Thursday, April 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Water supply, sewerage projects for Zirakpur
From Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, April 19 — As part of the Zirakpur development plan, the Punjab Government has decided to dig three deep tubewells, water supply lines and 37 km of sewer lines to provide basic amenities of the area falling under the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat.

Work on the water supply project and the sewerage system in this fast-growing urban centre near Chandigarh is expected to start next month. The project of laying the pipes will be completed in three phases by March 2001. A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of senior officials of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board and the Local Government, which was chaired by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance and Planning Minister of Punjab, on Tuesday.

A tubewell, an overhead water reservoir, a water distribution line and 19 km of sewer line will be completed in the first phase of the project. The reservoir will have a capacity to store 1 lakh gallons of water. A 15.5 km long distribution line will be laid, which will carry water from this overhead water tank. The tubewell, dug up at a cost of over Rs 1.47 crore in the first phase, will fulfil the water requirement to the areas along Rajpura road.

The overhead water reservoirs, with a capacity of 1 lakh gallons, and 13.5 km long water distribution line will come up in the second phase of the project, in which two tubewells will be dug up at a cost of over Rs 1.43 crore. Water supply to areas along Kalka road, Bartana and other other populated areas on the Panchkula side will be improved.

Taking into consideration the position of disposal of waste water and sewerage at Zirakpur and its surrounding areas, the Government has planned to lay 37 km long sewer line in different colonies, villages and other populated areas of the civic body by spending over Rs 4.9 crore. A 19 km long sewer branch along Ambala road and Rajpura road in the Nagar Panchayat limits will be laid at a cost of over Rs 2.06 crore in the first phase of the project. In the second phase, an 18 km long sewer line at a cost of about Rs 2.84 crore will be laid along Kalka road, Bartana and other populated areas along Panchkula side.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said in the third phase of the project, money would also be spent on purchasing land and setting up a sewage treatment plant. He added that the Chief Town Planner had prepared a map on the water supply and sewerage system in the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat area.

It has also been decided to frame the project for raising a loan from HUDCO in the ratio of 80:20. The project for raising loan from HUDCO is being prepared. The cost of first and second phases also include interest of Rs 126 lakh. The total loan will be raised from HUDCO on yearly instalments basis for phases I and II with 14 per cent rate of interest. The repayment period is 15 years.

"Phases I and II of the water supply component without overhead reservoir and phase I of the sewerage scheme can be completed by March, 2001," said the minister. He added that under the project, the issue of water supply would be taken up on priority and the sewerage system on secondary basis. "A park will be developed on a triangular piece of land, earlier used as a dumping place by the Buildings and Roads Wing of the Punjab Public Works Department," he claimed.

He made it clear that the proposed site for the park was the Nagar Panchayat's land as per revenue records, which was encroached upon by the PWD. The location for a bus stand is yet to be decided. The site will be decided along the highway so that it is easily accessible for long-route buses to commuters.

"Rs 35 lakh has been spent on widening roads, arranging for drainage and constructing road dividers within the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat limits. Being near Chandigarh, Panchkula and Ropar, Zirakpur has become a hide-out for miscreants and anti-social elements and the crime rate in the area has gone up during the past couple of years. To control the crime here, a meeting of the SSPs of Chandigarh, Patiala and Ropar was called a few days ago," said the minister.Back


Goods worth Rs 50 lakh destroyed in fire
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 19 — Goods reportedly valued at more than Rs 50 lakh were gutted as a major fire engulfed the rehri market in Mani Majra in the early hours today.

More than 90 rehris were completely gutted and another 13 were partially affected in the inferno that was noticed around 5 a.m. this morning by a chowkidar of the market. The fire authorities are yet to ascertain the cause of the fire but the aspect of loose and even illegal electricity wiring is being probed. Even the angle that several of the rehriwallas used gas-based lamps for illumination is also being looked into.

