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


New PUDA complex to come up in Sector 62
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, April 30 — The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) is finally going ahead with a proposal to construct its office complex in the city centre in Sector 62 here. The complex to be constructed in an area of 3. 28 acres will house various offices of PUDA, functioning from rented accommodations at Chandigarh and the office of the Additional Chief Administrator (ACA), SAS Nagar.

The office complex, comprising two eight-storeyed blocks — juxtaposed by five-storeyed block — will provide an area of about 20,000 sq ft, enough to meet the space requirements of the local and the Chandigarh-based office of PUDA.

The project gains importance as the Punjab Government had already written to PUDA to relocate at least 70 of its offices, presently being run from rented accommodations in Chandigarh. Already land had been allotted to a super-speciality hospital and a super-speciality cardiac centre in Sector 62.

Sources in PUDA said the office complex will be linked with the main road coming from Sector 17 of Chandigarh. The complex would have suitable landscaped internal courtyard flowing into external space through the double height-stilted space at the ground level. Two five-storeyed stilted blocks jutting out from eight- storeyed main blocks, on opposite corners of the complex, would give shape to the

built environment for the complex. Parking of vehicles has been planned on the ground and basement level.

An interesting feature of the complex was there would be independent entry to the head office building and the office of the ACA, SAS Nagar.

Other facilities planned in the complex were public dealing zones, cafeterias, conference rooms, business centres, computer centres’ bank extension counter, post office and facilities for handicapped. Central airconditioning of the complex was also proposed, said an official.Back


Sukhna’s hospitable habitat
holds back winged visitors
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 30 — Winged visitors from Siberia appear to have extended their lease over their temporary abode at Sukhna Lake. The reason, say the scientists, is the availability of suitable habitat.

A team of scientists from the Zoological Survey of India led by Dr H.S. Mehta, which visited the lake last week, has estimated that more than 1,000 migratory birds are still here. They include pintail ducks, brahmni ducks, mallards and spot bills.

It may be mentioned here that the Chandigarh Administration has given a project to the Zoological Survey of India for studying diversity of fauna in Chandigarh. The team of scientists, which came equipped with high-speed cameras and other sudy material spent several hours at the lake, following migratory birds and their movements.

“We noticed a flock of brahmni ducks, 50 to 60 mallards, more than 100 pintail ducks and 200 to 300 spot bills. Both spot bills and pintail ducks have traits of residency and have delayed their journey back home,” says Dr Mehta.

One of the reasons given by scientists for the extended stay of these birds is availability of natural and hospitable habitat.

“We have noticed crustaceans — smal shrimps and prawns in pools and puddles of water in and around Sukhna Lake. Further, the large plantation of acacia is in full bloom. This land-locked area, abundant in food, and well controlled poaching is serving as an ideal habitat for migratory birds,” adds Dr mehta.

Another reason is the presence of a large variety of butterflies in and around Sukhna Lake and its catchment area.

More than 100 species of butterflies and wasps are available. These include honeybees which propagate green vegetation through cross pollination. With the extended green cover and continuous availability of water, birds are getting plenty of food, shelter and peaceful environs.

The inflow of silt, too, is carrying some nutrients for these migratory birds.

At present, acacia plantations in Sukhna, Nepli and Kansal forests are in bloom, providing enough work for honeybees to make the vegetation flourish. It is because of good vegetation that the wildlife in these sanctuaries appears to be flourishing.

“When we visited these areas last week, we found a lot of rabbits, deer, antlers and other wildlife. This indicates that it is flourishing and thriving in these areas because of much lesser threat of poaching than other sanctuaries in the nearby Punjab areas”, he added.

The Zoological Survey of India team will be back in the area sometime next week for its further investigation and work.Back


20,000 customers to benefit from computerised billing scheme of HUDA
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, April 30 — As a step towards modernisation and facilitating water and sewerage billing, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) will begin issuing computerised bills to residents beginning this May.

Primarily adopted to reduce inconvenience to the consumers who have to wait for long hours owing to the manual process of accepting cash at the bill collection centre, the project will also reduce any errors which creep into the billing process.

