Tuesday, February 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Three die as earth caves in
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 28 — As many as three labourers died after being buried in a cave-in while raising a retaining basement wall in a showroom under construction in Sector 8 here this afternoon. The trio were between 22-25 years of age.

Those killed include Dhanik, Ranjan, both residents of Bihar, and Santa Singh, a local resident. While the former were labourers the latter was a mason. The contractor, Rajinder Singh, a resident of Sector 20, has been arrested for alleged negligence and a case under Section 304 - A, IPC, has been registered at the south police station.

According to eyewitnesses, the trio were working and had hardly raised a three-foot wall when at about 2. 30 p.m. suddenly the earth caved in burying them. They were trapped under the earth, with some of the shuttering equipment lying outside. A wall of a hut built near the edge of the pit also collapsed.

A wailing Mani, younger brother of Dhanik, said they were working nearby, and despite their best efforts could not save the deceased. He said he and his brother had come to the city to earn their livelihood, and he had nobody he could turn to at this moment of grief. I do not know what to do in this alien city, he sobbed.

Fire brigade personnel who dug them out and rushed them to the Sector 16 General Hospital. While two of them were declared brought dead on arrival one was referred to the PGI, where he expired later on. The bodies have been sent for a postmortem.

Police sources said they reportedly died of asphyxiation.Back


British library to be housed in private building
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 28 — A state-of-the-art British Council Library with special information counters for students, businessmen and tourists is all set to become functional by the middle of May this year not at the Sector 10 City Museum but in a private building on Madhya Marg in Sector 8 here.

"Both the Chandigarh Administration and the British Council felt concerned over technical difficulties and worries of denigrating beautiful display of the City Museum building based on Le Corbusier's design.

"We jointly agree that City Museum may not be the ideal site for the library," Ms Catherine Stephans, acting Director of British Council in Delhi, told the Chandigarh Tribune over telephone this afternoon.

"We are looking for some alternative site which is freely accessible by the general public and hope to negotiate a deal in a day or two. We are keen to formally inaugurate the library on May 16," Ms Stephans said, maintaining that it would be as originally envisaged.

The Chandigarh Tribune had taken up the issue of changes proposed in the "prestigious City Museum building" as some of the architects and planners who had designed the building based on a similar building by Le Corbusier in Switzerland with some modifications and subsequently supervised its construction and remodifications felt deeply concerned over the allotment of second and top floor of this "unique building" for the library.

Sources in the Administration reveal that the Chandigarh Administration had been looking for alternative sites to offer to the British Council after reaction from architects and others. A full second floor of a government building in Sector 17 was also shortlisted and offered to the council.

But this Sector 17 site was never visited or inspected by council officials. Instead, they started looking for private accommodation so that they could go ahead with a full-fledged library with all the facilities, including a cyber cafe and a visa counselling office.

Ms Stephans confirmed that City Museum is no more considered for the library and both the Chandigarh Administration and the council are aware of this development.

Ms Stephans said that she had visited Chandigarh and seen the City Museum building. "It is a beautiful building and we share the concern of the Administrator of Chandigarh that this building should not be denigrated. Further, we want that our library building should have more easy and free access for general public," she said.

The library would be equipped with the latest information technology gadgets, including computers, CD ROMs, making online services available to the members of the library. Besides, special counters would assist students seeking information about universities, their admission procedures and other educational facilities available in England.

Likewise, the library would have a section to provide investors or businessmen an opportunity to assess their chances by getting the latest information from the Great Britain at the library. A tourist information centre would assist those seeing to travel to the Great Britain for a holiday.

A visa counselling centre may also be added up to the british Council Library here. Another major attraction of the library would be a cyber cafe which would provide members a highly subsidised online facility.

The proposal to start a British Council Library in Chandigarh was initiated in 1995 when a request to that effect was received by the Administration. It was initially proposed to give a portion of the Museum of Evolution of Life to the british Council for its library. In 1996, the proposal was shelved temporarily for want of funds and other reasons.

But in 1998, it was revived again and the Administration again offered those areas of the Museum of Evolution of Life for the library. This decision was, however, reviewed in December, 1999, as the Administration felt that the Museum Complex was not an ideal place for a facility like a library which would require free access by general public for much longer hours.

