Wednesday, February 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Polling suspended for three hours
Four injured in clash
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 22 — Polling remained suspended at five polling stations for over three hours at the polling complex in Government High School, Sector 17, here today, after a clash between the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party factions, in which four persons, including two women, sustained injuries.

The incident took place outside the centre in the presence of the police. It ended with a demand by the political parties, especially the Congress, for a repoll.

The clash followed the tension between the two parties over the incident at Rajiv Colony yesterday. It was alleged that BJP workers had attempted to kidnap a Congress worker, while the BJP alleged that workers of the rival party had beaten up one of its workers.

The fight over the dummy ballot paper took a serious turn today, when the wife of Mr Sham Lal Bansal, the BJP candidate, arrived at the tent outside the centre, facing that of the Congress. Congress workers alleged that she snatched the ballot papers lying on the table and tore these, which agitated the Congress workers and triggered a clash.

Within no time, the party workers had locked horns and hurled chairs in each other's direction. They did not stop and in the process, four persons were injured. While Raghunath was injured on the eye, Surinder Kaur was hurt on the leg and Shambhu Banerjee sustained injuries on his head.

Following the incident, BJP workers demanded stalling of the voting procedure at the centre. The BJP candidate arrived on the scene, close on the heels of his Congress rival, Mr Chander Mohan. Officials of the district administration also arrived and efforts to defuse the tension began.

While Mr Bansal demanded stalling of the electoral process at the centre, Mr Chander Mohan kept pleading that the administration could carry out an inquiry into the incident without disturbing the process. However, in the face of a stalemate and amidst slogans, polling was suspended.Voters from Rajiv Colony and Indira Colony, established stronghold of the Congress, were supposed to cast their votes at these stations. Congress workers had alleged yesterday that the BJP was trying to create hurdles in their way.

Later, the District Magistrate, Mr S.K. Monga, convened a meeting of five representatives each of the two parties in the presence of the observer, Mr P.D. Thomas. At 3:30 pm, the duty magistrate ordered resuming of voting and the polling process began after heavy deployment of police at the centre. An inquiry into the role of the DSP and an ASI was ordered after the BJP complained that they had played a partisan role and had cast their votes in favour of the Congress.

The BJP again stepped in and there was confusion over the use of vehicles being used by the Congress. However, the police impounded the three vehicles in question and the process went on.

At 5 pm, there was pandemonium again at the venue, with the Congress demanding extra time for voting. However, the officials did not accede to their request as there were no directions on the same from the Election Commission. While this drama was on, the observer also visited the venue and left after a while. The Congress continued with its demand for a repoll to make up for time lost during the period of suspension of voting.

Over 60 per cent votes were cast in the Kalka assembly segment at the 289 polling stations today. The voting percentage was higher in rural areas as compared to urban polling stations.

Though only 12 per cent votes were cast in the first two hours, the total percentage went up to 30 per cent in the next four hours. By 2 pm, nearly 55 per cent votes had been cast in the Morni area and 40 per cent votes were cast in Kalka, Pinjore and Panchkula.

According to reports, at 4 pm, polling percentage had gone up to 60 per cent. Most of these had been cast in Ramgarh, Kot Billa, Nadda, Banga and surrounding villages.Back


  • Considered to be a Congress stronghold, Rajiv Colony was abuzz with rumours that BJP workers were armed and could injure anybody who wished to cast his vote. A senior party worker quipped to his team, "Basti mein jakar sabko kaho wahan chaku chal gaye hain."*The Congress refused to take it lying down. They despatched their vehicles and men to convince voters that things were under control and they could cast their votes. Three of their vehicles, which were not carrying permission orders, were impounded by the police till the poll process was over.
  • The effort of the BJP in stalling the polling process became clear when, after the dust had settled on the incident and voting resumed, a senior party worker said, "Do not keep shut. Just cry hoarse about the injustice being meted out to you. It will definitely be rewarded and cause some distraction."
  • The Congress also stopped at nothing. They told senior police officials to provide adequate security to the BJP candidate. "Aap use aur police do nahin to woh kal sar phad kar kahega ki hamnein kiya hai," a Congress worker said.
  • The police kept harping on the fact that adequate police arrangements had been made at the venue. At the end of the day, the 'adequate arrangements' did not prove adequate enough to control party workers.Back


Contempt of court likely against UT Administration
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — The Chandigarh Administration, is likely to be held responsible for the contempt of court as it has delayed the payment of arrears to the government college lecturers, working on contract basis, for over three-months-and-a-half.

