Saturday, March 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT nets Rs 58.68 crore through auction of liquor vends
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — The Chandigarh Administration netted a whopping Rs 58. 68 crore through auction of 59 liquor vends in the city here this morning. This is Rs 4. 34 crore, or 8 per cent, more than last year’s auction when a sum of Rs 54. 34 crore was netted.

This year Excise Department officials also initiated a new method of auctioning the vends. Instead of dividing the vends in 10 groups, as was the case last year, this year the department divided the vends in 5 groups. This increased the number of vends in each group while forcing the bidders to bid at higher prices if they wanted to get rights for one group of vends.

A total of 270 bidders had participated in the auction that was conducted by Mr H.K. Nagpal, Deputy Excise Taxation Commissioner-cum-Collector, Excise, at the Tagore Theatre.

The sharpest hike has been witnessed in group number 1 that comprises the eastern part of the city. The revenue jumped from Rs 12. 50 crore to Rs 14.12 crore, a hike of 12.95 per cent. On the other hand, the least rise in revenue is from the vends located in the central sectors like Sector 22, 17, 35, 20, 21 and Attawa. The rise was from Rs 11.54 crore to Rs 11. 78 crore, a hike of only 2. 06 percent.

This year the rise in revenue for the department comes as a surprise because vends in Panchkula district have been auctioned for Rs 3 crore less than last year.

The hike in revenue is the highest in the past decade but only when the sudden hike in revenue in 1997-98 is not taken into account. Then Mr Bansi Lal, Haryana Chief Minister, had imposed prohibition in his state and several traders from Haryana had bid for vends in the city and the revenue jumped by Rs 9 crore from Rs 45 crore to Rs 54 crore. However, the very next year the revenue had dropped by Rs 3 crore and the administration had managed only Rs 51 crore.

The Chandigarh Administration has added another channel of liquor supply from the distiller to the retailer. A new licence in the form of L-1B/ L-1C/ L-1D has been introduced and it will be compulsory for distiller’s or bottlers to procure this licence.

CITCO has also been allocated a L-1 ( wholesale) licence and it will be mandatory for all distillers to supply liquor to CITCO.

Adding to the list of wines available at provision stores the department has allowed the sale of Scotch bottled abroad without paying the label registration fee. Sale of imported canned beer has also been permitted from these stores. Sale of wines from provision stores was started two years ago and the scheme has not gone down well with the bidders who bid for vends in the auction.Back


Jacob wants strict adherence to guidelines
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — The Chandigarh Administration has decided to strictly enforce various instructions and guidelines, issued from time to time, on fiscal management and austerity to contain avoidable wasteful expenditure. The Administrator, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), is reported to have expressed his”unhappiness” over flouting of instructions and guidelines, especially those pertaining to use of official vehicles on outstation assignments and on consumption of petrol.

The Finance Department of the Administration has re-circulated all these guidelines and instructions following approval by General Jacob.

The Finance Secretary, Mr Rakesh Singh, confirmed that guidelines and instructions have been issued afresh for strict compliance. The controlling officers, accounts officers and accounts functionaries, besides the officers concerned, have been instructed to comply with the guidelines and bills in excess of the prescribed limits and entitlements would not be cleared.

The latest order of the Finance Department said that it was a matter of concern that despite guidelines, tangible steps have not been taken by the departments to control the growth of expenditure.

For example, the Administration in 1990 imposed a ban on the use of motor cars while on tour to Delhi or other outstation destinations. Accor-ding to the instructions, motor cars could be taken on outstation tours. Prior permission of the Adviser to the Administrator through the Administrative Secretary of the Department is mandatory.

This ban is also applicable on boards and corporations of the Administration. The officers concerned can travel by air, rail or bus as per their entitlement. The Admi-nistrator wants meticulous compliance of these instructions.

For travelling in Shatabdi’s Execu-tive Class, the eligible or entitled category is of officers in the pay range of Rs 16,400 or above. The officers entitled to Executive Class have the discretion to take their car to Delhi or outstation destination subject to the prior approval of the Adviser to the Administrator.

The Administration is also keen to ensure economy in the consumption of petrol and diesel in government vehicles, including staff cars. Though the original guidelines were issued in 1992, the latest circular reiterates these guidelines and entitlements. For example, pooled vehicles and vehicles at the disposal of the Secretaries, Inspector-General of Police, Commissioner of Munici-pal Corporation, Deputy Commissioner, Chief Engineers of both the Chandigarh Administration and the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation are entitled to 150 litres a month

It was in September, 1992, that the Administration also introduced instructions on the use of STD facilities on the residential telephone lines of all officers except the Home Secretary, Finance Secretary, Chief Engineer, Chief Architect, Secreta-ry, Medical Education and Research and Inspector-general of Police already stood withdrawn. These instructions have been reiterated afresh for strict compliance. In view of the multifarious functions, both the Commissioner of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and the Deputy Commissioner are also allowed the STD facility at their residential telephone lines.