Further, it would drastically cut down the paper work involved in the job, and information of defaulters would always be on hand for the officials, considerably simplifying the tedious labour involved in rummaging through heaps of files which occupy unaccountable space in the offices.

The software package for the billing process has been developed by the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, while the five computers, two modems and two printers have been procured through HARTRON. These have been installed at the billing-cum-cash collection centres, one each in Sector 8 and 10.

While the new system will cater to over 20,000 customers — domestic, industrial and commercial — in the township, the task of issuing bills to the eight villages which fall in the township will still be undertaken manually. However, consumers of these villages will also be brought under the computer network within three months, sources informed.

A trial run for computerised billing had already been initiated and the department has been preparing computerised bills since the last fortnight. Meanwhile, employees of the Public Health wing are undergoing training in groups as a part of the drive to make them “computer friendly” and familiarise them with the concept of computerised receipts gains momentum. Presently, there are about 25 persons posted in the water billing section which include billing clerks, meter readers, bill distributors and other allied staff.

Described as a pilot project, computerisation of billing was initiated last year and cost Rs 11 lakh to the department, though the initial cost was an estimated Rs 7 lakh when the project was handed over to PEC.

With bills to be issued bi-monthly, the system will ensure fewer mistakes and solve the problem of issuing bills on flat rates for unoccupied houses. Also, it would check unethical practices of forging water bill receipts and provide information at the click of a button.Back


Shastri's swearing-in today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 30 — Mr Vishnu Kant Shastri will be sworn in as officiating Governor of Punjab-cum-Administrator of Chandigarh at Punjab Raj Bhavan here tomorrow at 11.30 a.m. as Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd) is going abroad on leave.Back


The nicer side of summer
By O.P Bhagat

Heat and dust — that is how some people sum up summer. If you are not convinced, they reel off adjective like stuffy, sweaty and scorching.

Or they pick up the day’s paper and point to the headlines telling of power cuts and water shortage which add to the people’s woe while the mercury soars.

They are quite right. Our summer is hot, horribly hot. But this is only one side of the coin. There is a nice and pleasant side too. In fact, the summer joys more than make up for its rigors or horrors.

The long days are not all hot and horrid.The mornings are often cool, refreshingly cool. So are the nights. Now and then there is a cloudy day, sometimes with an hour or two of rain. A dusty,gusty storm may also bring in its wake some cool showers.

Many flowers do fade and plants die out in he heat. But some trees and shrubs bloom yet. Flowers like jasmine come forth only when the hot das begin. So does the night-blooming Raat ki Rani.

In May, even earlier, begin to blow hot winds from mid-morning till sunset, even an hour or so after. It makes you feel slow, drowsy or thirsty. You may hear of heat-stroke cases. If a heat wave is on, worse things are in the news.

In spite of all that, May is a green month. Every tree is thick with the leaves it got in spring. If watered regularly, the plants and lawns too stay green.

The greenery lessens the effect of the heat. It keeps the things around cool , and clean too. It softens the sun’s glare and is soothing to the eye. All creatures enjoy it.

Ours is a fruitful year. With every season come new fruits. The summer’s severe heat seems to be against such bounty. But it is not . We have more fruits in summer than in any other season.

Melons and watermelons come in truck-loads. Also in plenty are plums, peaches, falsas, litchis, apricots, cherries, jamuns and early pears and apples.

Above all, there is mango, the king of fruits. It grown in all parts of the country. For that reason it has so many varieties. And it is everybody’s. favourite. Its sweetness almost takes the sting out of the summer’s heat.

Summer days are salad days Lettuce may not be there, but the cool, crunchy cucumber is . Also the long, slim kakri. As in other seasons, tomato as well. And several herbs. together they make nice dishes. also nice are summer fruit salads.

Feeling thirsty?Sip a glass of sherbet or squash or nimbu pani. Or thundai — the very name gives you a feeling of coolness. Or coconut milk from nature’s globular bowl Or panna, made from the pulp of roasted raw mangoes.It is at once tasty and tonic and beats the ill-effects of the hot winds and scorching heat.

Or go for a fizzy bottle. Or a fruity tetrapack. There are fresh fruit juices and fruit punches. And cold coffee and iced tea. and chilled beer.

