Sunday, April 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chandigarh faces water shortage
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 22 — The UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), in an interview with the Chandigarh Tribune recently said that the Administration was keen to improve basic services, including water and power supply, besides improving the working of the police.

He cautioned people of Chandigarh against excessive use of water and appealed to them to conserve it.

"A water crisis is ahead. We have in Chandigarh the highest per capita consumption of water. The water table is going low. I have been advocating for smaller tanks for flush latrines and fitting of water bottles in the existing flush latrine tanks to save a large quantity of water.

"We will have to think of recycling water," he said, maintaining that the Administration was trying its best to get more water as the demand has been going up.

General Jacob said that once the Ministry of Power gives the go-ahead for the gas-based power generation unit at Kishengarh, the Administration is trying to enter into a joint venture with the Himachal Pradesh Government for hydel generation.

"We are also trying to buy some power on a regular basis from Punjab," he said.

The increased workload necessitates that the Chandigarh Administration should get one more administrative secretary. Besides, the Administration wants replacement for Mr Balbir Singh, the previous Chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board, who was recalled by the Union Home Ministry sometime ago.

The Administration also hopes to get a new Home Secretary soon. By the end of June, the present Inspector-General of Police, Mr S.K. Singh, will also retire on attaining superannuation. The Administration is keen that replacement for the IGP should also come without any long break, says the General.

General Jacob, who refused to comment on Home Secretary NK Jain's case, said that by handing over the case and investigation to the CBI, the Administration has made its stand clear.

Talking about the Botanical Garden, the General said that once land acquisition work is completed, plantation of saplings will start on the basis of the recommendations of the 11-member Experts Committee.

"I am personally supervising this project. It may take about 20 years for the trees to come up," he said.

The Administration has decided to redesign the triangular island at Sukhna Lake, besides making several other changes to make it a more tourist- and people-friendly resort.

"Lighting along the embankments, provision of certain stalls, including those of soft drinks and ice-creams along the far end of the embankment, provision of toilets, and also provision of wrought iron benches for the strollers to sit and relax are being provided to facilitate visitors to the lake," the General said.

Referring to the proposed Football Academy, the General said that the project may take off in July this year. The Department of Sports has already identified the Sector 42 Hostel and a school for the proposed academy. The talent hunt for admissions to the academy is expected to start next month when trials would be conducted where boys from football nurseries from nearby towns would be invited to participate.

"We do not have the money. We are going to industrial houses with a begging bowl to get finances for this project," the General said.

When asked about land for cooperative house building societies, the General said that the process for allotment of land may start in May this year.


Vandana case and funds to PU not linked, says UT
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 22 — The Chandigarh Administration has denied reports that have appeared in a section of the press linking the finalisation of the Budget of Panjab University and delay in release of Grant-in-Aid to the university, with the appointment of the wife of the UT Finance Secretary as lecturer in PU.

In statement issued here tonight, the Administration said, as per the established procedure, Panjab University prepares its draft budget, for both plan and non-plan heads of expenditure. The draft budget proposals are presented for approval to the Board of Finance, a statutory body under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor with the Finance Secretaries of the state government of Punjab and the UT Administration, as members besides other nominated members from the university. Subsequently, the budget has to be passed by the governing bodies of the university i.e the Syndicate and Senate.

As per the Government of India guidelines, the budget deficit as finalised, is to be funded in the ratio of 40:60 by the Punjab Government and the UT Administration, respectively. The Board of Finance monitors the financial propriety, condition of the state and central finances. Universities and other institutions of higher learning are being asked to raise additional financial resources at their own level and to streamline expenditures wherever possible.

It has been observed that Panjab University has been submitting budgetary proposals with increasing deficit every year without making any serious efforts in the direction of raising resources. The Board of Finance, which met in March, 1999, expressed serious concern over the financial profligacy and runaway expenditure on non-essential items in the university. Office expenses have been found to be showing an alarming increase. Financial discipline and accounting system was found to be lacking, with very high provisions under heads of accounts with descriptions like "unforeseen and special demands", "lumpsum provisions", "unassigned", "to meet small additional expenditure under different budget heads", among others, which do not conform to established accounting principles, the statement alleges .