For the extension of this facility on any other residential line, the approval of the Adviser to the Administrator has been made mandatory.

The order further says that the tour programme, leave, including station leave, of Administrative secretaries, IAS and IPS officers, Chief Engi-neers of Administration, Municipal Corporation and the Chandigarh Housing Board, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation and Dire-ctor, Health Services, should be approved by the Adviser to the Administrator through their respective controlling officers.Back


KB Goel “not tortured’’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — Directing the prosecution to give three days notice to UT Secretarial Employees Welfare Association “President” K.B. Goel before his arrest “if any case is registered on the basis of an alleged statement given by him”, UT Additional District and Sessions Judge S.S. Lamba today observed that the petitioner, “it seems,” was not tortured. Pronouncing the orders in the open court, the Additional Sessions Judge observed: “In the present bail application it was alleged that the petitioner has been subjected to torture. Subsequently, Mrs. Anurag Goel, wife of the petitioner, made a statement on

March 19 before the SDM in the presence of the Deputy Commissioner”.

The Additional Sessions Judge also observed: “After pursuing his statement recorded by the SDM, Mr. Ashish Kundra, on March 20, as well as, statement of his wife recorded by the SDM on March 19, I find that the allegations of torture made in the affidavit of Mrs. Anurag Goel, as well as, the affidavit of the petitioner dated March 15, attached with the petition, stand retracted and as such, it seems that no such torture was made”.

The Additional Sessions Judge further observed: “If any case is registered on the basis of the alleged statement given by him then the petitioner shall be given three day’s notice before his arrest, if intended”.

Mr Goel, apprehending his arrest by the “police or the vigilance cell in some false criminal case”, had earlier filed an application for the grant of anticipatory bail.

His counsel had stated that the applicant was questioned regarding three complaints earlier forwarded to the Central Bureau of Investigation for enquiry.

He had added that in order to “harass and humiliate” the petitioner, certain directions were issued by senior officers of the UT Administration to vigilance cell on basis of which Inspector, Vigilance, sent notice on March 13 to petitioner asking him to attend office in connection with some secret enquiry”.Back


Justice seems a far cry as lawyers’ strike continues
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — It is justice adjourned. For countless days, Mr Qimti Lal Malhotra, and so many other litigants have climbed up the narrow dingy stairways of the Sector 17 District Courts, hoping for justice, only to be told that their cases have been adjourned once again because of the lawyers' strike.

In the fight between advocates, the government and the Delhi police, litigants claim to be the silent victims. They do not complain, cannot complain. Noiselessly, they march up to readers in court rooms, ask for the next date of hearing and depart — sullen, exhausted and bored.

"The advocates are right, the reason for the strike is justified. They should not have been lathicharged by the police. They were just protesting," say some of the litigants.

Others say that, "Even the government is not entirely wrong in amending the Civil Procedure Code, also perhaps the Advocates Act". All, however, agree that the proceeding should not be delayed. "Why should an innocent litigant suffer. He deserves speedy justice. It is his fundamental right," they say.

Sitting on a concrete bench outside a courtroom along with his colleagues, Mr Qimti Lal Malhotra says, "Three or four times, the case had to be adjourned due to the strike. Our interests are being adversely affected as a result of the delay."

The Divisional Accounts Officer in the Punjab Accountant General's office, Mr Malhotra, says, "The heads of accounts of the Irrigation Department were ordered to be attached by various courts, following dispute with the contractors. Though the salaries were ordered to be released by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, other payments, including the electricity bills, the telephone bills and the water-supply bills have not been released."

"Things are so bad that unhygienic conditions are prevailing due to the lack of water supply. We are desperately hoping for the strike to end soon," he adds.

Standing next to him, Mr Radhay Sham, looks worried. Requesting his daughter-in-law to catch hold of his two grandsons playing in the dust, he complains with folded hands, "Strike is causing a lot of inconvenience to us, sahib. No one appears to be working."

A rickshaw-puller does not know why advocates have proceeded on strike, does not know what the CPC means and has no idea about the lathi charge. "All I know is that my son was picked up by the police from a factory and is behind bars," he says.

Mr Inderjeet Singh is facing the dilemma of a different kind because of the strike. "I want a stay in a civil matter, but, the suit has been adjourned two or three times. The advocates are not appearing in the court and I do not want to argue the case myself. I might miss some point."

Litigants are not the only ones facing problems. Mr S.P. Singh who has come here from Bhatinda, says, "I was called by the Bar Council for registration as an advocate, but, was informed about the strike on reaching Chandigarh."


