Thursday, February 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Zakir Rose Garden infested with weeds
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 23 — The budgetary provisions for the past three years for regrassing notwithstanding, the Sector 16 Zakir Rose Garden, the main venue of the Festival of Gardens , has its spacious lawns infested with weeds.

The “looks of the Garden are deceptive”. The lawns, “though green”, have more weeds than grass. The flower beds are no better. A majority of them in the exhibition area have not only gaping holes but are full of weeds, grass and unshorn growth.

Though the workers and engineers of the Horticulture wing of the Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration have been busy for the past couple of weeks in giving “cosmetic touches” to the Garden, maintenance and upkeep has deteriorated over the years.

A perusal of the approved budgetary estimates for the prestigious Zakir Rose Garden make interesting revelations. Under the head of New Works (Landscaping), a provision of Rs 160 lakh was made in the ninth Five Year Plan and Rs 6.5 lakh during 1997-98 out of a total allocation of Rs 50 lakh for horticulture.

One of the main projects to be undertaken departmentally was regrassing of Zakir Rose Garden. Provision was also made for introduction of new varieties of roses in the Garden.

Let us have a look at the approved budget estimates of the current financial year. The P&L Sprinkler Irrigation System in the garden at a cost of Rs 12.94 lakh has been installed, of which a provision of Rs 4.45 lakh was made this year. The work has been completed as one finds sprinkler heads at various places in the Garden.

Improvement of grassy lawns of Sector 16 Zakir Rose Garden were to be taken up at a cost of Rs 4.87 lakh this year, of which funds earmarked for the work were Rs two lakh. Work was to be taken up departmentally.

Introduction of new varieties of roses in the Garden were estimated to cost Rs 5.38 lakh for which Rs 3 lakh were provided this year. This work was also to be taken up departmentally.

These paper sanctions and estimates notwithstanding, the lawns present a dismal picture. Blades of grass attempt to show up at some places which are now completely covered with weeds like “Dilla”.

At present, the Garden has a regular staff of more than 40 mallis and head mallis besides a Supervisor and a sectional officer. Since Festival of Gardens is a prestigious event, such deplorable maintenance of lawns and even flower beds has come for criticism from rose flowers.

Though the officials claim introduction of several new varieties, hardly any new variety was noticeable in the Garden during a recent survey conducted by Chandigarh Tribune. Big gaps in the existing beds also refute the claims of any fresh plantation.

The name plates in various beds are not only rusty and illegible but at times misleading. For example, Iceberg variety of roses is for white coloured flowers but the bed where this sign plate has been put is of red coloured flowers.

No effort has been made to rectify this situation.

Though flower arrangement, flower display, plants grown in pots and other such competitions would be held tomorrow, workers of the Horticulture wing and other wings of the Engineering Department were busy in painting temporarily or permanently maintained dais, shamianas for holding flower arrangement, on-the-spot painting competition and also the opening and closing ceremonies, besides the cultural events.

In fact emphasis has been more on making a welcome tunnel by pruning trees and bamboos from other areas of the city, covering it with flowers, including marigolds, than laying greater emphasis on upkeep and regular maintenance of this pride of the City Garden.Back


Senior UT officials may land in trouble
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 23 — Certain senior functionaries of the Chandigarh Administration may land in trouble following certain disclosures made by a Superintendent of the Administration before the Special Cell of the Central Bureau of Investigation here.

Mr K.B. Goel, an office Superintendent, was picked up by the CBI a couple of days ago, following serious complaints of corruption received against him.

A complainant had reportedly submitted an affidavit of the alleged deal he was coerced to strike with the Superintendent for his continuation in the State Transport Authority.

Investigations reveal that the Superintendent has reportedly confessed his involvement in certain cases of graft and other irregularities and named certain top officials of the Administration.

Though the CBI officials are tight-lipped about the interrogation and disclosures, they are reportedly keeping the Union Home Ministry and the CBI Directorate in New Delhi informed of the developments based on interrogation here.

Investigations further reveal that the Superintendent has been been making telephone calls to various functionaries of the Administration and calling them to his office on one pretext or the other.

Some complaints were recently brought to the notice of top functionaries of the Administration also.

After the complaints reached the Special Cell of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Mr K.B. Goel was picked up and a thorough search was conducted.

According to unconfirmed sources, this led to recovery of some incriminating documents and evidence.Back


Pension scheme for PU retirees
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 23 — After a long saga of proposals and cancellations for implementing a viable pension scheme for Panjab University employees during the past decade, another proposal, making employees who have retired after April 1, 1998, eligible, comes up for debate at the forthcoming Syndicate meeting later this month.