The Board of Finance took note of the status of financial position of the university and recommended rationalisation of the user charges for various facilities in the university and effecting economy in usage of vehicles, air conditioners and such other items.

A sub-committee headed by Professor I.M. Govil was constituted to suggest measures for augmenting financial resources and expenditure control. The subcommittee submitted its report in August, 1999, suggesting various measures to effect economy and raise resources. The sub-committee recommended banning any further recruitment against any teaching or non-teaching position till the university completes the exercise to assess the workload as per the UGC guidelines. This has also been agreed to by the Syndicate.

A perusal of the record shows that the university has been projecting increased expenditure in the budget every year while keeping the revenue receipts constant. The Government of Punjab, on its part, kept its share towards funding the deficit almost frozen at 1998-1999 level, at approximately Rs 16.46 crore. However, the Chandigarh Administration has been releasing its share to the university as per the agreed formula against the deficit communicated. The university had been found to be lax in completing its budgetary exercise in time and consequently, the UT administration has faced difficulty in projecting the grant-in-aid for funding the budget deficit of Panjab University to the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, in time. At the meeting of the Board of Finance held on March 3, 2000, the Finance Secretary of the Chandigarh Administration and Special Secretary, Finance, Government of Punjab, inquired about the action taken by the university on the earlier decisions of the Board of Finance. It was noted with concern that the university has not taken into consideration the recommendations made by the Board of Finance at the meeting held in March, 1999, and the committee headed by Professor Govil which submitted its recommendations in August, 1999.

The Government of Punjab as well as the Chandigarh Administration, at every meeting of the Board of Finance, stressed upon the university to keep in mind the guidelines of the Government of India, as well as the State of Punjab, on fiscal management, resource mobilisation and austerity measures. It is a matter of concern that despite these guidelines and various recommendations of the Board of Finance and committees formed to look into better fiscal management, no tangible steps are being taken by Panjab University to control the growth of wasteful and avoidable expenditure and mobilising additional resources for the university.

At the Board of Finance meeting several instances of such wasteful and avoidable expenditure were highlighted. The Engineering Department of the university was found spending Rs 4.50 crore in a year on establishment, whereas the expenditure allocation on works is a meagre Rs 28 lakh. It was noticed that funds were diverted from one head of account to another routinely and spent excessively on repairs and maintenance, office furniture, purchase of air-conditioners etc. The Accountant-General has pointed out a serious financial irregularity, whereby about Rs 7 crore has been shown as repayment to the Government of India against loan raised by the university, but the money has not actually been released. However, the alleged repayment has been added to the revenue deficit figures of the university which is a serious financial irregularity.

Since Panjab University projected the revised deficit of Rs 82.51 crore against the approved deficit of Rs 73.17 crore fixed in the last meeting of the Board of Finance held in March, 1999, it was decided in the meeting held on March 3, 2000, to constitute a sub-committee for ascertaining the reasons for such alarming enhancement in deficit and also to go into details of lacunae, if any, in the budgetary exercise. This sub-committee headed by Prof Ashok Sahni, Dean University Instructions, after due deliberations in various meetings submitted its report and one of the major recommendations submitted by the sub-committee was that no vacant post in the university be filled till a study in regard to the teaching positions is made in accordance with the UGC guidelines by July 31, 2000. This recommendation was in line with the earlier recommendations made by the Govil Committee constituted by the BOF in March, 1999.

The UT Administration on its part released the final instalment of grants-in-aid as per the original budgetary estimates for the year 1999-2000 in October, 1999, itself. Although the revised estimates for 1999-2000 were still not got approved, the UT Administration released an additional sum of Rs 9.8 crore in March, 2000. These funds were received by the university on April 5 and salaries disbursed the same day. It is pertinent to note that April 1 and 2, being Saturday and Sunday, were holidays. In fact, the employees of the UT Administration also got their pay on April 4. It can be, thus, seen that there was no delay in the release of grant-in-aid to the university.

It is unfortunate that Panjab University did not release the pay of the employees on the plea of non-receipt of funds from the Chandigarh Administration despite the fact that the university has over Rs 70 crore lying in banks and it routinely resorts to overdraft from commercial banks, the statement said.


Water, power problems plague Bartana, too
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, April 22 — Poor water supply, low power voltage and various other problems are being faced by residents of Bartana village for the past one week.

