Saturday, April 1, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Euro-I norms must for vehicles’ registration
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31 — All vehicles — run on petrol, diesel or compressed natural gas — that are not complying with Euro-I pollution norms and are manufactured on or after April 1, 2000, will not be registered in Chandigarh in the future.

The Licensing and Registering Authority today wrote letters to all vehicle dealers informing them about the new rules that will come into force for vehicles. The dealers have been further asked to further inform their respective manufacturers about the new restrictions that will be enforced for registration of vehicles in the city.

When contacted, the Licensing Authority-cum-SDM, Mr Ashish Kundra, confirmed the new ruling that will be enforced. He added: “We are just following the Central Government Motor Vehicle Rules, as amended in 1997, and this is the laid down procedure.’’ For this the Chandigarh Administration is not required to issue a separate notification, Mr Kundra said.

The rules will apply for all types of vehicles. But all vehicles that are manufactured on or before March 31, 2000, but are sold even after April 1 can be registered without the mandatory Euro-I compliance, and this new order will not affect them. Vehicles that may be manufactured in March or before are usually sold till a few months after April 1, 2000, depending upon the sales, however, these vehicles will be registered later on also .

The pollution norms have been fixed at variable limits for two wheelers, cars, jeeps, trucks, buses and all other types of vehicles. These norms also take into account the fuel used by the vehicle, the type of emission and how dangerous it may be for humans. These norms have been fixed as per the level of pollution emitted by the respective vehicles. The Government of India issued instructions through the amended Central Motor Vehicle Rules in 1997 that Euro-I pollution norms will come into force from April 1, 2000.

Just to ensure that the dealers do not pass off vehicles manufactured after March 31 as those manufactured before March 31, the authorities have evoked Section 122 of for Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989. Under this the manufacturer of the vehicle is required to mention the date of manufacture along side the engine chassis numbers.

Dealers will be required to furnish proper written information about the date of manufacture of the vehicle to the customer.

Vehicles manufactured on or after April 1, 2000 and not complying with Euro-I pollution emission norms will not be registered in the city in the future.

Order shall not apply to vehicles that are manufactured on or before March 31, 2000 but are sold even after April 1.

Dealers will be required to provide the date of manufacture and provide certificate of Euro compliance.

They will also have to inform their manufacturers about the new requirement.

No vehicle has yet been identified that will not be registered.Back


‘Heena’ shops till she drops
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31 — Her silky black tresses glittered under the impressive showroom lights as ‘Heena girl’ Simone Singh gently felt the silver metallic car with fair artistic fingers before purchasing it on her way back home in Mumbai. The star of the TV screen was here to meet her parents in Mohali, and, of course, to buy the jaunty jalopy of her dreams.

Relaxing on the car’s comfy seat, reed-thin Simone, in a deep-blue leather coat over jet-black trouser, replied in a chirpy voice to the excited query by the anxious journalists! “ I do not know many people or the good show rooms in Mumbai. Dad here knows people, so I decided to buy my car from here”

Ms Simone was here with her husband Mr Fahat Samar. The pleasant looking lady actually belongs to a village near Hoshiarpur and had her bringing-up in Jamshedpur. Scorpion by Zodiac she made her first mark on the TV Screen four years ago with her first serial “A Mouth full of Sky” on the Doordarshan Channel. And then followed her other hit serials like “Hello Friends” which has recently been wrapped up and “Heena” which is still aired on Sony TV which attracts one and all. According to her, the point of identification between her and the character Heena is that both have a sense of loyalty and eager to impress the family.

Simone likes to work in an environment which is harmonious and has nice people working with her. Her first job was in a law firm in Delhi and now she loves the world of television and takes up only two assignments at a time to do complete justice with her work. Right now she is anchoring a show “Sare Jaha Se Aacha”. Ms Singh admires Renuka Shane’s acting on the television front and Kajol and Aamir Khan are her favourite film actress and actor respectively.

Her favorite pass time has a long list of books because she enjoys reading and likes shopping she shops until she drops, which is rare, she added. On holidays with her parents she loves combing their eight dogs and cooking.

Ms Singh loves this city beautiful, specially the roundabouts and apprehensive that these roundabouts would be replaced by traffic lights. Ms Simone is of the opinion that the city people are not very professional, specially as compared to Mumbaites, very professional, where they have to face an ever increasing competition. She further added that people out here are comparatively slow. Back


Banks not to issue old series of Rs 500 notes
By Akanksha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31 — To remove the fear of fake Rs 500 notes, the ''old Gandhi series '' of Rs 500 notes will not be issued by banks to customers from tomorrow, according to guidelines issued by the Reserve Bank of India.