Add to these milkshake, flavoured milk and milk laced with almonds or pistachio. If you are calorie-conscious, you may take lime juice with water. If you like it spicy, jal jeera is the drink for you.

As a soft drink ad says, “it is fun to be thirsty.”

Now some frozen delights. Syrupy ice-ball, khoya-rich kulfi, true-to-its-name softy and ice-cream in sticks, bars and dollops. And “ice-dreams” topped with nuts and bits of fruit.

For a change you may try falooda, a cool, yummy delicacy which is a class by itself.

Then there is the summer pleasure of bathing, swimming and boating. If some swimmers go to the pools, some others make for a nearby river or canal. Some old and young people enjoy themselves at the wells and baolis (step-wells).

Lazy, dozy days are here again, says one as he yawns. Yes, they are. But lively is the summer fashion scene. Guys and girls flit about in trendy shirts, T-shirts, kurtas, jeans and shorts.

There are soft-hued salwar suits and cool, crisp cotton saris. And cute chicken ensembles in pastel colours. Hi-fashion khadi creations are also there. Almost every designer exhibits his or her summer collection. Soft and subdued are the traditional summer fashion colours. But you come across bright tints and prints as well. Perhaps the idea or inspiration comes from the gul mohur, which displays its flamboyant red in the early summer heat.

At one time, with the coming of the hot weather, the cultural scene looked slack. Thanks to air-conditioning, art and other shows now go on all through May and June. There are ghazal and pop music evenings, star nites and youth fetes too.

Some states hold mango and litchi festivals. Many restaurants organise mango and ice-cream weeks or forthnights. Some people have their own melon or mango parties at home or in gardens.

Summer time is holiday time. If some people go to the hills or other resorts, some others go on pilgrimages. After remaining closed in winter, Himalyan shrines like Badrinath and Kedarnath open again in summer.

Many others visit their friends and relations in the plains. Or the visits to other towns may be for pleasure or sightseeing. Delhi and Jaipur draw thousands, hot though they are.

Students attend summer camps or go on other trips. Some opt for adventure sports like rafting and trekking. A few go right up to the sources of the Ganga and the Yamuna.

Even in their own towns many have a good time. They visit libraries, museums and monuments. Some others get summer jobs or attend short art, cookery, acting or computer courses.

Some weak students join special coaching classes. Those who aim at high positions in exams or competitions make the best of the two-month summer vacation.

Kids have fun at parks like Appu Ghar. Or they have their fill of movies and video games. Institutions like Bal Bhavan arrange special programmes for them.

Summer offers something nice to all — all except the grumblers. While the others are busy or enjoy themselves, these few — or maybe quite many — fret and sweat all through the season. Back


Action regarding complaint

MR Deepak Chopra, Private Secretary to the Union Home Minister, Mr Lal Krishan Advani, has asked the adviser to the Administrator of UT, Ms Vineeta Rai, to look into my complaint against the incharge of Chandigarh Tourist Information Centre, Inter-State Bus Terminus, Chandigarh, and also his request for revival of Tourist Rest House at Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 17.Earlier, during the recent visit of the Union Home Minister to Chandigarh on April 7, I presented him a letter, mentioning that the Tourist Rest House, opened by the Chandigarh Administration (Tourism) at the bus terminus for low-budget tourists, both domestic and foreign, was not functioning for the past a few years and the incharge of Tourist Information Centre of Chandigarh Administration at the bus terminus was not giving the above rest house to tourists. This had caused a lot of revenue loss to the Chandigarh Administration, which would have come in the shape of room rent.

Narinder Singh

NAC and Silver City

Lot of comments about the urban growth of Zirakpur appeared in Chandigarh Tribune dated April 11, 15 and 24.

Punjab Government deserves appreciation for creating NAC for Zirakpur. This will promote planned development of this town. PUDA too has taken the right step to approve a well-designed colony named Silver City. This project is being handled by professionals in the field of town planning, architecture and landscaping. Design of this city is based on the latest know-how on approach, circulation, parking, spaces, drainage, sewerage, water supply and landscaping. Important services like electricity and telephones, are being provided. Trees will be grown in the best planned manner.