Subsequently, the Administration offered some other sites, including one in Sector 34, but finally consensus was reached to allot a portion of the second floor and the terrace of the City Museum for the library.Back


Zirakpur to have health consultants
From Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, Feb 28 — The Zirakpur nagar panchayat has decided to appoint public health consultants to plan and put into effect water supply and sewerage system in the area.

According to the panchayat authorities, the consultants will prepare estimates of laying a sewerage and water supply system sufficient for the residents of the panchayat area in the next 20 years.

The water supply and sewerage system of the nagar panchayat will be given to private agencies on a build-operate-and-transfer (BOT)-basis on terms and conditions worked out by the consultants. They will design the size of the sewer pipes, the slant to be given to the underground pipes, the site of the sewer treatment plant and the cost of setting up the plant.

Mr Amrit Lal Bansal, Executive Officer, said that the panchayat had decided to appoint public health consultants in order to provide the best possible facilities to the residents at the minimum cost. ‘‘Though the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat has a project of Rs 11.5 crore for the water supply and sewerage system, but with the help of public health consultants the cost may be curtailed ,’’ said Mr Bansal.

He said that the proposals prepared by the consultants would be implemented only after these are approved by the residents of the area. A 16 member committee, including seven sarpanches of the villages that have been merged to form the nagar panchayat would be actively involved in the development activities. Back


Census exercise to be computerised
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 28 — The house listing exercise in the town and its peripheral areas for census 2001 is expected to commence within two months. The initial exercise of preparing the village and town directory has already been completed.

A unique feature of the census exercise would be that the entire population data collected by the enumeration staff would be computerised. The data from the census forms filled by the enumeration staff would be scanned, thereby decreasing the time consumed in compiling the information. The field staff would be directed to clearly fill the information form in blue or black ink.

To chalkout the future course of action, the Director of Census, Punjab-cum-Chief Principal Census Officer, chaired a meeting of the district officials at Ropar today. The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, who is the Principal Census Officer, Subdivisional Magistrates (SDMs) of SAS Nagar, Kharar, Ropar and Anandpur Sahib, and the officers in charge the rural and urban areas also attended the meeting.

For the rural area the tehsildar and for the urban areas the executive officer of the civic bodies had been made the officers in charge, respectively. The census would be carried in two phases. In the first phase the exercise of house listing would be carried from May 3 to May 24. The final exercise of population enumeration would begin from February next year. The data till March 1, 2001 would be included in the census.

Seeking cooperation from the public during the census exercise, the Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr O.P. Popli, said the information would be kept confidential. The criteria for demarcation of a block for the purpose of the census was 150 houses or a population of 650. There were 82 villages in the SAS Nagar subdivision besides the area under the local municipal council. Back


‘Smart cards’ by April 15
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 28 — The much-awaited futuristic scheme of the UT Registering and Licensing Authority to provide ‘smart cards’ that will store all information about registered vehicles, owner’s driving licence and challans in a computer chip, is scheduled to start by April 15.

The contract for the scheme was awarded to Tata Infotech, a private company. The company has already started work in the building adjacent to the Municipal Corporation office in Sector 17.

These plastic cards will be like credit cards, in the size of a regular visiting card, but will have a computer chip on them. This chip will store all data regarding the vehicle, the owner, previous owner and data relating to challans etc.

Chandigarh will be the second place in the country after Gujarat to start the project. At present, the Administration and the company have exchanged the terms and conditions of the contract but it is yet to be formally signed. The company had applied for a tender floated by the Administration.

The company is providing for the equipment, the cost of the software and other aspects. The Administration will be providing only the manpower and the space to run the system. Even the training of the staff will be handled by the company. The SDM South-cum-Registering Authority, Mr Ashish Kundra, said: “The smart card readers that will be brought by the police to read the information on the card, may not be required immediately but will be used once a number of smart cards are issued .’’ Back


When the heart beats faster and the mouth goes dry
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 28 — It’s just that time of the year again when the heart beats faster than ever before, the mouth goes dry, the hands sweat, the hours of the day seem to shorten in span, dreams consist of ogre-like-teachers, and parents turn demanding and sterner than ever before. And all those children who are going through the annual grind of final examinations in schools are already experiencing these sensations. The TNS team spoke to some such students of the city to find out that though now was the real “testing time” with all of them finally waiting for the D-Day — the result day — but at the same time television and evening walks were a sure way of beating the tensions and the pressures for most of these kids.