However, the banks will continue to accept the ''old Gandhi series '' of notes submitted by anyone, the instructions of the RBI say. This order shall not apply to the new series of Rs 500 notes that have RBI engraved in Hindi and English along the sliver line running vertically across the note. The new series also has fluorescent colour numbers and the image of Mahatma Gandhi is visible through the white paper when the note is held against light.

This is a part of the RBI's plan to phase out the old design of Rs 500 notes. It has been done as a measure to weed out the fake notes in circulation. ''The old design notes of Rs 500 with the Ashoka Pillar water mark and Portrait of Mahatma Gandhi on the right side of the note, irrespective of their condition are treated as non-issuable notes by the banks.'' The banks have to remit the old Rs 500 to RBI offices on a priority basis by the end of March 2000, said official sources of the RBI.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) states that notes of Rs 500 denomination issued by the bank from time to time continue to be a legal tender and should be freely accepted by the public and the banks. The RBI has only instructed all the currency chests not re-issue old design notes of Rs 500 after April, 1, 2000. The RBI has suggested the banks to separately packet and bundle the old and new design 500 rupee notes.

The notices in front of public offices about the non-acceptability of these notes had created a panic among the public.

"Who wants to take chances with the law?" says a Mani Majra chemist. "Every other day, you read in the newspapers about people getting arrested after handing over counterfeit currency notes. Little wonder, not accepting Rs 500 note is very convenient."

He is not the only one who is harassed. "I got petrol filled in the car from a station on the Panchkula-Kalka highway but the attendant refused to accept Rs 500 currency note," complains a high-ranking official. "It was only later that I read the notice announcing non-acceptance of Rs 500 note. This is illegal. Why shouldn't action be taken against them".

According to a senior bank official, "It is the responsibility of every citizen to help us by depositing all the old 500 rupee notes. Small traders, hawkers, shopkeepers should not be harassed and only criminals should be taken to task. Awareness should also be created in public about their duty to return the old 500 rupee notes in public interest".Back


PU exams may not be postponed
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31 — Contrary to the ongoing full-of-doubts parlance in academic circles, the annual examinations of Panjab University are unlikely to be postponed.

Teachers and non-teaching staff’s agitation, apart from the managements of private colleges, keeps children and their parents on the edge of their nerves as to whether the examination will be as per schedule or not.

The Punjab Government is said to have released Rs 52 crore which is being seen as a positive development. There is a balance of about Rs 15 crore.

Representatives of the Management Federation of Punjab, Principals’ Federation, the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union and the Non-Teaching Employees Federation will meet tomorrow to announce a final decision for the plan of action.

This is the first time that four different wings of the college managers have joined hands on a common front. The usual routine finds the teaching and the non-teaching staff against the managements. Often principals face opposition.

Threat to boycott examinations had left thousands of students and their parents in a doubt. There are regular enquires till date about the exact date of commencement of examination, which naturally could not be ascertained from the authorities.

Normal science and arts group re-examination commences in April. However, the honours school theory examinations are scheduled to begin on May 8. The practical examination have been delayed by a week which were scheduled for early April.

The university has taken strict steps to make up for the prevalent delay in the system. It was also assured that the results would be declared earlier.

Students, however, complained that there was no progress by the university to ensure speedy admissions . The ‘re-appear’ results had

not been declared in case of honours school till yesterday which forced the students under Panjab University Campus Students Council leadership to stage a dharna.

The university has decided to postpone the examination of the honours school following discussions at the senior level. The postponement was done in case of the honours schools only.The official release today has no mention to the general arts, science and commerce graduation examination.

Students have also complained that often in the name of quick results, scores of candidates figured on the “Results Later” list. A PUCSC office-bearer said that there were only 35-40 students for the honours school in each science group. Often the total time till declaration of results was over six months.

In another letter to the Vice-Chancellor, parents and students have pointed out that the proposed datesheet had dates which collided with entrance tests of several leading professional courses. The Karnataka Government has reserved May 2 and May 3 for entrance tests to professional colleges in the state. They collide with the PU datesheet list. Students demand a postponement.

Prof Charanjit Chawla, a senior PCCTU leader, said that teachers also demanded implementation of the pension scheme passed by the state in 1996. The scheme was enacted in 99, yet it awaited implementation. Teachers also demanded the release for pay of 26 days when they went in for an agitation in 1998. He said that the centre had said that salaries would be paid and nearly all other states had paid the same.

Students demand that there should be no delay as it caused inconvenience for them to change institutions. Often, students failed to qualify for institutions in Delhi or other places just because the results were late.

Voices for the postponement of examinations were raised by a part of the teacher agitators at the rally. However, confirmed highly placed sources said that the student interest was primary to them.