Residents of the village said they were getting water supply for only two hours in the morning with low pressure. Majority of the residents have dug tubewells in their courtyards to meet the water shortage. Power cuts have become a routine for them. Moreover, the low voltage forces them to bear flies and mosquitoes.

Because of the absence of a government dispensary in the village, they have to go to Zirakpur and in case of any emergency, local medical practitioners are preferred. The high rates of medicines and unaffordable fees charged by the practitioners disturb their monthly budgets.

‘‘Heaps of dung and other refuse have come up at various places in the village and have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and flies. Poor sanitation in the village is inviting outbreak of malaria and other water-borne diseases,’’ complained Jaswant Singh, a resident.

‘‘Though the Nagar Panchayat has installed streetlights in the village, I have never seen them in operation. Deep potholes on the roads are a cause for concern. Size of the dustbins which authorities have placed in the village is small. Not a single bin has been placed in the market,’’ said Mangat Singh, a grosser.

There is limited and unscheduled bus service to the village which puts the commuters to great inconvenience. They have to wait for buses for hours in the absence of any bus stop, says Raj Kumar, another resident.

‘‘In laying of water supply lines in the village, the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat may take years. As water is the basic need of life, so I decided to dig a tubewell in the courtyard of my house. We are used to the power cuts for the past many years”, said Ms Surjit Kaur, a housewife.


‘First improve water supply, then hike tariff’
By Monika Sharma

CHANDIGARH, April 22 — The increase in the water tariff has been resented by city residents. A large number of people are annoyed with the administration and have stressed that the supply of water should be improved. Only then should the rates be hiked. They have termed the decision hasty.

A majority of shopkeepers are angry at the raising of the monthly charge of public standposts to Rs 400. The President of the Capital Beopar Association, Sector 19 D, and the Secretary of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, Mr Jagdish Kapoor, feels, “It is very unfortunate that new rates are being levied. People are already overburdened by taxes and the withdrawal of subsidies”.

“This facility was provided on humanitarian grounds and was aimed at the poor and common man.The government is going against its agenda by increasing the prices and is deceiving people. In case it does not roll back the hike, we will start an agitation against the municipal corporation, besides raising the matter with the administration.”

The president of the Shopkeeper Traders Association, Sector 18, Mr B.D.Garg, showed his resentment by commenting, “This price is not genuine but we will be forced to bear it. We don’t want to sell water but we will be forced to do so. Most of the water is used by the labour class for taking bath and for drinking purposes and the shopkeepers hardly make use of it. We are holding a general body meeting to arrive at some decision in this context.”

Mr Ashok Sharma, chief manager in a nationalised bank, believes that this sort of rise is a penalty for the common man. “The responsibility for the replacement of defective meter is shirked by the municipal corporation and has been passed on to the consumer. The authorities are least bothered about the pilferage of water taps but are more concerned about revising the rates.

“Basically this will pinch the poor, and the lower middle class. Instead of tackling the problem of normal water pressure during the day, the government is increasing the water tariff,” he added.

Mr Rajesh Rattan, a resident of Sector 35, said the hike was not in tune with ground realities. The increase would be a cruel joke on the people as water supply is at a low pressure and that too two times a day. Let them give water supply all day long and then increase the price.

Mr Malkit Singh, who runs a tanker service, says he will have to close down his tubewell since he will have to pay more than Rs 9, 000 per month. There is a lot of competition in our field and we cannot afford to lower our rates. The government should sink more tubewells in view of the demand, especially during the summers.

Mrs Jasjeet Kaur, staying in sector 18, is totally against the increasing of water rates. .We are already short of water and to make us more uneasy, they have raised up the rates.

On the other hand, a Modern Housing Complex resident, O. P. Sharma, says hikes like this will ensure that less water is wasted. People do not realise that it is an essential commodity and needs to be used judiciously. It is high time that a check was initiated, he opined.


Wind, rain lower temperatures

CHANDIGARH, April 22 (UNI) — High-velocity dust-raising winds coupled with a drizzle at some places in the plains and light to moderate rains in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh today brought much-needed respite in the north-west after six days of gruelling heat.

Weathermen here held out hope of some more respite forecasting light to moderate rains at some places in Himachal Pradesh and dust and hailstorms, accompanied by light to moderate rain at isolated places in Haryana and Punjab over the next 48 hours.