Dham, Kohli and Johl


Jacob in USA

THE Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), has proceeded on a fortnight’s leave to visit the USA where he is scheduled to participate in an international workshop on terrorism.

“I am deeply interested in this subject. I have been connected with combating terrorism for a long time,” he said, adding that he is going to attend the seminar in his personal capacity “without debiting my expenditure to the State account”.

The workshop he will attend may attract some of the top world leaders, including those from Asia, Europe and North America.

After a fortnight in the USA, General Jacob will have a couple of days off before returning to the city to resume charge here.

“I have three night schools for slum children working. Each school gets about 200 children. I want that at least 20 such schools should function in the city so that all slum children and even adults can come and learn how to read and write. Let them have basic education.

“The night schools project has got off to good start,” he adds. Another thrust area for General Jacob has been information technology. Himself a computer savvy personality, he is keen that all police stations in the Union Territory are inter-connected and the entire work is computerised.

He is also keen that all schools, both urban and rural, must have computer classes.

“We are trying to do whatever we can do to maintain special status of Chandigarh and making it an ultra-modern high-tech city,” he adds.

Global astrologers: A convention of astrologers from all over the globe will be held in the city on May 7. This unique convention will attract astrologers, jyotish experts and others. There will be free consultation for the general public between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The venue of the convention will be Gulati Bhavan in Sector 33.

The convention is being organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Saraswati Jyotish Manch in collaboration with the Indo-Global Astrologers Association.

The organisers say that there are many advancements in the field of predictions based on calculations, sun signs and other factors. All these predictions are scientific.

Some of the top performers of the field, including C.L. Khera, G.C. Bhargav, Rajinder Kapil, Gurtej Singh, B.B.L. Joshi, Devinder Kaushal, Amardeep Chaudhary, M.P. Agnihotri, KK Kapila, Ashok Gupta, Narinder Vasudeva, SK Abrol, Gopi Chand Bhargav, S.K. Dewan, PG Raju and Satish Joshi, will take part.

Confessions: Mr Uttam Singh Dhaliwal, who has been working for the Department of Litigation, Punjab, as an Attorney, has achieved a distinction by completing his doctorate in the area of “extrajudicial confessions”.

His doctoral thesis accepted by Guru Nanak Dev University for the award of Ph.D. was on “Law of Extra-Judicial Confessions in India — A Critical Study with special reference to Punjab State”.

The citation at the convocation recommended publication of his thesis by the university.

One of the examiners summed up the study by saying that it was an important piece of socio-legal research. The second examiner said that the candidate’s suggestions for amending the provision of the Indian Evidence Act, the Cr. P.C. and the Constitution of India are well reasoned and need immediate attention of Parliament for their implementation. The third examiner appreciated the extensive and indepth study of Law of Extra-Judicial Confession in India.

Dr Dhaliwal is also associated with the Chandigarh-based Punjab Law Commission and has been invited to be on the faculty of a North American university for teaching law there.

Symposium: “Achievement of social justice since 1950” was the topic of a debate organised by the Ambedkar Social Justice Forum and the Ratna Memorial Charitable Trust to mark Dr B.R. Ambedkar jayanti celebrations.

Mr Justice N.C. Khichi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court inaugurated the debate while Mrs Shanta Abhilashi, Mayor, presided. Dr K.S. Raju, President, Ambedkar Forum, in his keynote address highlighted the perpetual injustice done to the women and dalits as a result of which every third illiterate in the world is an Indian and two-thirds of them are women.

Mr Devi Dyal Sharma, Mr Inderjit Singh Grewal, Mr Mata Ram Dhiman, Mr Amarnath Sarhadi, Prof Dr Bhajan Kaur, Mr K.C. Shenmar and Mr Ram Chand were the other speakers at the debate.

Others who participated in the debate included Dr G.S. Shergill, Mrs Prasin Kaur, Mr Prem Gorkhi, Mrs Amrita Kohli, Ms Ranjana Shahi and Mrs Sushil Kaur Raju. They all talked about social inequalities in education, employment and other areas and wanted that women welfare laws, equality of sexes, equitable distribution of jobs were some of the areas which needed immediate attention.