On November 2, a Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Mr Justice M. Jagannadha Rao and Mr Justice U.C. Banerjee had dismissed a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the UT Joint Secretary (Education) against the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. However, in spite of the orders of the apex court, little seems to have been done by the authorities concerned and lecturers are still waiting for salaries for the vacation period, preparatory holidays and examination days since September, 1996.

Earlier, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had directed the DPI (colleges) to pay arrears to those lecturers who were working against regular sanctioned posts and performing the duties of regular lecturers since 1996. This also fell on deaf ears, following which one of the complainants, Ms Meenakshi Walia, filed a contempt petition which was allowed by the CAT on May 17, 1999.

With a view to delaying the payment, the Administration went to the High Court, but, its civil writ petition was dismissed by the court on August 17 past year. However, the Administration paid Ms Walia Rs 50,824 as "vacation" salary without bothering about the other petitioners. This is despite that the High Court had quoted a judgement of the apex court in the Rattanlal and Others versus the State of Haryana case (AIR 1987, SC 478) that "similarly-situated" persons should be dealt with in a same manner." The Administration would now have to pay the respondents the vacation-period salaries," the High Court had said in its order.

Even as the lecturers made repeated representations to the authorities, the DPI (colleges), Mr K.A.P. Sinha, said a majority of them might already have been paid as he had sanctioned the requisite amount "long ago". He said there could only be a few cases in which the payment had not been released. However, independent enquiries by this correspondent revealed that except for Ms Walia, no other lecturer had received even a single penny till date.

It was only on January 7 that the orders were issued by Mr Sinha to the government colleges to pay the arrears either from the amalgamated fund or from the contingency fund. The DPI's orders were issued after the plight of the lecturers was highlighted by Chandigarh Tribune on December 2 past year.

This is despite that the colleges have lakhs of rupees in both these funds. While the colleges fight shy of paying the arrears to these lecturers on the one hand, they are paying Rs 6,000 per month to each member of the guest faculty on the other.

Lecturers on contract, who perform all duties of regular lecturers, get a maximum of Rs 3,500 per month depending on the number of days they attend the colleges. One of the colleges had even written back to the Administration, asking for money as it did not have the requisite money for the payment of the arrears.

The legal battle did not end even after the High Court order as the Administration filed an SLP in the SC, though its position was untenable. It was dismissed by the Judges on November 2.Back

Lecturers' revenge

Tired of the dilly-dallying attitude of the authorities concerned, the lecturers have now decided to involve the Administration in a contempt of court case. "Since repeated pleas seem to have left a little affect, we are left with no alternative but to take the judicial recourse for redressing our grievances," said one of the lecturers.Back


House robbed in Sector 38
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — An unidentified person scaled the back wall of a Sector 38 house and decamped with cash and other valuables after tying and gagging a housewife.

Savita Dogra, the victim, was too shocked by the entire episode to narrate the sequence of events herself to the TNS. Her Husband, who is in the Customs Department, is away on tour to Jalandhar and is expected to arrive by late evening.

According to 13-year-old Amit, he and his elder brother had gone to the market when the incident happened. "We left at 4 p.m. to the market to get some samosas and returned at about 4.30 pm. We were shocked to see our mother tied and gagged in one of the rooms at the back. The room had been ransacked and items were scattered all over."