The situation is even more acute in the Panchkula courts since the lawyers here have been often on strike since the beginning of the year for one reason or another.

Parvati Devi, 61-year-old, comes to the courts from a village in Kalka to attend proceedings in a murder case. She is accompanied by her husband and son and is disgusted with the constant adjournments. She says, "The case has been going on for a few years now, but, so many adjournments have never taken place. Everytime we hope to see a progress in the case, but, have to return disillusioned. Also, we can ill-afford the travel expenses since the case has already taken up most of our life's savings.''

In a family-dispute case, Ms Charanjit Kaur commutes from Patiala to here for the court dates, only to find another adjournment slapped on her. "I am one of the complainants and have to be present. This upsets my family life and daily schedule. Even after this, justice seems a far cry and the lawyers' strike seems endless,'' she says.

She adds that the case began before she got married, when she was a resident of Pinjore. However, in the seven to eight years of the proceedings, the case has never been adjourned so many times at a stretch, she says. "My old father, who has to be hospitalised often, is also put to a lot of inconvenience. He has to move between the courts and the hospital regularly and feels tired at the end of the day, even though nothing is achieved. Also, commuting from Patiala for dates which never seem to materialise is straining my family life,'' she says.

Another litigant, Mr Rajesh Lal, is a resident of Morni who is entangled in a property dispute. "My case began in December past year and has still not seen the light of day. Whatever be the reasons for the strike, lawyers are harming our interests and continue to burn holes in our pockets. My first experience of them has been bad, since all I have got is constant adjournments after filing my case,'' he says.Back


Noise pollution in Chandigarh
By Anuradha

CONSEQUENT to the instructions of UT Inspector-General of Police, Mr. S.K. Singh, Chandigarh Police has started taking concrete action against people using loudspeakers at high pitch as well as those using them after 10 p.m. It is heartening to note that they immediately swing into action on receiving a complaint at telephone number 100. But are the people of the City Beautiful so apathetic to the plight of their fellow citizens, especially students and old people, that they need the iron hand of law to cultivate (or rather impose) in them a sense of social responsibility?

A large number of people, who have been living for decades in this city, are upset over the dwindling peace and deteriorating quality of life in Chandigarh. Even by shutting up in the farthest room of the house, one cannot help but listen to each and every word of the sermon going on in the nearby religious place, the preacher thinking it to be his sacred duty to compel everybody to listen to his sermons through loudspeaker. He begins this phenomenon early in the morning, creating hell for the students whose exams are going on. In the present-day world of tough competition, diligent students burn daily midnight oil and go to bed after studying till 2 or 3 in the morning to get good marks.

Just imagine their plight when loudspeakers blare at social functions till midnight and those fitted on rooftop of temples and gurdwaras start blaring at 4 am. Whatever the religion — Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam or Christianity —each emphasises that if you do your duty sincerely, you serve the Almighty in the best possible way. So, when the students follow the good advice written in religious books by doing their duty i.e. studying sincerely, why do the self-styled ‘representatives & true servants of God’ create hurdles in their way by using loudspeakers at maximum pitch?

Aditi Sharma, a marketing executive, says: “It is a nuisance not only for students, but for the sick people and senior citizens too. Tarunveer of St. John’s School finds if difficult to concentrate on his studies when loudspeakers blare at full volume. He opines, “Society should follow certain norms and inculcate a sense of self discipline in the citizens to enable everyone to do his work with a free mind. This is very important for our country to prosper.”

The priests are not the only ones to be blamed in this context. Many devotees of the goddess (Durga maa, Vaishno Devi and the like), in order to atone for their sins, do jagrata wherein they consider it their duty to put up loudspeakers to keep the neighbours awake the whole night. Does a true devotee need to show off his devotion? Definitely not. A silent, sincere prayer is much more effective than shouting and singing at full voice through loudspeakers. Rather one becomes disciple of devil by creating such a great noise pollution and inconvenience to neighbours.

Community centres and social clubs situated in grounds adjoining residential houses, too, create problems for students and neighbours. Burdened with high tension of approaching exams on their minds, the students endeavour to study as long as their tired eyes and brain allow them. But these poor souls are hit hard by the loudspeakers put up in community centres and social clubs to celebrate some marriage function, dealers meet, dance party, social get together and the like. The hungama at such places goes on till midnight and the hapless students can do nothing but to pull their hair. Many a time, the permission to use a loudspeaker is not taken. And even in those cases, where permission has been taken, nobody follows the conditions laid down in the permission letter. (And nobody bothers to get the conditions implemented). Leaving aside the technical jagraon of mentioning the maximum permissible volume of loudspeakers in decibels, in a layman’s language, the permission letter puts a condition that voice of the loudspeaker will remain within the four walls of the hall in which it is placed. But that is the theoretical part. In practice, even by putting cotton into their ears, people living in the vicinity cannot help but listen, so high is the volume of the loudspeaker. A comlaint lodged with police at telephone number 100 (Police Control Room) brings — the desired result, but for a brief period. After the police Gypsy goes away, majority of users again starts blaring the loudspeaker blaring at full throttle.