Chairman, CHB: Will the next Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board be a politician? The issue is being debated in the corridors of the UT Secretariat building in Sector 9. It may be recalled that the post of the Chairman of the board has been lying vacant ever since Mr Balbir Singh, an IAS officer of the UT cadre, was recalled by the Union Home Ministry.

If one looks back at the record, the position has remained with bureaucrats for some time now. Mr Pradeep Mehra followed by Mrs Meenakshi Dutta Ghosh and then Mr Balbir Singh — all have been senior IAS officers of the UT cadre, who have held this post. Before that the position was held by some engineers. In between, Mr Sewa Singh and Mrs Tejinder Kaur also headed the board, though for brief periods of time.

Now when a decision is about to be taken, the Union Home Ministry is understood to have kept the option open of appointing a political leader as the next Chairman of the board. As far as the Administration is concerned, it is keen that a senior IAS officer of the UT cadre should continue to hold this crucial position as the board will have a gigantic task ahead in constructing nearly 16,000 dwelling units for rehabilitation of slum dwellers registered until December,1996. Besides, the board is also planning to build a 12-storey commercial building in Sector 17 here.

The board also has to be involved in allotment of land to cooperative house building societies.The process is likely to commence sometime next month. All said and done, the Chandigarh Administration needs a couple of officers to relieve others of the additional burden of work.

Charitable work: Bharat Vikas Parishad recently installed an automatic analyser for conducting pathological tests at its Charitable Diagnostic Centre being run at Indira Holiday Home in Sector 24.

In its inaugural function on December 5, 1999, the project director, Mr Ajay Dutta, expressed his desire to set up an X-ray plant for needy patients within six months. The donations poured in there and then. The deficit was made good by Dr Pratima Duggal and the X-ray unit started functioning on April 2, two months before the schedule.

Encouraged by the donors, Mr Dutta appealed the members of BVP to donate for a new multichannel ECG machine which he promised to start within three months.

A good amount started flowing before Dr S.K. Sharma, Director, PGI, could finish his inaugural address. The amount collected was declared. The deficit was still there. Mr Hardyal Kuthiala declared that the ECG machine should be installed within a week, not in three months. He would make good the deficit. And lo! the ECG — 12 channel equipment started functioning not in three months but in three days. Rates for ECG were also fixed at Rs 30 on a no profit no loss basis while X-ray costs Rs 50 in Bharat Vikas Parishad’s diagnostic centre. Of course, there are no charges for really poor patients.

And five doctors are available for free consultation.

— SentinelBack


Lonely hearts far away from home

YOUNG and pretty Jasneet Kaur completed her doctorate in English literature and waited for marriage. Her migration to Canada through marriage was preordained. Her father had planned that she would pave the way for her parents and young brothers to immigrate. Through family relations a boy was found and she was married off in three days. Jasneet became the wife of a helper in a Toronto gas station and nobody was sure of his education. The couple had a 24-hour honeymoon in Shimla and the following day they flew off to Canada. It nearly took two years and three visits to convince the Canadian High Commission officials that her marriage was not illegal or fake. By the time she reached her in-law’s home she was a nervous-wreck. And what happened next was a different story.

This is not an isolated case. Instant match-making, at the expense of the girl, takes place in Punjab with vicious regularity. Young, bright and promising girls are literally bastered away by their parents looking for an opportunity to send other members of the family to the so called land of lucre. Even if the intentions are not so palpably avaricious, the mode of arranging marriage to Punjabi men, having permanent resident status in England, Canada and United States is a gamble. This goes on despite reports of such alliances turning into a virtual emotional and psychic crucifix for the brides.

“Whenever I visit Punjab”, says Guddi Sidhu who is married to a doctor, and works for a TV programme in Fresno (California, USA), “I am swarmed by women of all ages and background asking me to find a husband for their daughter/sister in America. They do not tell me to find a suitable man, but just somebody settled abroad, of whatever age, bachelor or divorcee, nothing else matters, as if they wish the girl to be married to the country called the United States of America. And when I tell them the girl would feel miserable in America, they do not believe it.”