They have also forecast hail storms and squalls of velocity exceeding 40 km per hour at isolated places in Punjab and Haryana during the next two days. All this is under the influence of westerly disturbances moving over Jammu and Kashmir and adjoining Himachal Pradesh and upper air cyclonic circulation over the north and west Rajasthan.

Chandigarh and adjoining areas were lashed by dust winds, at times touching a speed of 35 km per hour throughout the day preceded by a light drizzle in the morning. The day temperature dipped to 37 celsius, against 40 degrees recorded yesterday.

Shimla, the state capital of Himachal Pradesh and its adjoining areas, had light showers overnight and today. Two mm of rain had fallen till 8.30 this morning bringing down day temperatures to a normal 19.6 celsius, against 25.5 degrees recorded yesterday.

Reports of intermittent rains since last night have also come in from Kangra valley and Sundernagar. The day temperature in Sundernagar after one mm of rainfall dipped to 24.9 c from 35.8 degrees yesterday.

The rains provided much needed relief in various parts of Himachal Pradesh.

Ambala in Haryana and Patiala and Ludhiana in Punjab reported duststorms today and day temperatures hovered around 38 celsius, still one to two degrees above normal.

However, the entire national capital region including Delhi, Palam, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, reported day temperatures two to three degrees above normal.


April ’99 was hotter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22 — The first three weeks of this month have been hot, especially so in the past one week, as day-time temperatures in the city have been recorded at 4 to 5 degrees celsius above the normal average for this time of the year. But take heart, it is still better than the previous year.Yesterday the day-time temperature touched the 40 degrees celsius mark, that was 5 degrees celsius above normal. The temperature was 40 degrees celsius on the day before that. Director of the local Meteorological Office, Mr S.C. Bhan, said a lack of rain since early March had caused the temperature to rise. Even the prevailing cloudy conditions that resulted in a brief shower late last night would end in the next 24 hours, he added.

However, luckily, this year’s onset of summer was less oppressive compared to the same period last year when records were being broken as the city recorded the hottest ever month of April. Temperatures soared beyond the 40 degree celsius mark as early as April 10.This year, the same temperature was recorded on April 20.

This year, since April 5, the daytime temperature has been recorded above the 35 degree celsius mark on all days except on the 6th, 15th and 18th. The ongoing conditions effect the cool mornings. Temperatures at 5:30 a.m have been recorded at 23, 24 and 23 degrees celsius, on April 19, 20 and 21, respectivey.

Normally in the city, the day-time temperature touches the 35 or 36 degrees celsius mark in April before rain occurs to provide the cooling effect. A lack of rain this year is the only plausible explanation for the heat. Like last year rain has not been occurring frequently in the city. According to records of the local meteorological office, daytime temperature rarely crosses the 40 degrees celsius mark in April. If last year’s record — 40 degrees celsius recorded on 11 days during April — is not taken into account , the city residents in ten years have faced only 11 days when the mercury has showed similar recordings.


Let the web plan your holidays
By Akanksha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22 — The summer vacations are only a few days away and everyone is inviting suggestions for this year's travel plans. The salaried class has started applying for leave and leave travel concession (LTC). Would you like to waste your vacation ever? The answer is surely no. So what's the best way to chalk out a proper travel plan — The Net.

All of us wait for spend some time with ourselves, family and friends. The increased competition has made all of us too busy, isn't it? Most parents do not find much time to spend with their kids. Children are always busy preparing for their tests. All this results in a long wait for the most cherished private time and family time. Summer vacations are indeed the time for these times.

Certainly, one will be too glad to see the pictures of the place one wants to visit, know about the hotels, nearby places, the amount one needs to spend, travel facilities etc while just sitting at home. There are no messengers to bring you this information.

What one needs to do is just turn on a computer, log onto the Internet and explore sites which give you this information. There are many tourism sites like that of the Hyderabad Tourism, and etc. These sites give detailed information about the state, city or place and are useful if you have already made travel plans.

However, what should you do in case you have not decided which place to visit? Just visit, a complete site to plan your vacations from the scratch. It gives a long, but, distinguished list of exclusive summer destinations, including Leh-Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Garhwal Himalayas, Kumaon Hills, Ooty, Mahabaleshwar, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Shillong and Mount Abu.