According to Mr M.S. Bajwa, Chief Fire Officer, the value of the destroyed goods is more than Rs 30 lakh, but there was no loss to life since the market was closed when the fire broke out in the wee hours, at about 4. 50 a.m., today morning but it was some time before the fire was noticed and his department was informed.

The fire was brought under control by 10 fire tenders at about 8. 30 a.m. A majority of the shops were selling plastic toys, garments and other allied items. The market was a major fire hazard as the shops had been illegally partitioned with GI sheets and other highly inflammable material. Not only this, the passageways and skylights have also been covered, turning the entire area into a veritable death trap.

The Tribune has from time to time highlighted the issue of such markets and that they were not only major fire hazards but could claim the many innocent lives in case of a blaze. Not only this, it has also been pointed out that many chassis for fire tenders had been lying unbuilt for quite some time.

UT Administrator, Lt-Gen J. F. R. Jacob, accompanied by Mr M Ramshekhar, DC, also visited the scene of the incident and listened to the grievances of the victims. Back


Suspended SE to be reinstated
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 19 — Mr Jagdish Mitter, Superintending Engineer, Electrical Circle of the Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration, who was placed under suspension for having turned an approver in the "kickbacks case", is all set to be reinstated.

Highly placed sources reveal that the Central Vigilance Commission has recommended that Mr Jagdish Mitter should be reinstated and given a non-sensitive position in the Administration.

The Administration may appoint Mr Mitter as Superintending Engineer (Rules). As such, Mr V.K. Dhingra, officiating Superintending Engineer, Electrical Circle, will continue to hold the current duty charge.

Mr Jagdish Mitter turned approver in two cases. He was reinstated after he agreed to assist the investigators in the first "kickbacks case". He was then reinstated.

A couple of months later, the Administration, in renewal of its earlier decision decided to place him under suspension on the plea that since he has already confessed of his involvement in the "kickbacks" case, he had "no right to continue in office".

Subsequently, in yet another case, Mr Jagdish Mitter again turned an approver.

In his representations, Mr Mitter had reportedly maintained that since he had agreed to assist the investigators in pursuing the case to its logical conclusion, it was unfair for the Administration to place him under suspension.

A few other engineers, on deputation with the Administration from Punjab and Haryana had already been reinstated by their parent departments after their repatriation.

On a strong recommendation by the Chief Vigilance Commission, the Administration has now decided to reinstate him and post him as SE (Rules) against a newly reconverted post. Formal orders of his reinstatement and fresh posting are expected in a day or two. Back


Are prep schools the answer?
By Akanksha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 19 — One finds preparatory schools mushrooming all around and slowly and steadily creches, and anganwadis are losing their existence. The playschools for these tiny tots develop an interest in the kids to go to schools, which is normally a burden at the age of three to go with heavy bags, follow a routine and parrot everything taught.

Working parents find it difficult to take care of kids themselves and what they look for is a place where the kid will get personalised attention. Preparatory schools have become more like small business units. Though it is comfortable to have a school near the house, it causes inconvenience to residents.

The playschools have children from the age of six months to six years. Schools have branches in residential areas, but parents want, the school closer to home. Preparatory schools are expanding and incorporating newer ways of teachings.

Principals of many preparatory schools are unaware that running a school in residential areas without permission is against the Zoning Regulations. “Any residential layout cannot be used for semi-commercial uses like running a preparatory school. This is against the regulation”, disclosed Mr Ram Shekhar, Deputy Commissioner-cum-State Officer.

Mr Khosla, father of a little boy, appreciates the concept of preparatory schools but is of the opinion that officials concerned should make a stringent policy of opening few schools sector-wise. The parents should send their little ones to the school nearby only, he opines.

Ms Gupta says she does not want her son to start studying and following a routine life so soon. Ms Sharma is not satisfied with the preparatory schools as they keep the children only for 3 to 4 hours.Back


Red and White bravery awards presented
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 19 — The Red and White Bravery Awards for Punjab were presented at a function here today. The awards were given in two categories — physical bravery and social acts of courage. In each category winners were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals along with cash and certificates.