"We we untied her, she said she was in one of the front rooms and upon hearing a noise in the back room, went to investigate. She was overpowered by an intruder and was throttled when she tried to raise the alarm. The robber then demanded the keys to the locker and when she refused, he tore off her dress. A small purse tucked in her dress, fell out, following which, he tied and gagged her."

He then opened the cupboard and took away cash and two gold bangles. The exact loss can only be ascertained after she regains her senses and goes through all the things. We, however, found a VCR by the back wall which had been left behind," Amit said.

The robber was dark complexioned, of medium height, sported a beard and was wearing a black jacket. A case has been registered and further investigations are on.Back


Massive anti-encroachment drive planned
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is all set to launch a massive anti-encroachment drive after giving residents and shopkeepers an opportunity to remove “unauthorised structures and hedges” from road berms and clear corridors of shopping centres within a month on their own.

A comprehensive plan to clear the city of encroachments has been approved and would be effectively enforced from the first day of the new financial year. In between, the residents and shopkeepers would be educated and persuaded through media and other channels to “remove the violations” on their own, failing which besides demolition, the violators would be asked to pay a fine and charges for demolition and removal of rubble and malba.

The plan, according to authoritative sources, would also empower Nodal Officers for each sector and colony under the control of the Municipal Corporation, to challan those violating the provisions of the local bylaws and impose a fine.

With the exception of some “important” and busy Sectors and areas, including City Centre (Sector 17), Industrial Area, Sector 22 and a few other areas, other Sectors would have a Sectional Officer as a Nodal Officer. In case of bigger and “important” sectors and areas, a Subdivisional Engineer would be the Nodal Officer.

The Nodal Officer shall be responsible for a complete check on the growth of any further encroachments upon public land, removal of existing encroachments and to handle all other important problems pertaining to civic amenities in the area of his jurisdiction.

The Nodal Officers have been empowered to challan and charge double the normal fee chargeable for use of public and open spaces by residents for social and religious functions without disrupting such functions. In other cases, the Nodal Officers have been empowered even to get the tentage and other material removed after ensuring that the railing and other municipal property was not damaged.

Once the comprehensive plan is implemented, the Nodal Officers would be required to visit each and every part of their area, coordinate with the local and traffic police for removal of vehicles parked unauthorisedly in the sector or the colony concerned.

The plan provides for the removal of cycle rickshaws in case they have been parked at unauthorised places. The residents with overflowing ovehead tanks, too, can be fined by the Nodal Officers provided their warnings to the owners of houses are ignored for three or more days.

The Corporation has decided not to permit any hedges or fencing on V-3 and V-4 roads. On V-5 roads, hedges up to a height of 2 feet and 10 ft from road berm can be grown after proper permission from the Corporation. In case of V-6 roads, the hedges of the same height can be grown 6 feet from the road berm.

The Corporation has also decided to specify dumping places for malba and rubble. These have been identified in Sectors 7,8,10,15,20,24-D, 29, 31, 33, 37, 41, 42, 44, 45, 47 and Industrial Area. Those dumping malba or rubble at other places would be challaned and imposed a penalty of Rs 500, besides being asked to pay for the cost of transportation of malba at the rate of Rs 500 per trip.

For the anti-encroachment operations, the Corporation would make available both men and machinery which would be available to the Nodal Officers from central Control Room or main Complaint centre in Sector 17. Other Complaint Centres would function at the Sector 37 Water Works and Mani Majra office of the Assistant Commissioner.

The Corporation would put up in each sector and colony, sign boards informing the citizens of do’s and don’ts.

Those planning to raise new buildings or already constructing ones would be required from April 1 onwards prior permission of the Corporation to stack building material on roadsides or road berms. Without permission, the material would be removed by the Enforcement Staff and the owner would be required to pay Rs 500 per trip of removal of material besides a fine.

From April 1, permission would also become mandatory for holding social functions on municipal land. Permission would be given between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Sector 17 complaint centre.