The scheme provides retired employees with a choice to opt for benefit of the scheme but it will be compulsory for those who have retired after October 2, 1993, according to senior sources. The proposal seems to have got the green signal of the Panjab University Teachers Association and the association of non-teaching staff members.

The scheme will be implemented only after a formal notification by the Government of India. It also goes to the University Regulations Committee, followed by re-introduction in the Syndicate and the Senate.

It has been provided that employees who have withdrawn their university share of provident fund from their accounts shall refund the same.

A blind, deaf or dumb employee, a widow or an orthopaedically handicapped person, with five years of service, will qualify for the scheme. An employee handicapped during service will add five years to the total service period for pension benefits.

The management of the pension corpus will be placed under the charge of a special committee appointed by the Vice-Chancellor. It will include two professors who specialise in financial investment and management.Back


Complainants turn out to be accused
By Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 23 — The tables have turned on two women. From complainants in a modesty outrage case, they are now accused in a case of mischief and wrongful confinement of a SAS Nagar resident.

The women — Neera Saggar, of Sector 11 and Anita Sharma of Phase II — had got a case registered against Mr S. S. Ahluwalia, alleging that he had tried to outrage their modesty and intimidated them on November 30.

As a result, Mr Ahluwalia and his friend, Mr Parminder Singh, a government employee, who was reportedly suspended by his department, were taken into custody by the police and were subsequently bailed out by a city court.

Shocked by the turn of events, they approached the IGP and urged an investigation into the matter to arrive at the truth and cancellation of the FIR. Sources said the inquiry officer, in his report, filed after interviewing several witnesses at the scene of the crime, arrived at the conclusion that the FIR had been wrongly registered. The accused were the complainants, as proved by the DDR registered earlier.

As per the FIR lodged by the women, they had gone to the Sector 26 TTTI, where a meeting of a networking group was being held. After the meeting, Anita Rani was allegedly accosted by Mr Ahluwalia, who not only attempted to outrage her modesty, but also tried to throw her into his car.

His accomplice also helped him and they abused her, using filthy language, and threatened to abduct her daughter also. She cried out and was helped by Neera, who was also roughed up by the duo. They reportedly showed their torn clothes in the police station as a matter of proof of the incident. In the melee, the accused damaged their own car, they alleged.

Following this, a case (FIR 254) under Sections 294, 323, 354, 506 and 34 of the IPC, was registered and the accused were arrested.

The complainant alleged that they were in the police station after getting the DDR lodged when a police officer informed them that a case had been registered against them on the complaint of the women and they were now under arrest. Stunned by the turn of events, their pleas of being the affected party failed to evoke sympathy.

On the other hand, the stand of Mr Ahluwalia was vindicated by the inquiry report, on the basis of which a case (FIR 38) under Sections 341 and 427 of the IPC, was registered at the east police station on February 18.

It was found that the complainant was wrongfully confined by the women, his turban was knocked off and he was manhandled. The main grouse of the women was that they suspected that he was responsible for getting them chucked out from the group. It was also submitted that the women had resorted to mischief in getting the FIR registered, sources added. Back


Drunk cop held
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 23 — A Punjab police constable, Harbans Singh, was arrested from a public place in Sector 17 for creating nuisance while under the influence of liquor during the ongoing special drive launched by the Central police subdivision.

According to Dr Sagar Preet Hooda, ASP, the drive would be continued in the coming days. An added feature would be special squads for arresting proclaimed offenders. Besides, a watch would be kept on persons carrying firearms and encroachers in their area.

Six other persons were arrested during the drive. Yunus Charles was arrested and one wristwatch, one TV set and some linen, reportedly stolen, were recovered from his possession.

Kishen Singh was arrested from the ISBT and 36 bottles of whisky were seized from his possession. Rajesh Kumar and Vijay were arrested from Sector 17 while they were roaming about under suspicious circumstances. Ravinder Singh and Gurnam Singh were arrested from Dhanas for creating a nuisance while under the influence of liquor. Back


Cutting trees may attract penalty
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 23 — Persons who cause damage to trees in the township may be in trouble. The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) is contemplating to take strict action against violators under the provisions of its existing plot allotment policy.

Action against persons who deface public parks by dumping malba and other waste material is also being studied by the PUDA. Persons who cut or prune trees heavily in front of their houses get scot-free as there is no concrete policy of the PUDA to penalise them. Several instances of people committing the offence right under the nose of the authorities are on official record.