Other sites which help you plan the summer holiday are, and The joy and satisfaction which one gets from a well-planned summer vacation is incredible. So get going and make the best out of what the worldwide web (www) has to offer to you. Just sit back and get clicking to reach the destinations you have not visited so far.

Here are a few sites which you can access to plan your vacations in a best way possible:,, (citywise),,,,, www.,,,, (good, citywise destinations, weather forecast),,,,,,,,,, (Ministry of Tourism site).

One can find many more sites which help in planning a trip abroad. Lots of information flows on the Net. All one needs to keep in mind is "relevance of information". It depends on the requirement, the willingness and the means in hand to meet the expenses. So don't get lost on the web, but, find a good destination for yourself these summers through this maze.


Police rejects inmate’s complaint
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 22 — The police has termed the complaint of a 65-year-old woman inmate of the Sector 15 Old Age Home regarding harassment as false and has recommended action against her for disturbing the peace of fellow inmates.

In an inquiry report submitted to the UT SSP, Mr Parag Jain, the ASP (Central), Dr Sagar Preet Hooda, has said that the complainant has been exaggerating her problems and the allegations of harassment levelled by her are "false and baseless".

He has also said that both parties are "simply making allegations and counter allegations against each other". The conduct of the inmate, Ms Pushpa Sharma, who has been serving the others for the past 10 years is right.

The complainant, Ms Parkash Kaur, in a complaint lodged with the police in February, had alleged that Ms Pushpa Sharma and another caretaker had been insulting her and had also stolen Rs 200 and her address book along with a few photographs from her room. The SSP had ordered an inquiry into the matter.

Meanwhile, majority of the other inmates, on the contrary, had alleged that Ms Parkash Kaur had been creating nuisance. They said she had gained entry into the home in August 1998 without any proper verification. They said her constant fighting and use of abusive language had virtually made life hell for the others.

"Old persons who need peace and rest are subjected to mental torture by frequent visits of policemen who come to record statements in various false cases lodged by her every now and then,'' said one of the inmates. "Why would I indulge in stealing after all the selfless service which I do here," said Ms Pushpa.

The inmates, in a representation to the senior officials, have demanded that Ms Parkash Kaur should be expelled from the home and, alternatively, put in Nari Niketan. They have also asked them to frame stringent rules and regulations which not only govern the entry of residents into the home but also their behaviour during the stay here.

Sources said Parkash Kaur might have been instigated to create a controversy in the otherwise smooth functioning of the home, which only last year in April, had been handed over to the Lions Club. The sources add that the Administration is keen to have the control of the home back. "The Administration is also not taking any interest in the functioning of the home after the change of the management," they said.

Meanwhile, the inmates are also troubled by the nuisance created by the inmates of the Juvenile Remand Home located on the first floor of the complex. Despite best efforts, plans to shift it to an alternative site have not materialised. The noise created by them to trouble these old persons is making life difficult for them.


Tying the knot? Have it on CD
By Peeyush Agnihotri
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 22 — With the passage of time memory may blur, a video cassette may smudge, a photograph may fade and a marriage can go stale. But certainly not the compact disc (CD). Like diamonds, they are forever. This is the underlying hypothesis that is driving the grooms of the 80s and 90s to studios for getting their marriage videos converted to a CD.

A video cassette is being seen as an object from the Stone Age. CD has written its epitaph and slick video CD (VCD) players have sounded the death-knell of portly video cassette recorders and players. Multi-media computers are getting as ubiquitous as a first-aid kit in upper-middle-class homes, all this topped with the craze of doing what is in vogue. The result is that you have a crowd clamouring to get the family videotapes converted to CDs.

An ordinary CD has 650 megabyte of space and the contents of a full three-hour video cassette take at least three CDs to fit in. The going market conversion rate varies between Rs 400 to 900 per CD, which means a person shells out Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,700 per cassette. This is apart from the cost of getting the video coverage of the event, probably a small fee for viewing oneself tying the knot on a VCD player.