“I am simply dying at this time of the year. In fact the nearer the date of examinations draws, the pressure also builds up accordingly. At this time, when the papers are just round the corner, no great preparations can really be planned, because what is done now cannot be undone”, said Rukhmani, who would be appearing for Class XII non-medical examinations. She also added that since the telephone at her residence was not working, a major distraction had been taken care of.

Her younger sister, Sukhmani, who studies in YPS, Mohali, and is appearing for her Class X examinations said: “I had planned to get up at 5 a.m. and sleep at 12 p.m., but all such plans always flop. I do my own thing, and last evening I even watched ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ on television. Did take off some of the Internet connection, which both of them insist would not have come in the way of their studies “after all”.

Another youngster, Pooja K.P. Suri, a student of Class VIII of St Xavier’s, Sector 44, and one of the toppers of the school also added that she studied with the “television on”. Adding that since she had studied for her examinations the entire year, “it is not a problem for me to study while the television shows pictures, because I turn the volume down”. And how does her mother react? “She does not really mind because what matters is the result at the end”.

A 12th class student of Bhavan Vidyalya, Sector 27, whose first paper is due to commence from March 2, Bikram Bindra, said, “No early hours for me. I prefer getting up at 8 a.m. in the morning, but then I study till late in the night”. Interestingly, this boy was one of the few students who was sticking to his schedule of two hours of study and two hours of play. And what did play constitute? “I watch television and go out for walks and strolls in order to take a break. But outings are certainly a big no, since most of them happen in the evening when I actually sit down and study”, added Bikram.

Meanwhile, an educationist, Mrs Indu Maitra, and the Principal of Sri Aurobindo School of Integral Education, Sector 27, said that what was important at this time of the year was to “reinforce all that one has studied the entire year”. Being a teacher of English literature she also advises the young students to make use of their natural expressions and stay away from any artificial language. Mrs Maitra also added: “This is the time when students should realise that help books are no good. What is now important is the real text, because this would in no manner confuse the mind which is now already clogged with so much information”.

And the advise to parents? “Not to pressurise the wards so much that they reach their breaking point. The parents need to understand and support their children”.

Another student, Kamalpreet Bindra, who studies in Class X of Sacred Heart, Sector 26 said: “Mathematics is one subject that my dad helps me with, otherwise my mother helps me in the rest of the subjects. But at this time when the examinations are just due to start, I tend to sit home and study on my own. And yes, television watching does give me a break of sorts. Also these days I do not indulge in my regular afternoon siestas”. Her school-mate, Seerat, from Class VI added that now the only thing that could be done “is wait patiently for the results”.

Amen to that and best of luck to all!Back


‘Canteens a threat to lives of lawyers, litigants’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 28 — Only “readymade” food would be sold to maintain cleanliness. This was decided when an agreement was signed between the District Bar Association and the contractors of the make-shift canteens within the Sector 17 district courts complex. Today, expert hands dexterously mould the dough into rotis before putting them in the scorching tandoor.

The agreement had also stated that only disposable cups and plates would be used “so that there is no need to clean utensils”, but everywhere you look, you see lawyers and the litigants sitting on the concrete slabs sipping tea from glasses. Worse, orange peels and sauce-coated, crumpled, paper plates are strewn all around as there are no dustbins.

The canteens have been set up at a spot from where the anti-encroachment staff had, a few years ago, uprooted angle iron frames dug deep into the barren ground by the advocates for constructing temporary chambers.

Accusing the canteen contractors of violating the terms and conditions of the agreement, an advocate, in a representation recently made to the Secretary and the President of the District Bar Association, had stated that the washing of the cups and steel thalis was causing “insanitary conditions around the canteens”.

He had added that the canteens were not only a cause of “public nuisance”, but were also a “threat to the lives of the lawyers and the litigants, besides the general public” as a result of the prevailing “unhygienic conditions”.