The recipients of the awards include Mrs Ritu Kumar and Mr Amit Narang for physical bravery and Ms Sukhvinder Kaur, Mr Gurcharan Singh Pawar and Mr K.K. Monga for social acts of courage. The jury comprised Air Cmdr. S.K. Banerjee, Air Officer Commanding — 12 Wing, Mr R.K. Vachher, Inspector General of Police, State Vigilance Department, Haryana, and Mr Parag Jain, Senior Superintendent of Police.

The five winners narrated their experiences to newsmen today.

It was March 16, 1999, when two men knocked the door of Mrs Ritu Kumar’s home in Jalandhar around 11 a.m. They tried to enter the house on the pretext of checking electrical connections. She asked them to come back when her husband would be home. On her refusal to allow them entry they took out a revolver and pointed at her. She yelled to children asking them to shut the doors from inside. On this the burglars attacked her. Despite being an asthma patient she grappled with them. Her sons and servant also hit the burglars. This unexpected attack made them to take to their heels.

Mrs Kumar has been awarded a silver medal.

On one cold winter morning in Ferozepore, Mr Amit Narang was out on his morning walk. He passed by three children rag pickers sitting near the fire. After a while he heard them screaming for help. He rushed back. One of the children had caught fire. He wrapped the boy with his shawl. In the process he got burns. Mr Narang has been awarded a bronze medal.

Ms Sukhvinder Kaur of Muktsar organised a cycle rally of 20 girls covering 577 km to bring about awareness about AIDS. The rally not only disbursed information on AIDS but also encouraged women to take lead in generating awareness. Ms Sukhvinder has also climbed 25000 feet high Mount Kamat.

Ms Sukhvinder Kaur has been awarded a gold medal.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Pawar, of Rajpura, Patiala, has been awarded for raising his voice against corruption in the Finance Department of Development and Panchayat block of Patiala district. The honour also comes to him for not succumbing to pressure while fighting for the rights of agricultural labourers and backward classes while exposing impostors who had taken money from unemployed people on the promise of providing them jobs. Mr Pawar has been awarded a silver medal.

Chandigarh based Mr K.K. Monga has always been on the forefront to organise blood donation and eye donation camps. Mr Monga has played a commendable role in providing free legal aid to the weaker sections of society, arranging for traffic lights to be installed in accident-prone areas, initiating a movement to create awareness on AIDS and organising marriages without dowry. He has been awarded a bronze medal.Back


Dancers salute the spirit of courage
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 19 —The day was apt to remember various acts of bravery and artists did it in style. As they swayed in praise of the spirit of conviction, the ambience kept getting surcharged with the message of valour, which was further brought home by the message of Punjab Governor Lt Gen Mr J.F.R. Jacob (retd).

“Bravery can never be taught. It is an emotion of courage and sacrifice,” he declared after awarding Red and White Bravery medals to the chosen five from Punjab. Mr Jacob saluted the courage of conviction as he spoke in appreciation of the awardees.

Ms Ritu Kumar of Jalandhar was awarded a silver medal for having braved three nuisance mongers who tried to burgle her house. Mr Amit Narang of Ferozepore got a bronze medal for having saved the life of a child who had caught fire.

Ms Sukhwinder Kaur bagged a gold medal for her campaign against AIDS, while Mr G.S. Pawar was given a silver medal for having protested against misappropriations. City-based Mr K.K. Monga was also awarded a bronze medal for arranging various eye and blood donation camps.

The evening was brought to life by an enthralling Mohini Attam dance sequence by famous South Indian artist Vijay lakshmi, followed by a tribute in Kathak to the urge of going it alone on Tagore’s Akla Chalo, by Birju Maharaj’s daughter and disciple Mamta Maharaj.

While Vijay lakshmi portrayed the perseverance of Unniarcha who braves all adversity to reach the place of obeisance, Mamta showed the travails a loner must face in his pursuit of happiness.