In a press release Prof N.P. Manocha, Finance Secretary of the PCCTU, thanked the government for the release of the fund over Rs 43 crore. An official release said that results of honours schools would be released by July end.Back


At the mercy of the Lord
By Gautam Dheer

PANCHKULA, March 31 — Destiny could hardly have been more treacherous for the just six-day-old baby girl, who had been reportedly deserted by her parents at the apocryphal mercy of mankind. The baby is presently in safe hands of Bal Niketan — an orphanage in Sector 2.

The orphanage is having a tough time in nursing the infant baby who is breast fed. The baby girl was today handed over to the orphanage here by the railway authorities at Ambala, where her helpless cries did not go unnoticed.

Mansi is her new name at the orphanage. Inmates of the home are excited to have there youngest buddy. Sources reveal that the ill- fated girl was left in a small bag which was zipped-up and abandoned at the platform before she was spotted by the railway authorities. A gap of just a few minutes between life and death as the baby miraculously escaped from being suffocated to death in the closed bag.

The orphanage has got the medical check-up done for the baby, reports of which reveal that the baby is ‘in cold’ and needs a mother’s lap for survival. Expressing concern, Ms Madhu Sharma, Honorary

Secretary of the home, said it was the fifth incident of a similar nature in the last few months.

“Antecedents of the girl have not yet been known and the possibilities are bleak. However, she was wearing seemingly expensive clothes. She has a pretty face, fair complexion and sharp features, revealing little about the family status of Mansi’’, she said.

Bal Niketan at Panchkula and another orphanage at Chhachhrauli are the only two licensed orphanages in Haryana. Mansi’s name has been added to the adoption list.

The orphanage here, which was earlier reluctant to set up a permanent cot outside its premises, is now seriously deliberating on the proposal. “The basic idea behind re-thinking on the proposal is not to encourage people to desert there unwanted wards but to see that children are abandoned at a safe place, not endangering their lives’’, said the honorary secretary.Back


Trees essential for clean environment
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31— Congress grass, sunflower, chrysanthemum, marigold, bottlebrush and eucalyptus are some plants in the city which can cause asthma, skin allergy and irritation in the eyes, say experts.

To know about these effects of trees and plants the Chandigarh Tribune spoke to Dr R.K. Kohli, Professor, Botany Department, Panjab University.

In Chandigarh, comfortable temperature and climate for residents is needed and pollutants which pose a major problem need to be removed. Residents need to be protected from winter winds. Shades in summers are necessary. Population density needs vegetation for gaseous exchange and sustenance of ecological principles and landscape needs to be created to enhance the city’s scenic beauty.

According to the latest concept, trees are required more in the cities than in the forests because of their huge surface area per unit land, says Dr Kohli.

Plants like parthenium (congress grass), chrysanthemum (guldaodi), sunflower, marigold, ageratumconyzydis (nila foolu), eucalyptus (safeda), bottle brush and Indian oak, these plants normally cause problems bronchial asthma, skin allergies, sneezing and irritation in the eye.

Eucalyptus releases certain chemicals into the environment which adversely affect the neighbouring or under-canopy plants.

Each one of us has the responsibility of conserving the environment towards this end, Dr. Kohli says. a comprehensive tree census should be conducted for the city. The plantation plan and work for its execution should be based on industrial and vehicular density, meeting nutritional environmental needs of increasing population, checking the menace caused by weeds like congress grass, forest banks to manage the city trees and voluntary activities from care of individual tree to managing avenue trees and industrial trees.

He added that the UT Administration must spare funds and encourage a close link between researchers, practitioners and executors of treescape. Contingency plans and material for replacing dried-up or uprooted or damaged trees must be ready with the department.

Tree species that are a source of allergy to residents should be identified.

A beautiful and environment-friendly plant like bougainvillaea should not be replaced with the mild steel railing. Bougainvillaea on road dividers can combat the pollution, even thought it requires maintenance and regular cutting, adds Dr Kohli.Back


Parties told not to politicise massacre
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31— The Congress, the Leftists and the SHSAD today opined that the Chatti Singhpora massacre should not have been given a communal colour by terming it a “massacre of Sikhs”.

Various speakers, while paying homage to the victims of terrorism at an-all party meeting here, condemned the cowardly act and urged the political parties not to politicise the issue for narrow political gains.

A former Chief Minister of Punjab, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, while terming the killings as part of the well-planned conspiracy by Pakistan to destabilise the country, said that the tragedies should not be given a communal touch.

Calling upon the people to thwart the attempts by the terrorists to divide the country on the basis of religion, she reminded that terrorism could only be ended in Punjab when both the communities showed unity.

While urging the political parties to rise above petty politics to safeguard the unity and integrity of the country, she said the current initiative of bringing political parties on one platform should be broad-based.