Not all marriages turn out to be bad. Whatever the amount of success, it is at the cost of the girl entering family of absolute strangers who live a culturally sterile life in alien climes and are smitten by the desire to horde tonnes of money. The initial brush with the ground reality for the girl is of a world cut off from moorings. It is a trauma that transforms her into a disorganic personality, not knowing her role as a human being and as a member of the family. There are several cases where the family fissures and the consequent violence have mentally deranged the victim. Why do the parents allow this to happen? The error, of course, is deep in the bone.

The burly, brave and determined Punjabi, from the rural areas, has been an inveterate chaser of money in distant lands. No doubt, the economic factors back home have triggered such a drive, but there ought to be some element of metaphysical craze to set him on the trail of self-imposed exile and a confrontation with hostile reception at the other end. Several villages in the districts of Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Moga, Patiala and Hoshiarpur today wear a semi-deserted look, as the families have emigrated to UK, USA and Canada and the process has not ended. No amount of restrictions puts them off. Howsoever hostile and humiliating the experience, the determined ones are unstoppable, whatever the route and whatever the mode, legal or illegal. Immigration through marriage is considered a more respectable device. Whatever the length of wait, the end-result is worth the hazards.

“Sacrificing one’s daughter for the sake of the rest has been the instated motive of parents in Punjab” says Parvais Sandhu, a happily married woman, settled like Guddi Sidhu, in Fresno. She admitted that her’s was a very rare case as most of the Punjabi brides in Canada and America found it extremely difficult to absorb shock of moral kinds, including cultural, social and familial. It may also depend upon the social status of the family the bride goes to, and that, too is not a safe bet.

Immigrants, in general, are hunted by insecurity and smitten by unflinching desire to make more money. They find no time to evolve a meaningful way of life. It takes them decades to be one with their surroundings and bet at ease with themselves. For most of them, particularly in Britain, the goal of prosperity seems nowhere near accomplishment with ceaseless flow of yellow pay-bills of mortgages, insurance, credit cards etc. Left to themselves, they would rather live on no-spend budgets and some nearly do so, but that does not help them either. In a cultural desert of this kind arrives the vital person from Punjab who is required to go through the traditional rigorous of a daughter-in-law. She is also expected to work in factory or a store and bear child after child to keep the family tree blossoming. The girl is entirely left to her own devices just for the sake of survival. Some carry on regardless of inhospitable atmosphere; others muster courage to revole and walk out. It is the latter who becomes the target of husband’s ire.

Surjit Kalsey, who has been on the job for quite some time, has documented some very harrowing cases in a book. Many of the women got physically beaten, mentally tortured and threatened if they dared to assert their independentselves. In one case, the decaying dead body of a Punjabi girl was accidentally discovered buried beneath the city garbage. In yet another case a young married woman jupmed from the bridge into the Fraser that flows in the heart of Vancouver. She had been severely reprimanded by her father-in-law who had seen her reaching home taking a ride from a ‘stranger’.

It does not mean that all such marriages falter. Some do succeed, particularly if the boy is highly placed and the girl is docile. The cases that turn into heart-breaking experiences are the ones where the boy is dominated by conservative parents. Such patients live a fossilised life and are bereft of any cultural and moral values.

— Kulwinder SandhuBack


Tribune Deputy Manager retires
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 30 — Mr B. M. Kalia, Deputy Press Manager, The Tribune, retired today after putting in more than 33 years of meritorious service.

Employees of the press wing gave him a warm farewell in the evening.

Among others, Mr S. D. Bhambri, General Manager, Mr K.P. Sinha, Associate Editor, and Mr O.P. Arora, Addl General Manager, highly appreciated Mr Kalia’s services.

Earlier, The Tribune Officers’ Association also gave him a farewell party.Back


Nothing seems to be right with New Defence Colony
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, April 30 — Absence of water supply, unscheduled power cuts, low pressure, absence of sewerage system, failure of telephone equipment and some other prolonged problems have put the residents of New Defence Colony, Zirakpur, to great inconvenience.

The Residents Welfare Society of the colony alleged that before the formation of the nagar panchayat, the colonisers sold the residential plots by assuring the purchasers to provide them with drinking water from deep tubewells in the colony. The residents are getting water supply from the tubewells dug by the colonisers, which have become a health hazard for them.