The most gripping part came in the form of a Jugalbandi by the two artists who recreated the magic of spring on stage. The two dancers were later honoured by Mr Jacob.Back


Heat wave sweeps region

CHANDIGARH, April 19 (UNI) — The north-west plains had another hot day with the mercury hovering four to seven degrees above normal at various places in the region.

The mercury rose to a sweltering 44.6 degrees celsius, seven degrees above normal, at Hisar for the second day today. The district town also faced an acute drinking water shortage coupled with intermittent power failures.

The temperature rose to 41 degrees celsius, five degrees above normal, at Patiala, while Amritsar recorded 40.8 degrees, seven degrees above normal.

Ambala registered a maximum temperature at 40.7 degrees, five degrees above normal, forcing people indoors.

In the city and adjoining parts of Punjab and Haryana, the mercury rose to 39.6 degrees celsius, five degrees above normal.

The mercury shot up to 26.1 degrees celsius, seven degrees above normal, at Shimla. Sundernagar, sub-division in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, registered a maximum temperature of 36.6 degrees celsius.

The weatherman has predicted light to moderate rains at isolated places in Himachal Pradesh and duststorms or thunderstorms at isolated places in Punjab and Haryana during the next 24 hours.Back


Ambala girl attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 19 — An Ambala resident attempted to commit suicide while two city residents were killed in separate accidents in the city.

According to police sources, Neerja, a resident of B S Bazaar, came to the city and tried to commit suicide by jumping into the Sukhna lake here this noon. She is 20 years old, had done her plus two, but was presently unemployed.

Sources said she boarded a bus from Ambala and reached the ISBT at about 11. 30 a.m. From there she reportedly took a rickshaw, reached the lake and hired a boat. As she was all alone some of the life guards kept a watch on her. She rowed the boat to the middle of the lake, took off her life jacket and jumped in. Since she was being watched, the life guards took a motorboat and managed to save her.

She was stated to be under some stress and came upon the idea since she had come here earlier with her sister and brother- in -law. Her mother has been summoned here since her father is dead. She has been arrested and a case under Section 309, IPC, has been registered against her.

It may be recalled that three teenaged girls from Ambala had committed suicide in a city motel some time back.

2 die in mishap: Paramjit Singh, a resident of Sector 37, died when his scooter was hit by a truck near the Sector 29 Industrial Area roundabout. Truck driver Amrik Singh was arrested and his truck has been impounded. In the second incident, Mani Majra resident Ram Kishen was run over by a car, HR O3A . He was rushed to the PGI where he succumbed to his injuries. The car driver has been arrested.

Held for gambling: The Crime Branch has arrested Kulbir Singh, a resident of Sector 45, on the charges of satta gambling and recovered Rs 2,590. A case under Section 13 - A\3\7 of the Gambling Act has been registered against her.

Creating nuisance: Ram Darbar resident Om Pal was arrested from Ram Darbar for creating nuisance at a public place while under the influence of liquor. A case under Section 34\5\61 of the Police Act has been registered.Back


Army recruitment on April 22
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 19 — The Army Recruitment Office at Ambala Cantt will recruit jawans from the areas of Ambala, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Panchkula and Chandigarh on April 22.

According to the Recruiting Officer, Cmdr. Vinod Kumar, after duly examining the certificates of candidates, they will have to undergo a physical fitness test and medical check-up.

He said here today that the candidates appearing for the recruitment should be born between June 1, 1979, and April 1, 1984. The candidates were required to bring with them certificates of their educational qualifications, character certificate duly attested by gram panchayat or municipal council and caste certificate issued by the sub-divisional magistrate.

The wards of serving personnel of the Army should bring the certificate from the concerned unit officer, whereas the wards of ex-servicemen should bring the discharge book of their father. Besides this, the candidates were required to bring sports and NCC certificates, proof of residence and six passport size photographs. The wards of ex-servicemen who were not enlisted in the discharge book were required to bring certificate from the zila sainik board.Back


Storm over vends
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 19 — The general house of the Municipal Corporation, at a meeting today, decided to ask the Finance and Contract Committee of the MC to restudy the entire scheme of allowing TV cable companies to lay underground cables in the city. Besides this, the Mayor was authorised to set up various working committees of the MC within 15 days.