Mr Avtar Inder Singh, an MLA of SAD (Amritsar), urged the government to beef up security for the residents of state. Similarly, another Punjab MLA, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, who presided over the meeting, wanted that we should rise above politics in condemning the massacre.

While demanding the sealing off the border to prevent Pakistani intrusion, Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the Punjab State Council of the CPI, said we should address the issue seriously as it was not the issue of only one party. He came down heavily on the Central Government for its failure to send an all-party and all-religions delegation to the site of the massacre.

Prof Balwant Singh, Secretary of the Punjab State Council of the CPM, while calling it an act of separatists, said we should help the families not as Sikhs but as the victims of terrorism.

Later a resolution was passed at meeting which demanded that concrete steps should be taken to provide security to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the minorities. Steps should also be taken both at the political and economic levels to improve the lot of the Kashmir people to remove the genuine grievances.

The political forces and the processes should be activated in the state rising above narrow political considerations to end their alienation. Since a majority of the killings were the handiwork of the foreign-trained terrorists and the foreign mercenaries, the border should be sealed, the resolution demanded.

Among those who spoke were Mr Subhash Chawla, spokesman of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, Mr G.S. Grewal, a former Advocate General of Punjab, Mr J.S. Sawhney, President of the local unit of the SHSAD, Mr Mata Ram Dhiman, President of the local unit of the BSP, and Mr Rajinder Mohan Kashyap, Secretary-General of local unit of the Janata Dal (Secular).Back


Bandh against Chatti Singhpora massacre
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, March 31 — All the commercial activity in the town came to a standstill in response to the one-day Punjab bandh call given by the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) in protest against the massacre of Sikhs at Chatti Singhpora in Kashmir. All shops, markets and other business establishments remained close throughout the day.

To pay homage to the victims, residents led by Mr Hardeep Singh, a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), took out a peacful procession which culminated at the office of the Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM) here.

The procession began from the Amb Sahib Gurdwara after a bhog ceremony was held in the memory of the victims. Comprising businessmen, former municipal councillors, representatives of residents' welfare associations and political parties, the participants gave a memorandum to the SDM at the end of the procession.

In the memorandum, providing security to the minority communities, probe into the incident by the Minorities Commission and a grant of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the victims have been demanded.

Later in the evening, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, a former Member of Parliament and General Secretary of the SHSAD, while talking to mediapersons at the Amb Sahib Gurdwara here, described the bandh in Punjab to be successful and without any untoward incident.

Mr Chandumajra said the bandh call was supported by different political parties. Meanwhile, the Executive Committee of the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) condemned the killing of innocent Sikhs in Kashmir. Mr S.S. Sandhu, President of the association, said the massacre was part of a deep-rooted conspiracy to create a communal divide.Back


Suffering from identity crisis
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

PINJORE, March 31 — He suffers from an identity crisis which has sent his spirits plummeting. He believes things will never look up for him and resorting to playing the flute, a passion which has raised his hopes and given him reason to live on previous occasions, seems the only alternative. Also, the stark reality that stares him in his face is that of earning two square meals a day.

Baba Khan, the flute maestro and a very vital part of the evenings in the Yadavindra Garden, is back from hospital after undergoing treatment for cancer of the mouth. Back home, he spends time in his temple and writing Urdu couplets reflecting the sadness within.

He is contemplating on creating magic with his flute at the garden. His recovery is slow and he is required to pop in a handful of tablets for cure. However, ironically, this time the inspiration stems not from his love for melody but from penury. Also, he is banking on cashing in on the deep-seated resentment which will be translated into the notes flowing from his flute.

In lamentable condition, Baba Khan says: “I was deeply hurt when my own people spread the word around that I had died and even refused to recognise me after I returned from my treatment in hospital. It put me off and for some time I became more of a recluse, staying inside my temple keeping hope alive while waiting for lady luck to step in”.

Another thing bogging him is the changed appearance he is yet to come to terms with. The flowing white hair and beard has given way to a balding man with an “alien” face. “People just don’t recognise the new look and walk away without a glance in my direction. Winning appreciation and adulation from the visitors has been my forte and I take pride in that”.

Attempting to play his flute, he says: I am fit as a fiddle to play my flute but now there are no takers. I have to call out to people to listen to me. Gone are the days when I was the life of a party, and I was the cynosure of all eyes, and yet I am fighting despair and trying to light the spark within. I will struggle to win back the pedestal people put me on till my last breath. However, it agitates him if he is told that playing the flute is still out of question till the swelling subsides and he can’t stop clinging on to previous pictures, his only identity, which has faded away into oblivion.