Apart from those who were born before the CD epoch, there are those from the current generation, who want the CD as the end- product. Video cassettes are mere by-products now. Photographers vouch that 70 to 80 per cent of those who get a family event recorded get it on a CD. “Almost everyone who can afford wants a CD as the final product. They have better durability and so is the quality. Further, VCPs are getting obsolete,” says Mr Sehgal from a photo studio in Sector 17, “as even movies are hard to find on cassettes.”

However, Mr V.K. Sood of a Sector 35 studio, differs and sees the whole development as a “craze” that has swept the market. “If the event is covered with a digital camera, only then is the quality excellent. Otherwise, if CDs are made from videotapes, shot through an ordinary camera, these will depend on the latter’s quality. Every conversion ends with some signal loss. This is a basic principle of electronic physics,” he says. “No doubt the finish on a CD is better but as of today, the market lacks the necessary infrastructure and equipment,” he adds.

For those who find the current cost of conversion a bit high, market pundits advise them to wait as DVD (digital video disc), which has already hit the market, will become a common thing soon. Though DVD players have entered the market, their cost, at around Rs 30,000, is prohibitive. An ordinary DVD can store 1 gigabyte of data. That means that the contents of an entire video cassette can get transferred on a single DVD.

Cassette is past and DVD is the future. CD is the present. Regarding the quality of conversion and the basics of physics? Well, they go for a six. Ask those zealous grooms, busy getting themselves etched on a CD, who love watching their own doomsday, oops, “groomsday”.


Show of strength at Carnival
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 22 — It was body builders’ day at the Sector 17 Saturday Plaza Carnival here today. Some of the top musclemen of the city, including Hardip Singh of DAV College, Digvijay Singh, Gopal Buro and Mintoo, displayed not only sinews of each and every part of the body but also impressed the audience with their flexibility and skills.

Sarabjit Cheema, a folk singer, sang some of his favourite and popular numbers. Prof Prem Singh displayed his art of painting while students of the Government College of Art made sketches on the spot.


World Earth Day observed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 22 — World Earth Day was observed here today. Functions were organised by Children's Alliance for Protection of the Environment, local chapter of World Wide Fund and Kailash Bahl DAV Model School.

The Children's Alliance for Protection of the Environment (CAPE) launched a programme to clean up a 200-year-old pond at Kanchanpur village in Sector 26-D. Schoolchildren from eight schools, with banners in their hands, participated in the Earth Day rally. Mr Des Raj Tandon, Senior Deputy Mayor, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, who inaugurated the project, said the the corporation would extend its support to the project.

Prof S.C. Jain of Panjab University expressed his concern over deterioration of the pool and wanted desiltation to be taken up to preserve it. Mr S.K. Sharma of Environment Society and Dr K.K. Garg of Ministry of Environment were others who spoke on the occasion.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (India) organised a function at Sukhna Lake, where on-the-spot painting and quiz competitions were organised. More than 100 students participated. Kumud Singh, Divya Sehajpal and Suman, all students of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33, won the first, second and third prize, respectively in the quiz contest for juniors. In the seniors' section, students from the same school — Gaurav Bhatti, Ela, and Jag Parvesh — got the first, second and third prize, respectively.

In the on-the-spot painting competition, Jasleen Bhullar of Shivalik Public School, Noopur Gulati of Dutt Vishesh High School and Sumit Kumar Dhiman of GMSS, Sector 33, won the first three prizes in the juniors' section. In the seniors' section, the prize winners were Chhering Negi, Jasmeet Kaur and Simranjit Kaur Mann, all from SPS, SAS Nagar; Rajesh (GMSS, Sector 33), Gagandeep Singh (SPS, SAS Nagar), and Apurav (SPS, Sector 41).

A function was also held at the Sector 7 Kailash Bahl DAV Public School. Mr H.S. Sohal, Chief Wildlife Warden, Chandigarh Administration, was the chief guest. He presented a pollution control kit to the school.

The Department of Environment, UT Administration, and C.L. Aggarwal DAV Model School, Sector 7, also observed World Earth Day. Saplings were planted by Mr H.S. Sohal, Director, Environment, and Chief Wildlife Warden. Mr A.L. Bahri of L.M.C. of the school flagged off a rally of schoolchildren to give a message To Save Earth. Tiny-tots of the school presented a colourful tableau depicting the plights of our earth. Mr Sohal laid stress on the need of preserving the earth and what the students could do to conserve the environment.