Shweta Gupta of MCM DAV College feels disappointed and frustrated, unable to do anything to control the nuisance created by a Janj Ghar opposite her house. Ho Halla of marriage held near the exam days, makes her life miserable. Moreover, it is a perennial problem for her aged grandmother. “Noise spoils the whole environment and badly affects the study schedule of students”, says Renuka Salwan, Deputy Director, Bureau of Indian Standards, “What to talk of the uneducated or the little educated people, many affluent and well educated persons too behave in a very irresponsible manner in this matter.”

The Western lifestyle and thinking of Indian people have added a new dimension to noise pollution. Whether it is Daler Mehndi Night, Bhupi Night, or the like, the organisers (which unfortunately, in some cases, include Chandigarh Administration and Chandigarh Municipal Corporation) consider it their duty to compel the whole city to listen to the singers. And this goes on well past midnight.Back


Mohali civic poll in May
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, March 24 — Decks for holding elections to the SAS Nagar Municipal Council have been cleared with the Punjab Govern-ment issuing a fresh list of delimited wards of the council. The irregularities pointed out by former councillors of the Municipal Council and residents of the town have been rectified.

Sources in the local government said that with the confusion over the delimited wards over elections to the council could be held in May or June. The government has already announced elections to other civic bodies on May 28.

The Principal Secretary, Local Government Department, Mr N.K. Arora, when contacted said that efforts were being made to hold elections to the council along with the general elections to other civic bodies.

In the revised notification the total number of wards remain 27 and no change had been made in the reservation of wards for different categories of candidates. The ward no. 1 has been reserved for a woman Scheduled Caste candidate, wards 14 and 20 have been reserved for general Scheduled Caste candidates. The wards reserved for women candidates were 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22 and 25. The wards reser-ved for general category candidates are 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 18, 21, 23, 24, 26 and 27. Ward no. 17 has been reserved for a Backward Caste candidate.

A study of the copy of the revised list of delimited wards reveals that the wards had been demarcated on the basis of geographical compactness and physical features. The earlier procedure to demarcate wards on the basis of the name of occupants of houses, which had added to confusion had been done away with. For example, in Ward no. 3, earlier there was mention of Gali Ami Chand but now the demarcation had been done on the basis of roads and house numbers. Back


Panchkula in for major facelift
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, March 24 — The township is in for a major facelift and the process of operation clean-up is already underway in Sector 2 with all departments of the Haryana Urban Development Authority pitching in and contributing their mite to improving sectors.

One week has been allotted to the “cleansing act” in each sector under the integrated sectorwise inspection programme which began in Sector 2 today. The department plans to go through the various problems of encroachments and sanitation with a fine tooth comb during the entire week and move on to the next sector after addressing these.

The Estate Office of HUDA will also tackle the issue of non-payment of dues or delay in payments by allottees following which notices will be issued to the erring consumers. Site inspection will be carried out in the sector by the survey branch to check misuse of residential areas after which resumption notices will be issued for any violations.

The problem of insanitary conditions will be taken up on a priority basis. The sector, divided in three blocks and on contract for sanitation, will have 30 to 40 sweepers looking after the general cleanliness. Also, additional sweepers will be deployed to hasten the drive in the sector.

With a nullah running through the sector, the Horticulture Wing will look into the possibility of developing the open space into a park and the general upkeep of open spaces and already existing parks will come under close scrutiny. Also, the enforcement wing will remove encroachments of all kinds in violation of the HUDA Act from the sector.

The Engineering department will undertake repair of roads within the sector and carry out exercises for patchwork. Cleaning up of sewerlines and manholes along with strong water gullies and dressing up of road berms will also be completed within the allotted time.

The men of the Electricity Wing of HUDA have been entrusted the task of checking the street lights at night and rectification of faulty ones will be taken up. An inspection for the same was carried out today night by the officers concerned.

“This is a beginning to the programme which will be spread throughout the entire township gradually. To address the problems to the best of our ability we will also hold meeting with the residents’ welfare associations of the sectors which are taken up and attend to these to their satisfaction,” Mr Abhilaksh Likhi, Administrator, HUDA, said, while speaking of the ambitious programme.Back


Water, sewerage rates hiked
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, March 24 — The local municipal committee at its meeting held here today under the presidentship of Mr Ranbir Singh passed estimates of about 69 development works amounting to Rs 45 lakh and increased the rates of water supply and sewerage charges.