No encroachment would be permitted on road berms, open spaces and public parks after April 1. These would be cleared at defaulter’s cost. The corporation has also decided not to allow any unauthorised openings on road berms, open spaces and public parks. Violators would be challaned and such openings would be closed at their cost. Similar action would be initiated to keep public corridors clear in shopping areas and material stacked there would be removed at the cost of the owner.

The Executive Engineer of the Horticulture Wing would engage a private agency for cleaning of open spaces and parks after their use by residents for their social functions. Such cleaning would take place within six hours of the end of the function.

To make the three complaint cells functional, the corporation has decided to create some posts, including those of data entry clerks and peons, besides procuring three computers and printers immediately.Back


Equipment gather dust in exchange
From Vishal Joshi

MULLANPUR GARIBDASS, Feb 22 — Government property worth thousands of rupees is gathering dust for more than seven months at the Mullanpur telephone exchange due to the laxity of the authorities concerned in providing sufficient space.

The rural telephone exchange housed in a rented accommodation, is in a dilapidated state. Leaking roofs and mossy walls narrate a story of sheer neglect of the building on part of the Department of Telecommunications.

According to sources, electronic gadgets, telephone cable and batteries worth thousands of rupees are lying unused on the premises for want of space. Sources in the telephone department said the authorities were aware of the need to shift the exchange about a year ago, but, nothing had been done in this direction.

The telecom authorities had approached the local Panchayat, seeking a piece of land for the construction of the exchange. In reply, the Panchayat had passed a resolution in this regard and the matter was pending due to certain formalities in the transfer of land, the sources added.

The exchange caters to 22 villages and telephone users complain of it being poor in a poor state. Reliable sources said that the poorly maintained building often caused disruption in telephone lines.

Sources also said due to the leaking structure, water seaped in the distributing lines in the exchange, causing disruption in more than 300 telephone connections in the area. To prevent water from reaching the distribution lines, the boxes have been covered with plastic sheets. Other equipment lying in the exchange also got affected in the rains, sources said.

There is only one person to repair the faulty telephones in the entire area. Shortage of staff further leads to non-repair of faulty telephones. Sources said more maintenance staff was essential for an adequate service.

Reliable sources also said the congested space left a little hope for escape in case of any emergency situation such as fire. Moreover, the lack of sufficient space further created problem for the staff posted at the exchange. The building also lacks basic amenities like drinking water and toilet.Back


Ujjal Dosanjh congratulated
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — The local chapter of the International Punjabi Society has congratulated Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, Premier-elect of British Columbia province in Canada, on his achievement.

Mr Jaspal Singh Kandhari, Mr Chaman Lal Sharma and Mr Amarjit Sethi, President, Senior Vice-President and General Secretary of the society, respectively, in a joint statement described the election of Mr Dosanjh as a “historic moment” as he became the first Indian to become Premier of a province outside India.

They said that it was a great honour for Punjab in particular and India in general.Back


Pamphlets on new town criticised
From Our Correspondent

TIRA (Kharar), Feb 22 — The Anandgarh Hatao Sanjhi Sangharsh Committee has criticised the announcements made through pamphlets distributed among the villagers regarding the proposed Anandgarh township, fearing uprooting of the local villagers at a rally here today.

While addressing the protest rally, Mr J.S. Dhaliwal, General Secretary of the committee, said that the proposed township was motivated by the personal benefits of the ruling party. The real aim behind all this was to promote the unused land of certain politicians.

Mr Dhaliwal accused the Badal government of making false commitments. On one hand, the pamphlets said the villagers would be provided with plots to each of the family members, while, on the other, the printed papers said that abadi or the populated area would not be included in the town. Then why the government was interested in benefiting the non-affecting families, he argued.

The other speakers included Mr Dhian Singh Dhillon, General Secretary, Pind Bachao Committee, Dr Prem Singh of the MCPI and Mr Bhag Singh, President, SAD (Amritsar), Ropar.Back


Trespass case against SI
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — A case of criminal trespass and intimidation was registered against a Sub-Inspector of the police here today. Further investigations will be carried out by the CIA branch.