Prizes were given away to winners of inter-school drawing competition. In Group A, Snehal of DAV Public School, Sector 8, Panchkula, stood first and Anjali of the same school was second. In Group B, Kaveena Thakur of DAV Model School, Sector 15, Chandigarh, was placed first and Simarpreet Kaur of Shivalik Public School, Sector 41, Chandigarh, stood second. In Group C, Kimpreet Kaur of Shivalik Public School, SAS Nagar, was first and Jigyasa of DAV Model School, Sector 15, Chandigarh, was placed second.


Chinese food leads everywhere
By Surbhi Bhalla

CHANDIGARH, April 22 — Don't feel like cooking or some unexpected guests have dropped in ? Do not fret. Just dial your favourite restaurant for grub. If it is Chinese, the better.

While dining out and trying exotic dishes has caught the fancy of the people lately, Chinese food has been the clear favourite from among Mexican, Thai and Italian fare. Going by the clientele of some eating joints in the city, it seems people are fiercely loyal to particular restaurants.

May it be Shangril La Plus, Yangtse, Dragon or Chopsticks, one smacks one's lips in anticipation of sampling mouth watering dishes as soon as the magic word party is used.

Both the elderly and youngsters are crazy about the stuff and some literally thrive on the ‘yummy’ Chinese dishes.

"I just love it because I love it and can have it all week long," says Meena, college student, while gorging on some a dish at a joint in Sector 17 with her friends. "We try a different dish each time but our all-time favourite is talumein soup. We always place a mixed order," adds her friend, Kalpana.

Even during day time, these restaurants are abuzz with activity. With reasonably good food and reasonable rates, they are favourite places for quieting hunger pangs.

The popularity of the foreign fare can be judged from the fact that almost every rehri market and dhaba in the city offers Chinese dishes at a fraction of the cost and enjoys a large clientele. Families with double income make a beeline for them whenever they don't want to eat the traditional dal, roti and subzi. It is a welcome change from the mundane to the exotic, says Rajesh Kumar, a Sector 37 dhaba owner.

A manager at an eatery in Sector 35, says it is always easy to spot the first timers as they are not sure what to order and we have to explain the composition of the dish since many restaurants do not detail the ingredients. Many times, they misunderstand the description and do not like what is served to them.

"Although such cases are rare but I think that once the patron has sampled a dish he will rarely like to experiment unless he has been trying them over a period of time or visits the restaurant with a knowledgeable friends," he opined.

What can be the reasons ? Is it only because it tastes good ? Or, is it economical ? Because of courteous and prompt service ? Probably a combination of all the above ? It is a boon for the working couple who can order a variety of food for between Rs 40 to Rs 120 per dish, depending on the establishment one orders from. It tangles the taste buds, is spicy and easy on the pocket, sums up Monica, a frequent visitor and diehard chowmein fan.


Shatabdi bomb scare handled casually
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 22 — What would have happened had there been a real bomb on board train number 2005, the Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi yesterday? A huge death toll and this nightmare may have came true even after the train was halted for combing operations at Radhdhana near Sonepat following information about some explosive substance on board.

It seems the Railways, despite its size and manpower, had no contingency plan in place to tackle the situation. A tragedy would have happened even as combing operations were on. The worst informed were the passengers, who were not even told that there had been a bomb scare. Some of them kept filtering in and out of the bogies a good hour after it had been halted, said Ms Jaspreet, who was on board the train that arrived 4 hours behind schedule at Chandigarh last night.

Even as newspapers offices in Chandigarh were aware that there had been a bomb scare on board the train yesterday, hapless passengers just saw a convoy of vehicles that arrived to whisk away the Haryana Governor, Mr Mahabir Prasad, who was on board the train.

Ms Jaspreet added: “Oblivious of the risk to my life, I was sitting inside the coach till about 15 minutes after the halt.” Passengers came to know from fellow passengers, who had alighted earlier, that there was a bomb scare. No one from the Railways came to inform the passengers. Nor was the train cordoned off or any announcements made.”

Everyone was so casual, taking it for granted that the alert was against a hoax bomb call, another passenger added. When the dog squad arrived passengers were asked to take away their baggage. All the while passengers, including women and children, kept sitting on a platform just 30 yards away from the train. Separating them was a railway line between the platform and the train.