Even in his time of pain and misery, his eyes light up when he speaks of the help that came his way and ultimately led to treatment of the cancer in his mouth. “God has given me another chance to live through his men. I always knew that I would come back even though nobody expected this to happen. Here I am and will begin frequenting the garden every weekend and gradually everyday. All credit for this goes to two advocates — Mr Jattan Salwan and Mr Kulbir Singh — Mrs Santosh Singla, a social worker, and Mrs Madhu Anil, running a social welfare organisation, besides the Haryana Tourism Department which gives financial assistance”.

Narrating couplet after couplet with disillusionment writ large on his face, he sums up his loneliness: “Yeh kiska tassavur hai meri nazar mein, yeh kiski mulaquat se khelta hoon; ganooyas ke aalam mein reh kar mein aksar apne hi khayalat se khelta hoon. Kabhi hai nigahon mein raftare aalam, kabhi inqalabaat se khelta hoon.’’Back


Traffic barriers ‘causing accidents’
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, March 31 — Commuters, especially those plying daily on the National Highway 22, between Panchkula and Kalka, feel insecure on the route due to fear of accidents on account of enormous security and traffic barriers allegedly set up purposelessly by the local police en-route.

There are reportedly five such barriers en-route between Panchkula and Kalka within a stretch of 5 km. Commuters lament that most of these barriers are not properly conspicuous at nights on road due to lack of an adequate display.

Most of these barriers are deprived of suitable radium or flood lights or any other source of illumination to make them apparent for travellers during nights. Many people are critical that the concept and purpose of a smooth and uninterrupted flow on the national highway seems to be defeated.

Commuters allege that barring a few, there are no perpetual security checks conducted by the police at these barriers. As a consequence these barriers are left unmanned for most of the time, thereby questioning its usefulness. There have been reportedly large number of accidents in the recent months, due to the alleged nuisance of these barriers.

Mr M.L. Kashyap, hailing from Kalka, cited a recent accident in which a truck toppled on road after it collided with a barrier near Chandi Mandir, which went unnoticed by the driver. Following the collision, the truck caught fire and disrupted the traffic for over two hours before the local fire authorities could bring the fire under control for traffic to resume.

This highway belt has a large influx of traffic owing to tourist attractions at both ends and also the industrial area at Parwanoo. Office- goers plying up and down perpetually, feel they are often victims of traffic jams at these barriers which cause almost regular delays to there work place. Lack of regular manpower at these barriers results in chaotic and mismanaged flow of traffic.

“Truck drivers mostly choose to ply after sunset and often drive in a drunken state. It is the paramount obligation of the administration and the local police to either ensure that the drivers do not drink and drive or adopt measures wherein impediments en-route do not result in nuisance, thereby putting scores of lives at stake,’’ expressed Ms Rupali Khosla of Sector 12.

Adding to the chaos are the military cantonments along the highway which have reportedly more than 12 entry points converging on the main road. Travellers lament that the heavy flow of Army vehicles which have recommended low speed limits also contribute in causing traffic jams, especially at the barriers.

Many suggest that alternate by-lanes all along the highway, especially along the cantonment belt, should be laid so as to ease the flow of traffic if a plausible solution to these barriers is not reached.Back


Cruelty against animals galore
From Pawan Kumar Jain

KHARAR: About 20 truck-loads of cattle are sent daily from the cattle trade centre here to slaughter houses in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The supply includes old and barren buffaloes. There is neither arrangement for drinking water, fodder nor there is any heat or rain shelters for the cattle.

When this reporter visited six-truck loaded with the cattle were parked. About 1,000 heads of cattle were standing along the Kharar-Roopnagar highway. Certain cattle traders and transporters were also present. The cattle were tethered with small ropes restricting their movement. One could see many infirm and wounded cattle at the centre.

A cattle trader said truck-loads of cattle would leave for slaughter houses in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh during the night. When pointed to appalling condition in which the cattle were being kept, a trader said: “They deserve no mercy for their fate is slaughter; and good money for us”. Also, he said, there was no criteria laid down for the purchase of cattle.

Certain politicians and officials, he alleged, collected monthly fee from the traders. Each cattle head was bought for between Rs 50 and Rs 100 and was sold for Rs 500 to Rs 2,000, it is learnt.

Taking a serious note of cruelty to animals, the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ms Maneka Gandhi, in August last, had issued a stern warning to then Roopnagar Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, against the holding of a “Pashu Mandi” and running slaughter houses here.

In a communication to the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Gandhi had said that despite her April ‘99 directions to stop the “Pashu Mandi”, the district administration had still not initiated action in this regard. She had asked the Deputy Commissioner to take immediate action to close down the “Pashu Mandi” and shut down the slaughter houses at Kharar.