Mr Gian Chand Gupta, Executive Officer of the committee, said the committee adopted the house tax assessment for 2000-2001. It decided to take legal action against 10 shopkeeper who had failed to make payment of rent of these shops, amounting to about Rs 5 lakh.

The committee decided to increase the water charges to Rs 50 per connection per month for residential houses and Rs 100 per connection for commercial purposes per month. It also decided to increase charges of sewerage to Rs 25 per month for two seats and Rs 50 for commercial buildings.Back


RPLI celebrates 5th anniversary
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) celebrates its 5th anniversary today. The scheme, started in 1995 to give social security to rural villagers, especially women and weaker sections, had procured 7,28,144 policies by the end of 1999 with sum assured of Rs 2210.25 crore.

This information has been given by the Deputy Divisional Manager (PLI), Punjab Circle, in a press note issued here today.

The scheme is providing five types of policies — Gram Santosh, Gram Sumangal, Gram Suraksha, Gram Suvidha and Gram Priya — and has widest network in the country for purchase of policy and deposit of subsequent premium.

All adults between the age groups of 19 and 45 are covered under the scheme. An insurance seeker can choose to pay premium on monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly basis depending on his capacity to pay. Rebate of 1 per cent and 2 per cent is allowed on six-monthly and yearly advance payment of premium, respectively.

Rural PLI was started in Punjab Postal circle during August, 1995. The scheme had 4965 policies during 1995-96 with a sum assured of Rs 9,76,91,000. The number of RPLI policies upto February, 2000, increased to 9,597 in Punjab circle with sum assured of Rs 21,69,94,000. Recently, in the month of March, 2000, 26 Rural PLI melas were held in Punjab circle to popularise the scheme among the rural inhabitants.Back

‘Speed post becoming popular’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — There has been a multifold increase in speed post business in Chandigarh, says Mr S.P. Jain, Senior Superintendent of Posts, Chandigarh.

Talking to newsmen here this afternoon, Mr Jain said against a revenue collection of Rs 67.86 lakh from speed post in 1998-99, the turnover increased to Rs 90.39 lakh during 1999-2000. Expressing hope that it would cross the Rs 1 crore mark during the current financial year, Mr Jain said speed post facility was available at all 44 post offices in Chandigarh and in seven in SAS Nagar, Kharar and Morinda.

Talking about the quality of service, he said between April 1999 and February this year, 2,29,219 articles were booked by speed post. The percentage of complaints was 0.26, of which 0.20 complaints had been satisfactorily redressed and settled, he added.

Mr Jain said a customer care-cum-business centre has been set up at the Sector 17 General Post Office to mitigate public complaints and to receive suggestions for betterment of services.

The speed post facility at all post offices is available from 9 am to 4 pm and at the GPO from 9 am to 7 pm. From 7 pm to 5 am, the speed post booking facility is available at the Sector 17 RMS counter.

He said there was no proposal of agents or agencies booking speed post articles or express parcels. While speed post facility was available for international delivery also, express parcel service was only for dometic sector, he clarified.

He said after the origin of Speed Post on August 1, 1986, the service has been extended from six metros to 97 domestic and 97 international speed post centres.

Mr Jain said speed post and express parcel were economical and efficient. Speed post service was becoming popular, he claimed.

He said since Chandigarh and SAS Nagar had big institutions, industrial units and banks, many prospective consumers were not aware of the benefits and advantages of the speed post. Pick-up service and incentives were available, he further said.

He claimed that any local mail booked through speed post before noon was delivered the same day but for local mail booked after 12 noon, delivery was the next day. For international delivery, it took three to five days, depending upon flight schedule and local customs requirements, he added.Back


Woes of Modern Housing residents
By Arvind Katyal

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — The Modern Housing Complex, Manimajra, which came up more than eight years back and was built by the Chandigarh Housing Board with more than 2280 multistoreyed flats and nearly 700 independent duplex houses has always received a step-motherly treatment. The planners never actually took the major consideration like constructing a proper approach road. Interestingly the exit route for Chandigarh from the complex is via the Railway Phatak near Manimajra which has become a hindrance for the people as scores of people line up near the railway crossing during morning and evening hours to let the train or sometimes only the engine to pass by. The filthy atmosphere with heaps of garbage dumped near the crossing makes the atmosphere even more repulsive for residents.

The picture above shows how the tree stands almost in the middle of the road leading to the complex and to old Manimajra. It has become an accident-prone area as in the absence of streetlights, the commuters always have the fear of hitting the tree.

The residents say when in other parts of city, the trees could be cut for making a way for slip-roads, why was this tree left out, which is a virtual deathtrap. Just opposite this tree, the entrance to the complex is also blocked by huge six-foot walls on both sides which creates an obstruction for vehicle owners, thus again a serious traffic hazard.