Asking them to “immediately intervene and stop the preparation and supply of food in steel thalis and glass cups”, the advocate had also threatened “to adopt legal recourse against the contractors” if action was not taken within 15 days from the receipt of the notice. A copy of the representation was also sent to the District and Sessions Judge along with the Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate.

Refuting the allegations regarding the violation of the terms and the conditions, Bar Association President N.K. Nanda stated that only chapatis were being prepared. “The vegetables and all are cooked by them at their residences or are brought here from outside”.

The decision to have the canteens out in the open, away from the building, added Mr Nanda, was taken as the ones inside were a cause of pollution and noise.

Supporting him, member of the canteen committee, Ms. Manjit Kaur stated that action would be taken against the contractors if found violating the terms and conditions. “Practically speaking, adhering to the terms and conditions strictly is not possible, but in case of violations, notices would be sent and action taken”.

Justifying the use of glasses, canteen contractor Nishi Kant asserted: “Initially we were using disposable cups, but had to switch over to glasses after the staff and the lawyers objected.”Back


CPM flays project
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Feb 28 — Prof Balwant Singh, State Secretary of the CPM in Punjab, has said that residents of 28 villages of the Kharar tehsil where the Punjab Government wanted to set up the new city of Anandgarh, should not be misled by the government’s propaganda that they would be given compensation for the land acquired in one instalment and at market rates. He said the government was playing a double game in the Ropar district as well for the land.

According to a press note issued here today, he said the government, on one hand had announced that land owners of these villages would get compensation at market rates in one instalment, and on the other it had published notification on Feb 26 in some newspapers for acquiring land in Mauli, Sohana, Lakhnaur and Raipur near SAS Nagar. He said the government had not made any promise of acquiring land at market rates in this advertisement.

The government had not announced any package for the residents of these villages as in the case of villages proposed to be falling under the Anandgarh project. He said land owners of these villages would have to move from one office to another and one court to another for getting the compensations enhanced.

He asked Mr Parkash Singh Badal to clarify the whole situation and announce the same package for land owners of these villages which he had planned for the villages under the proposed Anandgarh project.Back


Road, water delay functioning of polyclinic
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 28 — Even though the building to accommodate the expansion of the Sector 45 dispensary into a polyclinic is ready, it has not become functional due to lack of a proper approach road and a water connection.

Residents of the area have been waiting for this polyclinic to start functioning. It will be a boon for most of the people residing in the southern sectors, nearby colonies of Sector 31, Colony number 5, Burail and a few nearby areas of SAS Nagar.

Besides routine medical services, it will have two dental units, besides one unit each of gynaecology and eye. There is also a proposal to start a clinic for the mentally retarded.

Sources revealed that though the work on the building was completed nearly two months back, since the water connection was not released by the Municipal Corporation due to certain procedural formalities, the building had not been handed over to the Health Department. The Engineering Department has also not completed the approach road to the polyclinic, nor has the work on campus lighting been undertaken.

The Chief Engineer, Mr R.K Jain said the work on the road, would be completed in about a week, along with the final touches. Since the electricity connection has been given, the building would be handed over shotrly, he added.

The Director, Health Services, UT, Dr Joginder Singh, said the functioning of the polyclinic would start within one week of the charge being given. Doctors from other hospitals and dispensaries would be posted till certain new posts were created, he added. The DHS is learnt to have put forth his proposal before the Administration for creation of new posts, which will refer the same to the Central Government. Back


Police prepares stranger rolls
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 28 — The police, as part of its preventive policing policy, has prepared the stranger rolls of 750 persons. A two-day special drive in this context concluded today.

According to Dr Sagar Preet Hooda, ASP, Central, there was a large number of floating population and a majority of it was staying in parking lots and in some residential areas. The idea was to take preventive action which would act as a deterrent for anti-social elements.

The persons, who could not furnish proof of their antecedents, were rounded up and brought to the police stations. Subsequently, their particulars were taken down and they were let off.

It is pertinent to note that there have been no thefts in the past two days and going by its success, the drive would be carried out at regular intervals, the ASP added.Back


Encroachments, filth, crime abound
By Gautam Dheer

PANCHKULA, Feb 28 — Unauthorised extension of villages in Panchkula is continuing alarmingly.

Over 12 villages and colonies in the township account for more than 40,000 of the total population. Almost every village and colony has extended from its permissible limits and has been violating the bylaws.