The “Pashu Mandi” allegedly violates the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. It does not provide any food or shelter for the animals. Ms Gandhi had pointed out that cow slaughter was strictly forbidden in the state. A veterinarian’s certificate must be issued for the buffaloes above 15 years stating that these buffaloes were unfit for any other purpose other than slaughtering.

Acting upon these directions, the then Deputy Commissioner had directed the Kharar SDM to take immediate effective steps in this regard.

In July last, the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Khushi Ram, while presiding over a high-level meeting of the district civil and police administration officials at Roopnagar, had asked the Kharar SDM to take immediate steps to check the illegal trade of cattle from the centre. He had instructed the SDM to register cases under relevant sections of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. But despite all this, the illegal cattle export centre at Kharar is still in operation.

It may be recalled that in December 1998, the then Kharar SDM, Mr Avtar Chand Sharma, had directed the local police to register a case against nine persons, including two minors, on the charge of cruelty to animals. The case, which was probably the first such case, was registered under Section 11 (1)-A of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the accused were arrested. Three truck-loads of cattle were impounded. Similar case was registered against six persons in December 1999 by the local police on the directions of Mr Jagdish Chander Sabharwal, who was officiating as Kharar SDM at that time.

On February 19 this year, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) district unit general secretary, Mr Mohinder Jain, noticed a truck overloaded with cattle at Kurali, near here, and informed the police.

The Kurali police registered a case under Section 11(1)-A of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and arrested three persons on the charge of cruelty to animals.

Meanwhile, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Kharar has expressed great resentment over the “indifferent” attitude of the local administration to check the illegal cattle export from here. The SPCA General Secretary, Mr Jai Bhagwan Singla, has demanded immediate closure of this centre.

Representatives of various social, political and religious organisations of the township as well as prominent citizens and elected representatives of the area have also urged the Punjab Chief Minister to intervene in the matter and close down the illegal cattle export centre at Kharar.

Keeping in view the sentiments of the people and traffic hazards on the highway, Kharar Municipal Committee had passed a resolution in June 1994, seeking shifting of this centre from here, but the government has not taken any action so far.

The SDM, Mr A.S. Dhindsa, said acting upon that on the directions of Ms Gandhi he had directed the officials concerned to check the violation of the act and provide shelter, fodder, and drinking water to the animals at the centre.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Mr Jagwant Singh Brar, told this reporter that the “Pashu Mandi” was being shifted from Kharar to Daonmajra village about a month ago. Due to interference of a Punjab minister, the Deputy Director, Cattle Fair, again ordered to retain the “Pashu Mandi” at Kharar. Maintaining cruelty to animals at the centre, he admitted the illegal export of cattle from Kharar. Expressing inability to provide shelter for the animals due to paucity of funds, Mr Brar said the Kharar SDM was responsible for checking cruelty against animals and book the defaulters.

Mr Brar said the matter was discussed at a high-level meeting chaired by then Punjab Financial Commissioner Rural Development, Mr Jai Singh Gill. It had been decided that the state government would take up the matter with the Union Government.

Surprisingly, the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Khushi Ram, who had directed the Kharar SDM to check illegal trade in cattle from Kharar in July last, said he was not aware of it.Back


Gang of burglars busted, five arrested
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31 — In a major breakthrough, the police has busted a gang of burglars operating in the city and SAS Nagar and arrested five of them. Stolen property worth Rs 4. 50 lakh has been recovered while further recoveries are on the anvil.

Acting on a tip-off, a special team supervised by Mr S.C. Bector, DSP, South, and headed by Inspector Dhan Raj apprehended the accused who are in the 17 to 19 age group. Narain Singh, alias Vijay, John, Raju, Ram Singh and Ranjit Singh, alias Gandhi are residents of Uttar Pradesh. They were presently residing in Mataur village of SAS Nagar.

One member of the gang is absconding and efforts are afoot to nab him, Mr Parag Jain, SSP, said here today.

During interrogation, the accused revealed that they were working as part-time waiters with catering units and used to be on the lookout houses which were locked. Since they used to go home at odd hours, this made their job easier. It was while returning home that they used to burgle the houses identified earlier. They used to steal everything from toothpaste to gold and silver jewellery.

With the arrest of the gang, six cases of the city and 16 cases of SAS Nagar have been worked out.

The property recovered includes three colour televisions, eight bicycles, two CD players, car stereo, six decks, audio cassettes, cosmetic items, clothes, suitcases, gold and silver jewellery and artefacts besides Rs 13, 500 in cash.

They have been remanded to police custody till April 3 by a city court. Back


One held for kidnapping
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31 — The police has arrested a resident of Attawa on the charge of kidnapping a minor girl of the same village.