On March 12 local MP Pawan Bansal visited the complex and seeing the gravity of the genuine problems faced by residents announced the release of six lakhs per annum from his MPLAD fund for improvement of facilities at the parks. That was indeed commendable as some effort has been made or thought of by someone. Will the Municipal Corporation also come to the rescue of this more than 15000-odd population of the complex?Back


Government should resign: local SAD chief
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — The Central Coordination Committee of All Gurdwaras and Sikh Institutions has demanded the resignations of the Central and the Jammu and Kashmir Governments on "moral grounds" for their failure to prevent the Chatti Singhpura massacre in the Kashmir Valley.

Demanding this at a press conference here today, the Chairman of the committee and the local SAD chief, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, also demanded a probe, either by an independent international agency or by two retired Judges of the Supreme Court, into the incident and punishment to the culprits.

Mr Riar declined to answer repeated questions by mediapersons on whether the SAD, part of the Vajpayee Government, should withdraw support from the government. "I am raising the demand for the resignation only as the Chairman of the committee," he said. He also said Mr Parkash Singh Badal should answer question regarding the withdrawal of support to the NDA government.

He criticised terrorism and "state-sponsored terrorism" alike. He also demanded sealing-off the border and put an end to "corruption" on the border.

He demanded Rs 10 lakh and job for the next of the kin of each Sikh killed in the incident. He advised Kashmiri Sikhs not to leave the valley as they had the support of the countrymen.

Mr Riar said an all-religion march would be organised on March 26, beginning from the Sector 34 gurdwara, in protest against the killings. A memorandum would be submitted to the Punjab Governor and the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), at the end of the protest, he added.Back

Institute assails Sikhs’ killing
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — The Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, has condemned the killing of 36 innocent Sikhs in Kashmir and expressed its sympathies to the bereaved families.

Taking into consideration the circumstances leading to the event, information available and the precedents of earlier such actions in Punjab and Kashmir, the institute, says a press note, has tried to understand the event of mass murder in Chatti Singhpora in proper perspective.

Those who have probed and monitored the history of communal violence in Punjab and Kashmir, and are aware that certain forces, like the ‘‘vigilance groups’’, have been operating in a clandestine way to set in motion a vicious cycle of violence and counter-violence. The underlying motive being to wipe out the Sikhs in J&K.

The institute has requested the Sikhs, particularly, in J and K and Punjab, not to react violently. Under no circumstances must they make it a Sikh-Muslim conflict.

The statement, signed by Dr G.S. Dhillon (president of the Institute and several others) called upon the human rights organisations in India and abroad to arrange for an impartial probe, transcending national boundaries. The responsibility for the crime must be fixed and perpetrators severely punished and forces behind the massacre must be exposed and condemned, it added.Back


When will Siswan-Baddi road materialise?
By Rajendra Sharma
Tribune News service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — When will the 4-km road linking Siswan village in Ropar district of Punjab with the Baddi industrial hub in Himachal Pradesh be constructed? Ask this question to any bureaucrat or technocrat of Punjab. They just shrug their shoulders and can’t say anything definite. And if you persuade them to explain the reason for their evasive attitude, pat comes the reply: “How can we fix any deadline until the state government releases the necessary funds?”

What amount is needed? Only Rs 2.5 crore — a paltry sum for any state government to complete an important project that seems to have been abandoned.

The construction of this road has been hanging fire for the past three years when the dam was constructed across the Siswan river in 1998. The existing kutcha road linking Siswan with Baddi had been submerged in the dam reservoir. What the Punjab Government is required to do is to realign this 4-km track of road along the hills on the right side of the dam.

Had this road been constructed, it would have reduced the distance between Chandigarh and Baddi to only 21 km. Now the distance one has to cover via Pinjore to reach Baddi is about 45km. It would have also cut the distance between Ludhiana and Baddi to 105 km as against 145 km now via Pinjore. This would have helped Ludhiana industrialists transact business quicker with their counterparts in Himachal Pradesh

This road, when built, would go a long way in considerably reducing the heavy traffic on the Chandigarh-Pinjore road, apart from minimising accidents.

Knowledgeable sources say that the Himachal Pradesh Government has already constructed a bridge in its territory and linked it with Punjab. Haryana, too has constructed the road in its area. It is the Punjab Government that has been dragging its feet on completing the portion of the road falling in its territory.

The completion of this road would also help Punjab earn more revenue. Officials reveal that a tourist resort was planned on the bank of the dam. A lake on the pattern of the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh was also to have been created. Additionally, it would boost to fishery development.

Asked why the dam was given precedence over the road linking Siswan with Baddi, officials reveal that the dam was constructed to provide water to irrigate 25,000 acres of land falling in Hoshiarpur, Sultanpur Majra town, Taqipur, Kansala, Kartarpur, Paraul, and Bharaujian villages. Farmers of these areas were affected year after year by floods in the catchment area. The fertile soil of these villages was eroded and their fields were ravaged.