A serious objection was also raised in the house on a decision of the Chandigarh Administration to allow liquor vends from temporary tin sheds in contravention of an MC resolution that had sought closure of such liquor vends. The meeting was adjourned halfway when some members left the house and the quorum was left incomplete.

The meeting opened with the councillors raising an objection to the letter of the Chandigarh Administration that had suspended a resolution of the MC and issued a ‘’show cause’’ notice to the MC asking why the resolution be not annulled.

‘’The resolution of the MC being not in consonance with the excise policy would lead to a lot of embarrassment to the Administration. By passing this resolution, the Municipal Corporation has exceeded the powers conferred on it under the Provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976,’’ says a letter of the Administration. Councillor, Ms Ranjana Shahi, asked the Commissioner to seek a clarification from the Administration as to which provisions of the excise policy were being contravened by the MC resolution of not allowing makeshift liquor shops from its land.

Removal of such shops was the mandate of the people and the elected body had resolved to stop this practice, she added. Members of the house objected to the words ‘’showcause’’ saying it seemed like the Administration was trying to discipline the elected representatives. The MC should be given an opportunity, added Mr Gyan Chand Gupta, a former Mayor.

On the issue of TV cable companies using municipal land, Mr Gupta was the most vocal demanding a CBI probe into the activities of the cable TV companies alleging that they were laying underground networks unauthorisedly. Mr Raghubir Lal Arora and Mr K.K. Addiwal intervened and suggested that the F& C be asked to review the entire scheme. Mr Gupta had alleged that close to 35 km long undergrounds ducts have been laid by a cable TV company.

The house also objected to a decision of the Administration to double lane two important roads in the city. The MC should be seeking a detail of grant in aid sanctioned by the Union Government for roads. The house also authorised the Mayor to form committees on roads, water supply, sewerage and electricity. It has been three months since the Mayor, Mrs Shanta Abhilashi took over but the committees have not, nor have these been reconstituted.Back


2 city cops for UN mission
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 19 — SI Anokh Singh Sekhon of the Chandigarh Police and Deputy Commandant S.S. Sekhon of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have been selected for the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and will leave for Delhi tomorrow.

While the former was posted in the UT IGP office, the latter was posted with the CISF battalion guarding the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat.Back


Sukhna shramdan from May 3
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 19 — The Chandigarh Administration may start the next phase of shramdan, the manual desiltation of the bed of Sukhna Lake, from May 3.

The Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), yesterday told Chandigarh Tribune that approval had already been given for the wet dredging of the lake.

Wet dredging will probably begin after monsoon this year. Though the Administration had decided in principle to award the work to the Dredging Corporation of India, the work on ground could not be started for various reasons, including some objections raised by the Department of Forests and Environment.

General Jacob said more than 30 acres of land was being identified for the deposit of silt removed through wet dredging of the lake. The land for this purpose, he said, would be acquired.

The manual desiltation supported by mechanical desiltation on voluntary basis will form part of the shramdan starting next month. Various departments, including the Bhakra Beas Management Board, Army, Irrigation Departments of both Punjab and Haryana, will provide their draglines, poclain, excavators-cum-loaders for the mechanical desiltation of the lake.

The shramdan would continue until the start of monsoon.Back


MC plans loan for tubewells
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, April 19 — Local residents have started facing shortage of drinking water with the onset of summer.

According to a press note issued by Mr Ranbir Singh, President of the local Municipal Council, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had announced a grant of Rs 25 lakh for the municipal council Kharar along with municipal councils of Morinda and Kurali while addressing a gathering in Kurali last year. He said but till now, the government had not released the grant of for the committee nor the amount has been received from the District Planning Board. He said the committee was planning to get a loan of this amount from a nationalised bank.Back

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