Officials say whenever a specific case of a tree being felled or pruned comes to their notice, it is brought to the notice of the Superintending Engineer and the Estate Officer but hardly any action has been taken. In some cases, writing to the police authorities to register a First Information Report against a violator has been futile. No police case has been registered.

In a specific case, the security guards of an Additional Director General of Police of Punjab had indiscriminately chopped off branches of 17 trees — Lagrostromia Rosea — in Phase 9 past December but no action has been taken so far.

The trees also face threat from the field staff of the state electricity board, who prune trees if these hinder overhead electricity wires, posing danger of electrocution.

Now the authorities had undertaken a survey of the township to ascertain details of the residents who have damaged trees in front of their houses. Over 30 cases of trees being damaged and around 70 cases of public parks being defaced by residents in phases X and XI have come to light. Sources say there are around 65,000 trees and shrubs being maintained in the township.

The Additional Chief Administrator of the PUDA, SAS Nagar, Mr Dipinder Singh, says he has asked the officials concerned to study the existing provisions under the PUDA Act, so that action can be taken against violators. He adds that a possibility of taking action against residents for violating the terms and conditions of the allotment policy is also being explored.Back

‘War affects women on borders’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 23 — The Partition of India created a continued environment of violence in women's lives on the borders. The violence on contested borders like Kashmir is constant, as overlapping regimes control human lives. Sometimes this control is through physical violence and sometimes it is through nationalistic language.

These views were expressed by Dr Asha Hans, Coordinator of the Centre for Women Studies, Utkal University, in the paper on Contested Borders and Boundaries in Women's Lives at International conference on geopolitics at Panjab University here today.

War had severely affected lives of women on borders, she asserted. At places, an area in Indian territory went to Pakistan in a conflict and returned to India in another. Changes in borders had been linked to boundaries of gendered spaces. Stability of a border produced stability in a woman's life, she said.

Examining the question of where women of Kargil stood in the widespread narrative of violence for inclusion of Kashmir in India or Pakistan, she said they did not fit in Hindustan, Pakistan, Ladakh or the land of the Sunnis.

Dr Eiki Berg from the University of Tatru in Estonia, focussed on the space and place of visible borders. Instead of being stable, Estonian-Russian border represented a case which seemed fragile, she said.

Constructing and subsidising transboundary regionalism was discussed in a paper by Dr James Wesley Scott from Free University of Berlin in Germany. Other prominent speakers were Prof David Newman, Prof Anssi Passi, Dr Tamar Herman and Prof Paula Banerjee.

Nearly 40 members at the conference have come from foreign countries, including the USA, Finland and Germany. The conference concludes tomorrow. when Mr Salman Khurshid, a former Union Minister for External Affairs, is likely to address the concluding ceremony. This will be followed by a two-day visit outside the city.Back


Batra, Sagar remembered
From A Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 23 — The atmosphere was emotional when parents of late Captain Vikram Batra, Param Vir Chakra winner, and Major Sandeep Sagar, who sacrificed their lives during the Kargil conflict, recall the memories of their children in a seminar on Menace of terrorism — post-Kargil scenario, organised at DAV College, Sector 10, here today.

Mr G.S. Batra and his wife and Mr Harbans Lal and his wife, who were special guests, were honoured on the occasion. Justice (retd) D.V. Sehgal, presided over the function.

Recalling the memories of his son, Mr Batra said Vikram had some extraordinary qualities. “I was sure that this guy would do something exceptional but I never thought of such an achievement,” he said with humid eyes. He exclaimed that he was proud of his son.

Mr Harbans Lal, said both graduated from this college and Sandeep was one year senior to Vikram. He mentioned Sagar’s letter, which he got 5 days after his demise and quote from it, “Things have hardened up here but our soldiers are fighting bravely and we will win the war.” He said Sandeep had a passion to serve in the Army.

Presenting his keynote address, Mr Kanwar Sandhu, a journalist, gave some suggestions to fight terrorism, such as fencing borders, constituting single-counter terrorism force with clear task, resolving border dispute with China as soon as possible, recognising and engaging the people of Kashmir and forming a policy to counter insurgency. He said we should not blame the ISI for every incident and should fix responsibility.

Major-General Reginder Nath maintained that India had a concrete policy to fight terrorism, under which India defeated Pakistan in Kargil. He suggested that India should be offensive towards Pakistan and should not hesitate in crossing the LoC to destroy enemy establishments training militants.

He said India should not confine its activities to Jammu and Kashmir and should engage Pakistan in other areas to disperse enemy power. India should have a command and control system of nuclear weapons and there should be an overall commander of armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir, he added. He professed to reorganise the Ministry of Defence.