The dam has checked floods and started irrigating the area under its command. The result is that the economic condition of farmers in this belt has considerably imporved. Now shallow tubewells can be drilled at low cost and agriculture production has gone up manifold. Land prices in these areas have skyrocketed.

Hoping that the link road would be constructed, if not in the near future, after some time, a large number of politicians and bureaucrats have purchased land at Siswan village. As one travels, one notices that a large number of farm houses and beautiful residential houses have sprung up on the foothills.

The gain of farmers in Ropar district is, however, the loss of industrialists and workers at Baddi. They find it difficult to send their children to public schools in Chandigarh. The distance between Baddi and Chandigarh has created problems for industrial workers in getting medical care soon in the event of any mishap at big hospitals in Chandigarh like the P.G.I. and General Hospital.Back


Appliances for disabled children
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — The Adviser to the Administrator of Chandigarh, Mrs Vineeta Rai, today gave away aids to appliances to 25 disabled children of Prayaas in Sector 38 here. Out of the beneficiaries, some children are deaf and dumb, while others are orthopaedically handicapped.

The generous contributions have been made by Dr Harish Chander Suri, Chander Charitable Trust and Inner Wheel Club of Chandigarh. The consultants of the Prayaas, Dr Prabha D. Singh, Dr SBS Mann, Dr SS Gill and Dr Usha Singh were also felicitated.

The Adviser lauded the efforts of the organisation for training these special children to fight with the disabilities. She also appreciated the efforts of the doctors and parents.

Earlier, a deaf child welcomed Mrs Rai by reciting a poem while other students presented bhangra.Back


50 women get sewing machines
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — On the completion of a six-month training course in tailoring and sewing, the Mayor, Ms Shanta Abhilashi, today distributed certificates and sewing machines among 50 woman slum-dwellers in Colony number 5 here.

The training programme was started by the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh under the “Swaran jayanti sehri rozgar yojana” of the Central Government. Under the scheme, a loan of Rs 50,000 is given to people living below poverty line through banks on easy instalments. In addition, there is provision of a subsidy of 15 per cent of the total amount.

Under the scheme, the civic body had entrusted the Lions Club (Midtown) with the task of making the women self-sufficient and run vocational courses. Over 60 women had got six-month training in sewing and tailoring and Rs 75,000 had been spent.

Commending the work done by the club, the Mayor expressed the hope that community development programmes would continue in the future also. She also wished a bright future to the women, who were given sewing machines for earning their livelihood.

Earlier, the Mayor inaugurated a one-day TB camp, organised by Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, at Maloya.

She, along with the Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Vineeta Rai, also distributed medical aids and appliances among mentally and hearing challenged children of Prayaas in Sector 38.Back


Burglars strike twice in 48 hours in Mohali
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, March 24 — Burglars struck at separate places in the town in the last 48 hours and decamped with cash, jewellery and electronic items. According to the information available, burglars broke glasses of at least three cars parked in front of houses in Phase 5 here. They took away stereo from one vehicle. They struck in the wee hours this morning.

The thieves, who had come in a jeep stolen from Phase 1, first broke the glasses of a car parked in front of house no 1724 and took away the car stereo. When the owner of one of the other cars woke up, the burglars escaped.

In another incident, burglars broke into the house of a former municipal councillor, Ms Prabhjot Kaur, in Phase 7 here yesterday. The occupants of the house were away when the burglars struck.

In a complaint lodged with the police, the husband of the councillor, Mr M.D.Sodhi, said the burglars took away cash and jewellery valued at around Rs 45,000.

Police inaction: Mr Tejinder Singh Sodhi lamented that the SAS Nagar police had failed to arrest the erring driver of the car which was involved in an accident with a moped on which his two daughters, Jasbir and Meenu were riding.

The two girls were seriously injured in the accident, which took place near Rose Garden in Phase 3B 2 here recently.

Mr Sodhi lamented that despite repeated visits to the Phase 8 police station, he was given the reply that the force was busy elsewhere. The registration number of the red Maruti car had also been supplied to the police, he added.


Car thieves held: The police arrested three youths for stealing a car from Sector 17. According to police sources, Sudhir Kumar, Jatin Arora and Gurinder Singh were arrested and charged under Sections 379 and 411, of the IPC. The father of Sudhir Kumar is an SI in the local police and is presently posted in the PCR.

The trio stole the car (CHF 837) from the Sector 17 parking and were on their way out of the city when the car turned turtle near the Sector 20 mosque. Jatin was seriously injured and was being taken by the others to the hospital when a PCR van arrested them.

Earlier, the owner of the car, Mr Sudershan Saroop, of Sector 16, had called up the control room to report the theft.