On this track trains were passing continuously. At least four trains packed with passengers halted also. Had there been a bomb and had it exploded at that time the casualties could have been many. Ms Jaspreet further said: “The Railways will have to do a lot of answering and a lot of rethinking about future planning in such situations.


Council chief has narrow escape
From Our Correspondent

KHARARApril 22 — Mr Jaswinder Singh, President of the Municipal Council, Kurali, had a narrow escape on Saturday when a truck driver, who allegedly wanted to evade octroi, tried to crush him. He got a clue that a truck-load of cement was going to be unloaded in Chanalon village without the payment of octroi. The President, along with other officers, reached on the spot. The driver, on seeing them, tried to crush the President, who was coming on a scooter, but he had a narrow escape. The truck driver was caught and the truck, with 180 bags of cement was taken into possession.


Erratic power supply
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, April 22 — A major part of the town plunged into darkness late in the evening due to some technical snag in the Sector 1 66 KV substation.

Though the power supply was restored after an hour, residents complained that there was an unscheduled power cut of more than five hours earlier in the day. Power supply remained erratic for most of the day.


Scooterist crushed to death
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 22 — One person died while three others were injured in accidents in various places in the city today.

According to police sources, Daulat Singh of SAS Nagar was going on his scooter on the road dividing Sectors 33 and 45 when he was hit and crushed by a speeding truck this afternoon. A case has been registered. Further investigations are on.

Cyclists Raju and Ram Kumar were injured when they were hit by a scooter (HR-03-C-0103) near the road dividing Sectors 10 and 11. Ram Kumar received serious injuries and was admitted to the PGI. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered.

Cyclist Gian Chand of Sector 32 was hit by a scooter (CH-01-Y-9663) near a school in Sector 33. The scooterist fled from the spot. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered.

Held with liquor
The police arrested Madan of Janta Colony for possessing 72 quarters of whisky. A case under Sections 61, 11 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Car stolen
Sector 35 resident Gurshinder Singh reported that his car DL-4CC-5666 had been stolen from Sector 17. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Cable operators booked
At least three cable operators of Mani Majra were booked by the Chandigarh Police for allegedly screening a Hindi movie without valid permission.

A case under Sections 51 and 63 of the Copyright Act, 1957, has been registered against the cable operators on the basis of a complaint lodged by Mr Deepak Tandon, local Field Manager of Indian Media Protection Against Copyright Theft (IMPACT) — a consortium of various companies holding video copyrights and cable TV rights.


Three injured
At least three persons were injured in a fight between two rival groups of LCV union in Phase 5 last night.

According to the information available, the three injured persons — Malkiat Singh, Gujhar Singh and Manjeet Singh — were admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical Hospital.

A police official said a case under Section 107 and 151 of the IPC was going on in court. No case has been registered in connection with last night's fight as the medical report of the victims has not come.



Chemists protest against sealing of shops
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, April 22 — Chemists of Kurali went on strike today and blocked vehicular traffic on the Kurali-Ropar road for about 45 minutes in protest against the sealing of three shops of chemists in Kurali by the SDM of Kharar yesterday.

Three shops were raided by Mr Devinder Singh, SDM, along with Tehsildar, Kharar, and the Duty Magistrate when he received complaints from some persons yesterday about some chemists.

Mr Devinder Singh, when contacted by this correspondent today said that he visited the Kurali area yesterday in connection with a fire incident when some persons complained about the sale of certain intoxicant drugs in Kurali. He along with officers, a doctor of Civil Hospital and other persons, visited two shops and found that they were not having valid licences. Similarly in an other shop, the salesman standing there was not the authorised person. He said all these shops had been sealed and he had constituted a committee which would examine the whole issue.

Meanwhile, the chemists and members of the district body reached Kurali and blocked the traffic. They were protesting that the SDM did not have the authority to seal the shops of the chemists.

Mr Jasdev Singh, SHO, Kurali, persuaded them to lift the blockade and had a meeting with senior officers. Later, a meeting was held in the Kurali municipal committee office and a compromise was reached. The licences were checked and were found to be valid. The seals were opened and the strike was called off. Dr Rajinder Singh, Civil Surgeon, Ropar, participated in the discussions on behalf of Deputy Commissioner, Ropar.

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