According to police sources, Mr Surjit Singh, the father of the girl, lodged a complaint that his daughter had been kidnapped by Nanhe, a resident of the same village, some days ago. The couple was traced by the police and the accused was taken into custody.

Interestingly, the girl has refused to go back to her parents and said that she would prefer to go to the Nari Niketan instead. Sources said the couple were in love and had eloped and would have not been arrested if the girl was of age to be legally married. For the time being, the girl is being sent to the niketan.

A case under Sections 363\366, IPC, has been registered at the south police station.

Five arrested: The police has arrested five persons on the charge of possessing liquor beyond the permissible limit.

According to police sources, Daya Nand and Prithi Raj, residents of Maloya colony, were arrested from near a petrol pump in Sector 22 with three cases of liquor. Similarly, Krishan, Charanjit and Babu Ram were arrested with 48 quarters and 14 bottles of whisky from the labour colony and the Sector 47 \ 48 dividing road, respectively.

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

Offender detained: The police has arrested Raghbir Singh, a resident of Thathiala, Nawanshahr, who was declared a proclaimed offender by a city court in November.

Sources said he was wanted in connection with an accident case registered in February, 1992. The matter was pending in a city court but he had not appeared even once for the trial. He was arrested today evening and would be produced in court tomorrow.

Clothes stolen: Mr Rajinder Jain, a shopkeeper of Sector 17, reported that his servants — Kailash and Harish — stole some clothes from his shop. They have been arrested and a case under Section 381, IPC, has been registered.

Theft of car wheels: Mr Kamaljit Singh, a resident of Sector 18, reported that some one has stolen two wheels of his car, CHO-1Y 9885, which was parked outside his house. A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.


Two-wheelers seized: In a combing operation conducted by the local police in the part of Guru Nanak colony falling in its jurisdiction, at least three motorcycles, a scooter, a television, a VCR and two pornographic cassettes were seized. The combing exercise, involving over 50 cops, started at 3 am and ended around 8 am.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr S.S. Gill, said the combing exercise was conducted as part of the joint coordination between police departments of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The combing exercise was also conducted in Zirakpur.

Succumbs to injuries: Chaman Lal, an employee of Milk Plant in Phase 6, who was admitted to the PGI in Chandigarh after being hit by a vehicle in front of the factory yesterday, succumbed to his injuries today.

Scooterist injured: Yashpal Chopra, who was driving a scooter, was injured when his vehicle was hit by a CTU bus.

House burgled: Burglars broke into a house in Shivalik Vihar in Nayagaon and decamped with cash and jewellery. A case has been registered.Back


2 bodies recovered
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31 — In separate incidents, the police has recovered two bodies from Maloya village and Sector 38.

According to police sources, 32-year-old Amar Chand was found dead at his house by some neighbours, who informed the police. The body was found in a chair and some items — a pipe, foil and a small kerosene lamp — used to sniff smack, was recovered from a table in front of him.

He was reportedly an addict. He is said to have died of an overdose. At the time of the incident, he was alone at his home as since his wife and children had left for his in-laws at Gurdaspur. The body has been sent for a post-mortem.

In the second incident, a 17-year-old vendor reportedly committed suicide by hanging himself. Mukesh, who used to sell lemonade in one of the corridors in Sector 17, was found hanging by his elder brother in a room on the first floor of their house in Maloya village. The father of the deceased is a cobbler in Sector 17. Further investigations are on.Back


Financial year ends on hectic note
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31 — Crores of rupees were transacted as the Governments of Punjab and Haryana, the UT Administration, besides the Central Government offices, made last-minute settlements of their accounts just before the financial year came to an end.

This included clearances for the last-minute purchases of medicines, office equipment and electronic items, besides salary accounts and payments to be made to private parties. The banks also witnessed a huge rush as several of the designated banks collected excise and revenue receipts on behalf of the government.

Catering to the needs were the two treasuries in Sector 17 and Sector 7 run by the State Bank of India. Both places remained open till about 2 am. Even government officials in various Finance Departments sat till about midnight in the office to clear all work within the stipulated time.

A banker suggested that the Haryana Government, which uses the same treasury as the Chandigarh Administration and offices of the Central Government, should seek a separate treasury like the one Punjab had in the Sector 7 branch of the SBI.

Meanwhile, banks also functioned over-time. Fax machines were purchased and computers installed. Even photocopy machines were picked up by government officials in an attempt to save the remaining grants from lapsing. Earlier in the day, minutes changed into hours as exhausted customers waited for their turn in the seemingly unending queues in the treasuries for getting the payments of the government grants to various departments.