Other defence experts who participated in the seminar were Air Marshal R.S. Bedi, Dr. P.K. Vasudeva and Colonel (retd) D.S. Cheema.Back


Villagers seek new exchange
From Our Correspondent

MULLANPUR GARIBDASS, Feb 23 — The Mullanpur Panchayat has sought the intervention of the Union Minister for Telecommunications to expedite the construction of a new telephone exchange building.

Mr Diwan Singh, Sarpanch of the village, said today that the telecom authorities had asked the Panchayat to give a plot of land for the telephone exchange. The present building housing the exchange is in a dilapidated condition.

The Panchayat received a letter from the Principal General Manager, Chandigarh (Telecom), to allot 500 to 1,500 square yards of land for this purpose. The Sarpanch said the Panchayat had earmarked 10 biswas for this purpose on March 19, 1999. The telecom authorities had found the site unsuitable and had asked for some other place.

According to Mr Diwan Singh, the Panchayat again set aside 15 biswas on January, 28.

The Panchayat suspects that certain officials of the department want the exchange shifted to Ratwara village. The Panchayat met telecom officials, including the PGM (Telecom), Chandigarh, in this regard, but, got no satisfactory response, according to the Sarpanch.Back


Two arrested for gambling
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 23 — The Crime Branch has arrested two persons on the charges of gambling at public places in the city.

Upinder Kumar was arrested from near a restaurant in Sector 17 for gambling. A sum of Rs 280 was seized from his possession. Similarly, Abrar was arrested from near Government High School, Sector 29. A sum of Rs 558 was seized from him.

Cases under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered against them.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested two persons and seized 24 bottles and 50 pouches of whisky.

Jaimal was arrested from Sector 24 and 50 pouches of liquor were seized from his possession. Bishen Singh was arrested from the bus stand and 24 bottles of whisky were seized from his possession.

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

Harassed for dowry: Ms Nisha, a resident of Sector 18, reported that she was married to Anil Mehendiratta, a resident of the same sector, and was harassed for bringing inadequate dowry. A case under Sections 406, 498-A and 120-B, IPC, has been registered.

Car stolen: Mr Ranjit Kumar Singhal, a shopkeeper of Sector 22, reported that his car (CHF 1231) was stolen from the Sector 22 parking lot. A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.Back


Clerk booked for beating colleague
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 23 — A senior clerk of the local Municipal Council has been booked by the police for using derogatory language against and beating his colleague, a Dalit.

According to the information available, the victim, Mr Avtar Singh Kalsia, was leaving his office in Phase 7 last evening when the suspect, Amrit Lal confronted him and used derogatory language against him. The victim was then slapped and threatened of dire consequences.

Mr Kalsia was admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, after being referred from the Phase 6 Civil Hospital. On the other hand, other employees reportedly received injuries in the scuffle.

Sources said the two employees were at loggerheads in the past to occupy a seat in the anti-encroachment cell. While Mr Kalsi belonged to the camp of the former councillors headed by Mr H.S.Billa, Mr Amrit Lal was loyal to the other group headed by Mr A.S.Mohali.

After being abused by his colleague, the victim reported the matter to the Administrator of the Council, Mr O.P. Popli. The Administrator is inquiring in to the matter.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case under Sections 295-A, 323 and 506 of the IPC against Amrit Lal. However, it could not be ascertained whether any counter complaint had been lodged by Mr Amrit Lal against Mr Kalsia.Back


Man crushed by bus
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 23 — Malu Ram, who was working as a clerk with a Zirakpur based transport company, Punjab Roadlines, was crushed by a Haryana Roadways bus of Yamunanagar depot last evening. The bus was coming from Chandigarh side when the accident took place.

The victim, hailing from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was returning to the office of the transport company after having his food. A case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered by the police on the complaint lodged by the owner of the transport company, Mr Rajinder Singh.Back


Fear of price rise troubles student mind
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 23 — The Budget disinterest theory is wrong. Among teenagers that is. The "annual proclamation of financial catastrophe for families" matters to students too. For them, it is a saucy impertinent devil out to destroy pocket money's magical powers to purchase what "heart desires and daddy permits".

Apprehension is writ large on the fair visages.... "What if the prices of lipsticks and cold creams go up? And if pizzas become more expensive? Where will we go if discothques are forced out of our reach?" These confusing questions are troubling tender minds.