Some of the residents have even dug handpumps within their courtyards or backyards to meet the water shortage. Being shallow, these handpumps draw contaminated water and they are forced to use the water.

The colony residents say that the Public Health Department has hardly laid water lines to the colony. A few influential persons of the colony who were hand-in-glove with the officials of the Public Health Department got water supply from Bartana, alleged Mr K.K. Verma, General Secretary of Residents Welfare Society.

As the mercury is rising, the water table is declining.

“Though the nagar panchayat was created over a year ago, yet the civic body has hardly taken any step for the development of the colony. Instead of solving their problems, the nagar panchayat has compounded them.

The condition of sanitation in Zirakpur village and other colonies here has gone from bad to worse since it was taken over by a contractor. “Though the nagar panchayat claims installation of street lights in all the villages and colonies merged to create the civic body, not even a single street light pole has been installed in the colony till date,” said Mr Jaspal Singh, Patron-in-Chief of the society.

‘‘Unscheduled power cuts and low power load have become a cause of concern for us. The frequent power cuts force them to bear the mosquito menace. Whenever there is any power cut, it not only puts the little children but also the elderly persons into inconvenience,’’ said a household lady. Power failure further affects the drawing of water from the tubewells. In such situations they have to go to other colonies or villages nearby.

Because of the absence of a government dispensary in the colony, they have to go to Zirakpur, and in case of any casualty, the local medical practitioners are being preferred. The high rates charged by them further aggravates their problems and disturbs their monthly budgets.

Almost all house owners have made septic tanks in their backyards which contaminate the water drawn from the handpumps adjacent to them. Stinking water remains accumulated in ditches at various places in the colony and villages and has become a health hazard for the residents.

Most of the sites left for parks in the colony have been encroached upon and the nagar panchayat has turned a blind eye towards it, alleged Mr K.K. Verma. Same is the condition of the telephones in the colony. More than three days in a week the telephones in the colony remain unoperational, and they feel cut off from the rest of the world. “Despite repeated complaints to the local telecommunication officials there is no improvement in this essential service”, he added.

“Heaps of garbage have come up at various places in the colony and have become not only an eyesore but also health hazard”, complained Mr Supinder Singh.

There is only one post office functioning from a small congested shop in the market and is serving a population of over 15,000 in the Zirakpur nagar panchayat. Though the government has decided to shift Zirakpur village to Patiala district from Ropar residents of this village and the colonies which have come up here have to go to Sohana police station, about 35 km away for work.Back


Nagar kirtan on May 3
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 30 — A colourful nagar kirtan procession will be taken out here on May 3 to mark the martyrdom day of Sri Guru Arjun Dev. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Nagar Kirtan Tal Mel Committee held under the chairmanship of Maj N.S. Rangi (retd).

The procession will start from the Sector 7 gurdwara in the afternoon and move through Sectors 18,19, 27, 28, 29, 30, 20, 21 and 22 before terminating at the Sector 23 gurdwara in the evening.Back


Pedestrian traffic needs streamlining

IN planning the road network, so vital for the city’s smooth traffic flow, sufficient care has to be taken not only for the expected vehicular traffic but also for the pedestrian traffic, usually a neglected element. Neglect of smooth pedestrian traffic flow, which is going to grow as the city develops, could result in disastrous consequences in the shape of mishaps as well causing considerable inconvenience to the movement of pedestrians. A balance has to be maintained between vehicular as well as pedestrian traffic, necessitating designing of modern footpaths along with roads.

Unfortunately this element of balance between roads and footpaths has been missing in Chandigarh by planners and administrators. While the city often boasts of its modern road network, it seldom talks of its poor footpath culture. Even in the earlier phase of the city’s growth, when traffic was small and pedestrians could use open areas without hindrance, a city like Chandigarh should have had planned footpaths along with roads.

The earlier planners had even encouraged house owners in northern sectors, which were first to come up, to encroach upon the public land meant for footpaths by extending their green cover. Perhaps, the idea was to save the administration of maintenance expenses of this land and at the same time add colour to the surrounding. The adjoining houses have taken good advantage of this generosity of the administration and encroached upon a good part of this public land as well raised permanent structures, showing this free gift as part of their houses.