Besides this, the last day of the financial year was used by industrialists, shopkeepers and traders to ward off schedule of payments. Many persons preferred to accept post-dated cheques just to show an entry of transaction in the next financial year. A large queue was witnessed where new telephone connections were being booked. A large number of persons are aware that the department uses March 31 as a cut off date to release new connections.Back

Businessmen beat ST laws

The end of the financial year was also used by some enterprising businessmen to beat the impending new sales tax laws. Several dealers of cars, scooters, tyres, automobile parts, plywood and sanitary wares made heavy booking before March 31 ended, a source in the industry said. Several vehicle dealers are offering vehicles at the old-sales-tax rate.

This will allow the traders to issue bills on the new sales rates, even as they may themselves have been billed at the old tax rates. In the case of several small items like pipes, sanitary fittings, utensils or plastic wares among others, most shopkeepers do not issue bills, hence, they will make a big profit.

Those seeking a bill will have to pay as per the new rate.

All nationalised banks will be closed on April 1. The day has been declared a bank holiday in view of the annual financial closing.Back


Securitas gets prize for annual returns
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31 — The local branch of the Group 4 Securitas Limited was today presented a shield for the first submission of annual return by Mr M.L. Meena, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner.

Mr Meena informed about various steps taken by the department in the speedy settlement of claims of PF members. A majority of the claims were settled promptly, he claimed.

While urging the employers to submit annual returns on time so that account slips could be issued immediately, he requested the employees and employers to avail themselves of the facility of handing over cheques and PPOs on the day of retirement to the retiring employees provided one month’s contribution was paid in advance.

Mr Meena urged the employers to deposit PF contributions and submit the statutory returns in time so that account slips could be issued and claims of the PF members were settled in time.

He distributed account slips to the establishments and their representatives and the PPOs to the pensioners and beneficiaries for the year 1999-2000.

This is for the third year in a row that Securitas has been awarded the prize.Back


Sales tax on IMFL up
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31 — Sales tax on Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) has been hiked from 10 per cent to 12 per cent, according to an order issued by the Finance Department today.

This is still lower than the 20 per cent sales tax proposed as minimum floor rates prescribed by the Central Government.

The 12 per cent sales tax rates shall apply in case of rectified spirit, denatured spirit, perfumed spirit, narcotics and molasses.Back


Amendments a ‘revolutionary step’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 31 — The amendments carried out in the building bye-laws have received a good response from various sections of society. A small segment has suggested some changes, while a few others have called upon the Chandigarh Administration to bring about changes in the bye-laws for residential and industrial buildings also

In a joint statement issued by Mr Chaman Lal Sharma, Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi and Mr Tejbans Singh Jauhar, President, General Secretary and Secretary of Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha, today hailed the decision of Chandigarh Administration amending the building bye-laws for commercial buildings, describing it a revolutionary step.

They also requested for simplification of the rules governing various stages of sanction, which is causing undue delays in public dealings. With simplification of rules governing day-to-day dealing of public with the offices of Administration, the step will go a long way in easing problems faced by the public.

The Progressive Industrialists Association of Chandigarh has welcomed the steps initiated by the Chandigarh Administration in providing relief to the users of commercial property in Chandigarh. The amendments are long awaited and shall help provide relief to the entire trader community in the city.

The association appealed to the Administration to take up the amendments for both industrial sheds and residential properties on a war footing. Meanwhile, leaders of Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, Mr Devinder Singh Babla and Mr B.B Behl, in a joint statement said: “The first attempt of the Chandigarh Administration to amend the building bye-laws of Chandigarh is a positive step.

The spokesperson of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, Mr Diwakar Sahoonja said. “The legal occupants” should also be permitted to pay for all sorts of default payments, and regularisation charges. No resumption proceedings should take place till final amendments are done after duly considering all pending demands put forward by the mandal. The tenant should be given priority after resumed buildings are regularised.

All Shop-cum-Flats (SCFs) should be allowed general trade on all the floors, and the change of trade should be allowed in all the commercial buildings, the mandal demanded.

A joint signed statement issued by President of the Traders Association of Sector 17 and to General Secretary of the Hotel Association of Chandigarh said that the new amendments have to be worked out keeping in view this large section and as per the real ground realities and the socio-economic conditions prevailing in the town. The duo said “We regret that these small amendments are merely an eyewash and just a patch-work to this whole chaotic complex situation.” The gravity of this situation is so serious that 80 per cent commercial buildings are without the completion certificates and over 50 per cent buildings have been resumed and court cases against them are pending in various judicial and quasi judicial courts for the last several years.

The real solution lies in amending and redrafting the byelaws in the light of allowing internal-planning as per individual unit needs, fragmentation of building into smaller portions. The amendments were the need of the hour and the Administration has reacted positively, said Mr Ajay Jagga. Rather it will finish the many pending cases before all the authorities.Back

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