The road to tearing excitement is no less bumpy for the guys living under the constant fear of a hike in petrol prices. How will so many bikers zoom down the geri route with "pocket money the same and petrol expensive?" Deficit financing does not matter... Exemption... "What's that?"

"Cosmetics are what girls wanna have," says second year arts student-cum-ramp model Neha Sharma, "and they, — the government — might make it difficult for us to purchase 'em".

"Life," she grumbles, "is tough for us already. A lipper, costing Rs 45 a few months back, is now costing not less than Rs 60. It might go up. Moisturiser cannot be had for less than Rs 70. I fear after the Budget something like Rs 120 will have to be pulled out of the handbag for it".

Well, Neha is not the only one who is worried. Another second-year student, Ambika Kumar, fears that the phone calls might become dearer. "Telephone," she claims, "is my life. Just can't live without it. I am on it for over five hours a day. Have been wondering how will dad react when he sees the post-Budget bill".

This is not all. She is scared that branded clothes will remain "affordable no more". "Today, the teenagers are under a massive pressure to wear brand names only. Any increase in their prices will ultimately impose burden on the already stressed-up parents".

Standing next to her, outside the Sector 11 college, her friend, Ibadat Deepak, adds: "Everywhere you see there are advertisements asking you to buy commodities at the pre-Budget prices. What about us? We do not want to purchase television sets or refrigerators. Wanna have pizzas, wanna play snooker. We will surely have to pay more..."

"Worried I am for my parents also," she exclaims. "With inflation going up and no end to it in sight, its not going to be comfortable for anyone. I know for I buy groceries."

Hoping for a "positive Budget", she wishes that the prices of movie tickets remain the same. "From Rs 15 to Rs 25, the price has gone up. No more increase, please," she appeals.

"No more increase in the prices of shoes too," cries Sandeep Kaur of Panjab University's Department of Mathematics. "I used to take 800 bucks from my parents for shoes. Then I started taking Rs 1200. Recently I paid Rs 2000... Exempt shoes, for God sake."

Barinder Singh, however, is bothered more about the fuel prices. "They go up every six months," claims the student of Panjab University's Fine Arts Department. "Its becoming impossible for everyone. Worst, its going to have an effect on everything. Even the prices of vegetables and fruits will shoot up."

Kunjana of the Public Administration Department agrees. "Petrol prices should not be increased, nor should the prices of everyday commodities go up. It should be planned with a view to controlling inflation, to provide better quality of life to the unfortunate citizens."

"I rarely discuss the Budget with my friends but also wish it is in the nation's favour," says correspondence student Manjit Singh. "The planners should make sure that everyone is provided with decent clothing and shelter, besides decent wages for their work."

Another university student, Shweta Datta, does not read newspapers. She has never discussed the Budget. She is not bothered about it. "Why should I be. The parents provide everything — from books to jewellery. The Budget is their problem, not mine," she argues.Back


Haryana FC promises relief
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Feb 23 — ‘’The double sales tax on the labour construction societies is under active review with the government and relief in this regard shall soon be granted’’, said the Haryana Financial Commissioner and Secretary, Mr L.M. Goyal, during the inauguration of the Headquarters building of the Haryana State Cooperative Labour and Construction Federation (HSCLCF), in Sector 2, here today.

The new building spread over an area of 645 sq yards has been brought up with a total cost of Rs 35 lakh. The Registrar of the Cooperative Societies, Haryana, informed on the occasion that a committee for updating and amending the bylaws of the Cooperative Societies Act has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Financial Commissioner.

The Managing Director of HSCLCF, Mr Mewa Singh Pattar, said that the federation was playing a pivotal role in generating self- employment avenues among the unemployed youth. He revealed that the limit of clean loans has been raised from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 and in lieu of the pending bills, the loan limit from the banks has been raised from Rs 60,000 to Rs 1,00,000. A Hawan ceremony was also organised.Back


ITI chosen for staff training
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 23 — The local hi-tech Industrial Training Institute (ITI) of the Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training has been selected by the Department of Information System and Administrative Reforms to impart computer training to Punjab Government employees.

The institute was among the 14 institutes selected for the programme in the state. Under the programme training to the officers and staff of the Department of Employment and Labour in batches of 20 each would start on March 13. Mr S.S. Channi, Director Employment, Mr Ripudaman Singh, In-charge, Overseas Employment Cell, along with other officials visited the centre today.

It was announced on the occasion that the hi-tech institute would help in computerisation of all district employment exchanges in the state. The data bank created for the placement of ITI students would be made available on website of Overseas Placement by the Department of Employment System and Administrative Reforms.Back

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