An increase in the population of migrant labour in colonies and villages, coupled with the inefficiency of the authorities concerned, has led to a situation where some of these have almost doubled in the area.

There is hardly any forum where this issue has not been raised by the sector residents but to no effect. Open spaces, green belts and plots close to the villages have not been spared. Commercial outlets are being run on encroached land.

Residents lament that the anti-encroachment drives undertaken by the Enforcement Wing of the HUDA, on the directions of the High Court, is just an eye-wash.

Contrary to achieving desired results, the wing targeted small jhuggis and road-side vends. These come up at same site due to the slackness of the authorities concerned.

Residents allege that not a single attempt has been initiated by the HUDA to remove encroachments made by the villagers on open spaces, green belts and plots.

Villagers use open spaces for their cattle and have made cattle sheds. The Residents Welfare Association, Sector 12, complains that the villagers use the open spaces in front of houses as dust-bins.

Water-logging on roads and unoccupied plots is a common sight. Residents of Sector 17 apprehend that Rajiv Colony, which is extending, will soon reach their doorstep. The vacant space close to the road dividing sectors 16 and 17 is full of filth.

Residents complain that the residential and commercial sites close to the outer extension of villages have low rentals. Many of these extensions and encroachments have reportedly been sold or sublet to others.

The President of the Citizens Welfare Association Mr S.K. Nayar, has alleged that since there is hardly any drive to check the antecedents of the occupants, especially in outer encroached extensions, the crime rate in the township has been on the rise.Back


Girl found in unconscious state
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 28 — The police today found a four-year-old girl in an unconscious condition near the jungle adjacent to the causeway in the Industrial Area here this afternoon.

According to police sources, there were strangulation marks on her neck and she appeared to have been roughed up. She was rushed to the PGI, where doctors attending on her have reportedly ruled out the possibility of rape. She is yet to gain consciousness

Efforts were afoot to ascertain the identity of the girl who appeared to be of Nepalese origin. Sources said she could have been brought with the intention of being molested but had been abandoned out of fear.

A case under Section 367, IPC, has been registered at the Industrial Area police station. All city police stations have been alerted so that her identity could be known in case her parents had lodged a missing person report.

Abducted: Mr Surinder Mishra, a resident of Hallo Majra, reported that his daughter has been abducted by Ram Dass, a resident of Bihar. A case under Sections 363\366, IPC, has been registered.

Helmet stolen: The police has arrested Vijay Kumar, a resident of Sector 19, on the charge of stealing a helmet. A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.

Assaulted: Mr Sukhdev Kumar, a resident of Sector 15, reported that Gurinder Singh and Jatinder Singh, residents of the same sector, assaulted him and injured him with a knife.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested two persons from different parts of the city and seized 49 bottles of liquor from them.

Fateh Singh, a resident of Phase II, was arrested from Hallo Majra village with 37 bottles of whisky. Manoj Singh, a resident of Ram Darbar, was arrested from the colony with 32 bottles of liquor.

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

Purse snatched: Jayota Sahota, a resident of Sector 44, complained that her purse was snatched in Sector 44. The purse contained her bank-locker keys, one gold bracelet and about Rs 3,000 in cash.

A case under Sections 356 and 379 of the IPC has been registered.Back


Charged with giving false information
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Feb 28 — The local police on Monday filed a complaint against Jaswinder Kaur, of Rora village under Section 182 of the IPC for giving false information to the police in the court of Ms Neelam Arora, Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate. The court issued summons to the accused for April 26. According to the police, this action was taken as the accused had been sending complaints against the Sarpanch, panches and prominent residents of the village, levelling allegations, which on inquiry, were found to be false.Back


MCC panel to allot tender for cement supply
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 28 — The special meeting of the Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) today decided to allot tender for the supply of 15,000 bags of ordinary portland cement for the central store.

In another decision, the committee decided to allow a budding 18-year-old amateur photographer, Surkhab Shaukin, to exhibit his solo photographs from March 2 to 5 opposite Neelam Cinema in Sector 17.

The permission to exhibit photographs has been given to promote talent and encourage youngsters to come forward with new ideas and develop their creativity, according to a press note.Back

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