Gambler arrested: The police arrested Dharambir of Kumhar Colony, for gambling at a public place in Sector 25. A sum of Rs 140 was recovered from him. He has been charged under Section 13-A/3/67 of the Gambling Act.

Booked for drinking: Paramjeet of Dhanas milk colony was arresed for drinking at a public place. A case under Section 61/1/14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Eve-teaser nabbed: The police arrested Bharat Bhushan of Sector 20 for eve-teasing. A case under Section 295 of the IPC has been registered.


Pedestrian hurt: A pedestrian, Chandra Shekhar, of Kalka, was injured when he was hit by a car (CH 01 Z 9702), in the main market. A case of rash driving under Sections 279 and 338 of the IPC has been registered against the driver.

Dowry-seekers caught: Four persons, Sanjay, Sanjeev, Parveen and Kanta Rani, residents of Chandigarh, were arrrested under Sections 498-A, 406 and 506 of the IPC and Section 346 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

The complaint, Shama Malik, a resident of Abheypur, had registered a complaint with the local police that her in-laws made constant demands for dowry since her marriage nearly two years back.

Truck recovered: The police recovered a truck which was stolen on the night of March 19. According to the complaint, Mr Hem Ram Singla, his driver, Mahender Singh, had parked the truck (HNX 9587), at Majri Chowk in Sector 2 before leaving.

The truck was missing when he returned the next morning. A case has been registered under Section 379 of the IPC.Back


Action taken against cops
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, March 24 — In connection with the theft at the office of the Life Insurance Corporation here, departmental action has been initiated against two lower level cops for dereliction of duty.

Sources in the police said that while a munshi at the Sohana Police Station had been sent to police lines, an opeartor at the police control room here was being suspended. Both the cops had not attended a distress call about the burglary attempt properly giving time to the miscreants to escape. Back


NIIT opens centre
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — The National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) Chandigarh, today inaugurated its Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centre to meet the requirements of professionals in the information technology sector. The courses offered under this programme are Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).

A slogan competition at various schools organised by National Institute of Sales (NIS) the sister concern of NIIT, concluded here today. About 5 students won the slogan competition under different categories. Few students who participated in the slogan competition are shortlisted for a workshop on “Personality Development”. The workshop is meant to enhance the personal confidence level of the children which is essential nowadays to face the ever growing competition.

Mohit, one of the winners of slogan competition and the shortlisted candidate for the personality development competition, looks forward to attending the workshop and hopes to overcome his shyness and fear to face the audience.

Nidhi Agarwal is very happy after having undergone NIS’s Personality Development classes and says that she is now a confident person and participates in all the activities without hesitation.Back


Tractor company signs MoU
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — International Tractors Ltd, manufacturer of ‘Sonalika International’ brand of tractors, today entered into a memorandum of understanding with the State Bank of India.

The MoU was signed by Mr T.S. Bhattacharya, General Manager (Commercial Banking) on behalf of the State Bank of India, and Mr Amrit Sagar Mittal, Managing Director of Sonalika International Tractors.

A press note issued by the company said in spite of the fact ITL was only three-year-old, it had cornered a sizeable chunk of Indian tractor market. The company clocked a growth rate of 130 per cent during the last financial year. This year, the sales of the company were expected to touch 9000 tractors and the revenues expected to grow by 50 per cent.Back


IOC organises quality workshop
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 — The Indian Oil Corporation organised a quality workshop at the local air force station to inculcate quality consciousness at the field level.

The workshop was inaugurated by Air Commodore S K Banerjee, AOC. He appreciated the organisation’s effort and expressed hope that such workshops were held in the future also. Over 90 per cent of the jet oil and all the aviation gasoline requirements are met by the IOC.

As many as 20 officers and 60 airmen took part in the workshop. The participants were also taken to the IOC fuelling station and shown various aspects of the filtration system and equipment maintenance.Back


‘Punjab ahead in development’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 24 —The rate of growth of economy of Punjab had started decelerating and agriculture was no longer a source of real economic growth here.

This was pointed out by Mr Rajan Kashyap,principal secretary of Science Technology and Environment, Punjab at the inaugural session of a two-day conference on post harvest experience in agriculture organised by the Centre for Indian Development Studies (CIDS) at Panjab University here today.

Mr Kashyap said that in terms of socio-economic development Punjab had performed well in comparison to other states.He said that there was no scope for further agricultural growth as the farmers had already utilised the full potential.

He opined that future of Punjab economy lies in the development of non-agriculture activities.

Prof S.P.Singh, University Business School, said that agriculture sector should learn from the experiences of other industry particularly in marketing. The consumer had become more quality conscious.

Dr B.S.Ghuman welcomed the delegates. Dr V.S.Mahajan, director of the CIDS, highlighted the theme of the seminar pointing out three specific areas : social, political and economic.Back

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