources of Rs 298.50 crore for 1999-2000 and Rs 411.50 crore for the Ninth Plan period.

Commodore Narinder Singh , former Advisor, MNES, stressed on the maximum utilisation of solar energy to save the electric and other energy sources.



Nagar Kirtan procession
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 17 — A nagar kirtan procession was taken out from the Sector 30-A gurdwara Sri Guru Ravi Dass to mark the birth anniversary celebrations of the Guru. The procession passed through various areas, including Sectors 20, 21, 22, 17, 18 and 19 before concluding at the Sector 30-A gurdwara. The police had made elaborate security and traffic arrangements for the procession.

Meanwhile, the functions to celebrate the birth anniversary started today with special kirtan darbars and functions at the Sectors 20 and 30 gudwaras. The birth anniversary of Sri Guru Ravi Dass falls on February 19.

The birth anniversary of Guru Ravi Dass will be celebrated at Gurdwara Mukatsar Sahib, Panjab University, on Saturday. A religious diwan would be held on the occasion. Ragi jaths will recite Gurbani kirtan, according to Dr A.S. Ahluwalia, President of the gurdwara.


Fair at temple begins today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 17 — The two-day annual fair in connection with the Magh Chaudas Purnima begins at the historic Mata Jayanti Devi temple, 12 km from here, on February 18, according to temple Pujari Chander Muni.

The Chandigarh Administration has made arrangements for special buses to ply from the ISBT, Sector 17, for the devotees.

Langar will also be served by the Mandir Committee, Jayanti Majri, on the occasion.



SPCA's Kindness Club opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Feb 17 — The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) today organised a function at Government High School, Sector 40, to inaugurate the SPCA Kindness Club in the school.

Mr Jasbir Ralhan, President, SPCA, was the chief guest and Mr Bahadur Singh, Headmaster of the school, presided over the function. Dr J.C. Kochhar from the Pet Clinic, Sector 22, was the guest of honour.

The chief guest announced a special help to the school for the development of the club. Mr Bahadur Singh declared a special prize for the student who would set an example of kindness towards animals.

Students presented a cultural programme on the occasion.


Cheated on job promise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Feb 17 — Mr Pritam Chand, a resident of Sector 45, reported that Paramjit Singh, a resident of Chuhar Majra, took Rs 15,000 from him on the pretext of arranging the job of a peon for his son in the State bank of Patiala in the city. He neither returned the money nor fulfilled his promise.

A case under Section 420, IPC, has been registered at the Central police station.

Harassed by in-laws
Ms Roohi, a resident of Sector 41, reported that she was being harassed by her in-laws for bringing inadequate dowry.

A case under Sections 406, 498-A and 34, IPC, has been registered.

Car stolen
Mr Gurdeep Singh, a resident of SAS Nagar, reported that his car (CH-OI-J-8481) has been stolen from outside Rajasthan Bhavan in Sector 38.

A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.

Two arrested
The police has arrested Ravinder Singh and Narinder Kumar, residents of Sector 32, on the charges of stealing two quintals of manhole covers from the electricity office in Sector 20. A case under Sections 457, 380 and 411, IPC, has been registered.

Constable C.V. Pottey, CRPF, reported that he and a pillion rider were hit and injured by a car (DL-GC-4795) near the CRPF campus at Hallomajra village. They were admitted to hospital, while the accused, Narinder Paul, a resident of Sector 33, was arrested.

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


Liquor seized
The police seized 56 bottles of countrymade liquor from Randhir Singh, a resident of Rathod village.

A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him.



Youth commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Feb 17 — A resident of Sector 23 allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself here today.

According to police sources, the 22-year-old Kuldip Singh was unemployed and was reported to be frustrated as a result of it. He has also mentioned the same reason in the suicide note found in his room.

He was rushed to the PGI where he was declared brought dead.

His body has been sent for a post mortem and further investigations are on.Back


Traders observe bandh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 17 — On a call given by the Joint Action Committee of the Traders Association of Sector 17, a half-day bandh was observed in Sector 17 against the “implementation of the obsolete building bylaws.”

A spokesman of the committee criticised the Chandigarh Administration for continuation of proceedings against traders. Since the Administration had asked for suggestions for the amendments to the bylaws, the action against the traders was unnecessary.

The spokesman demanded that the Administration should stop all proceedings against the traders till the bylaws were amended. They also urged the Administration to reconstitute the Building Byelaws Committee by including at least four members from the Sector 17 and 26 market associations.


Cyber Cafe opens
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 17 — The City’s first “E-connect” Cyber Cafe was inaugurated in Sector 35 today.

The Cyber Cafe is unique with facilities to surf the web. Controlled through a Cyber Cafe management software, it provides facilities for downloading software. Printing facilities are also available. There is a provision for free Internet training and free e-mail ID service also.

The outlet also provides training in “e-commerce”, Java and all other types of software training and development.


Music store to be opened today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 17 — Music World, a CD and cassette store, will be inaugurated by Kumar Sanu in Sector 17 tomorrow.

According to Mr Dileep James, CEO of Music World, interactive sessions with various singers of regional and national repute will be held at the store.

At tomorrow's ceremony, Surinder Chhinda, Pammi Bai and Mohammad Sadiq will also interact with the visitors.

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