Sub-Inspector Dilsher Singh Chandel, presently in charge of the police post at Daria village, was accused by Abdul Razzak Khan, the caretaker of a dargah on the outskirts of the village, of trespassing, threatening and forcibly taking away some money from the golak.

A case under Sections 442, 356 and 506, IPC, has been registered at the Industrial area police station following directions of a city court.

It may be recalled that the SI was following a dog squad after a dead body was found from the jungle adjoining the village. Sources said he reportedly entered the dargah to carry out routine investigations.

Meanwhile, a case under Sections 323, 341 and 506, IPC, has also been registered against the complainant at the police station.Back


Drive against drinking on
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — As many as five persons were booked by the police in the ongoing drive to check the consumption of liquor at public places and other offences in the city. Besides, two women and a man were charged with wandering under mysterious circumstances in Dhanas.

The drive was launched by Mr Sagar Preet, ASP, Central, yesterday and many persons were arrested in this context.

According to police sources, the ASP raided guest houses, hotels, pubs and eating joints in the central subdivision. The customers were warned that such places should not be patronised as their owners misled people that they had licences to allow consumption of liquor. In fact, consuming liquor at such places was illegal.

Similarly, the people were also warned of not travelling by buses which did not have the requisite permit. Private operators not only evaded tax but also encouraged unhealthy and illegal practices.

Mr Sagar Preet also convened a meeting of the heads of autorickshaw unions and told them to get their fare meters repaired as there were a lot of complaints from the public in this context.

Meanwhile, Achar Kumar and Jamal Ram were arrested for possessing eight bottles of whisky and 50 pouches of liquor from near a dharamshala in Sector 15. Kalu and Suresh were booked under Sections 34, 5 and 61 of the Police Act for obstructing the passage of public on the PGI campus.

Rajinder Singh was also booked under the same sections for creating nuisance at a public place while under the influence of liquor. Back


Cyclist run over and killed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — A cyclist was run over and killed by a bus near the Sector 21 and 34 dividing road here today.

According to sources, Pardeep was run over by a private bus on the busy road. He reportedly died on the spot. The driver of the bus, Jasbir Singh, a resident of Ropar, has been arrested. A case has been registered.

Cheque dishonoured: Mr Parvesh Vasudeva, a resident of Panchkula, reported that Vijay Kumar, who runs his business from Sector 7, purchased a car (HR--OI-E-1665) from him on instalments. He did not pay the instalments and later sold the car to another person. A cheque for Rs 67,000 was finally given to him which was dishonoured when it was presented to a bank.

Following this a complaint was filed in the court of Mr H.S. Madaan, ACJM. A case under Sections 418 and 420, IPC, was registered at the East police station on the directions of the court.

Arrested: The crime branch cell of the police has arrested Jagtar Singh, a resident of Hallomajra, from near the poultry farm roundabout on the charges of playing satta. A sum of Rs 1,589 was seized from him.

Bhagwan Dass, a resident of Karsan colony, was arrested for the same offence from the Industrial Area. A sum of Rs 320 was recovered from him.

Cases under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act have been registered.Back


Phones on demand by March 31
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 22 — Telephones in the town will be available on demand by March 31 and all the pending 1,100 applications for new connections will be cleared by then. This was disclosed by Mr Kushwant Rai, Area Manager of the Telecom Department, at a consumer grievances redress camp organised by the Consumers Protection Forum in Phase X here today.

He said a new 1000-line exchange, which would be upgraded to 6000 lines, was being commissioned in Phase X by the end of this month. The exchange at Manauli village was being upgraded to 1000 lines. The infrastructure of the department in the town was being upgraded according to the demand. Presently there were 21,000 connections in the town.

Earlier some participants complained about faulty telephone complaint registration number. While admitting that the telephone complaint number conked off at times, he said efforts were being made to upgrade the system. He urged the consumers not to bribe the field staff for rectifying their complaints and follow the proper channel. He assured that the complaints of consumers of Phases IX, X, XI and the Industrial Area (Phase IX) would be solved once the new exchange in Phase X was commissioned by the end of this month.

The Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr O.P. Popli, who presided over the function, lauded the role of the forum for organising such camps. He urged the residents to be more vigilant about their rights. Mr N.S. Gill and Mr A.N. Sharma, President and Vice-President, respectively, of the forum, read the complaints being faced by the consumers of electricity, water and sanitation.

Col Angad Singh (retd), General Secretary of the forum, talked about the voluntary disclosure scheme (VDS) reintroduced by the Punjab State Electricity Board. He urged the consumers to pay their electricity bills through banks.

Mr Paramjit, a Subdivisional Engineer (SDE) of the board, said efforts were being made to augment the bill collection facilities. Some of the consumers complained of being harassed by officials who visited their houses to check power load.

Regarding the water related complaints, Mr S.S. Ghuman, Executive Engineer (Public Health), said the township was likely to face a shortage of water during summer months as the local municipal council had not approved the estimates of at least 18 tubewells required to supplement the water supply. Only four tubewells had been installed by the sewerage board. He said he would meet the Administrator of the council tomorrow in this regard.

Mr G.K. Sardana, Field Officer of the IOC, said the problem of underweight LPG cylinders would be solved once the filling station at Bathinda became operational. He spoke about the services the consumers were entitled to get from the gas agencies. Mr A.S. Bhatti and Mr M.D.S. Sodhi, both office-bearers of the forum, also spoke on the occasion.Back


Widow pension under EPS up
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, Feb 22 — A seminar on the Employees Pension Scheme (EPS) 1995 was organised at an industrial unit here yesterday.

Mr M.L. Meena, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner (I), while addressing the seminar said the minimum monthly widow pension in case of death of the member had been raised to Rs 450 from Rs 250. He further informed if a member died leaving behind no spouse, his dependent parents would get pension even in the absence of nomination form.

Mr Meena elaborated the steps initiated by provident fund offices in Punjab regarding redress of grievances, like informing the status of claim by computer, computerised acknowledgement of provident fund, pensions and other claims besides organising lok adalats on 10th of every month.

He said that a scheme to hand over provident fund cheques and pension papers on the date of retirement at the work place of provident fund members, had been started. The State Bank Of India would also disburse the pension in addition to Punjab National Bank in Punjab.

A question-answer session was also organised wherein PF Department officers replied to queries.Back


Black grapes, oranges dear
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 22 — Priced at Rs 50 a kg, black grapes remained the dearest item in the local market today. Few days back, the item was being sold at Rs 60 a kg. The other variety of the fruit was available at Rs 50 kg.

Dates were being sold in the Phase 7 market at Rs 20 a kg. Last week, it was priced at Rs 25 a kg. The Kandhar variety of the fruit was available for between Rs 120 and Rs 140 a kg.

The prices of different varieties of apple varied between Rs 30 and Rs 50 a kg. The Kinnaur variety of the fruit was being sold at Rs 50 a kg. Two other varieties of the item were being sold at Rs 30 and Rs 35 a kg.

Kinnu was priced at Rs 30 a dozen. A superior quality of the fruit was being sold at Rs 40 and Rs 50 a dozen.

Vendors in the local markets have come out with attractive one kg carry-bags. Prices of orange were high due to fresh arrivals. A vendor in the Phase 4 market was selling the item for Rs 50 a dozen. Last week the fruit was priced at Rs 60 a dozen. A cheaper variety of the fruit was being sold at Rs 40 a kg. Different varieties of the fruit have registered a decrease of about Rs 10 a kg in the last one week.

Pineapple was being sold at Rs 30 a piece. Guava was being sold at Rs 15 a kg.

Cheeku was available for Rs 20 a kg. Good quality papaya was being sold at Rs 20 a kg. A cheaper variety of the item was available for Rs 18 a kg.

Rasbahri was being sold in localmarkets at Rs 40 a kg. Banana was priced at Rs 20 a dozenBack

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