Now when the traffic has grown fast, pedestrians are finding it difficult to move around smoothly. And these structures are turning out to be a great hindrance and most of them are no longer maintained. Thus, there is no logic in allowing such structures to persist on public land, when the city corporation is bent on removing encroachments from southern sectors. The law should be equally applied and public land that has been encroached upon in northern sectors should now be reverted for the construction of footpaths.

Also, it is observed that footpaths wherever constructed, lack planning and generally lie in a neglected state, not well maintained. Even in the posh shopping and business centre of sector 17, there are several eyesores in footpaths, causing much inconvenience to pedestrians.

It is time the city’s corporation puts its mind on this important issue and comes out with a blueprint for the construction of network of footpaths, especially around busy thoroughfares and it should ensure that they are well maintained. Any encroachment on land meant for footpath should be severely dealt with.

— V.S. MahajanBack


They hardly know what childhood is

FOR all who sleep tonight in their cozy beds, secure in the knowledge of their child happy and comfortable nearby, it is time to pause and share a thought for the loss of innocence, the denial of childhood for those not so lucky as your child. Millions of children in India are working day and night in homes, factories and many hazardous industries to chip in their share to the family income. They are paid less and made to work more and in atrocious conditions.

Do you know that there are more than 100 million children in India working as labourers even when it is against the law to employ children less than 14 years of age? And they earn less than three rupees per day for twelve hours of work. Many children are employed in hazardous industries like match-making, glass factories, beedi rolling, fire works, hosiery, pottery and gem polishing.

Most notorious among these are glass factories, where child labour is preferred for nimbleness and agility within congested spaces. These small kids blow their lungs out, turning the solid mass into fragile glass. These children are thus exposed to a large number of chest disorders, including cancer.

Fire works may be all fun for us but for thousands of children, it is a hard way of earning some rupees, notwithstanding the risks involved. In Shivkasi, a report of CRY says, children in large numbers are employed at these and just before inspections by authorities, they are made to leave through emergency exits or locked in rooms. The girls are made to wear sarees and lie about their age.

The factory owners clearly prefer children, as child labour is cheaper than adult labour by 80 per cent. Powerlooms and handlooms making cloth have children working for up to ten hours a day. Tanneries, locks and key industries, zari, jewellery units, matches, stainless steel factories, choir mats, carpets, brass, agarbattis, tea and brick-making all have children working in poor conditions. The work place is cramped, overcrowded, unsafe and badly lighted and exposer to toxic chemicals is common.

Does poverty drive these children to work in such conditions? Though child labour is often thought to be the upshot of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy are the perpetrators of this. Child labour not only fails to increase the income of the poor families, it hampers the physical growth and intellectual development of the children employed.

A large number of organisations in India are working in the direction of trying to reduce the incidence of child labour in India and some of these have gained marginal success too. Consider the case of MV Foundation in Rangareddy district of Andhra, where with the help of CRY and local zamindars, parents and children, the area is free from child labour.

But such rays of hope are few and far between; promises and laws will not help. What is required is education and opportunities. Public awareness about the problem is a must. We can help these children come out of the darkness their life has become, help them fulfil their unfulfilled dreams and return their childhood to them. All it takes is a small thing from you — your voice in protest. — Chitleen Sethi and Lalita GurhaniBack


No likelihood of N-war between India, Pakistan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 30 — The Pakistan High Commissioner, Mr Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, today ruled out the possibility of the nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

‘‘We are sensible nations and you should not fall prey to the propaganda of the western world that nuclear showdown was eminent between the two neighbours,’’ Mr Qazi said in an informal chat with mediapersons at the Centre for Rural Research and Industrial Development (CRRID) in Sector 19 here this evening.

Commenting on the possibility of talks between the two countries, Mr Qazi informed that Pakistan was ready for unconditional talks. ‘‘Insha Allah our hand of friendship is ready to reach out to India,’’ he added.

Earlier, at a close-door meeting at CRRID, eminent intellectuals and foreign policy experts discussed ways and means to reduce tension between India and Pakistan.The experts coming from diverse fields and several of them retired senior government officers, shared their views at the meeting, which was described as ‘‘track II’’ diplomacy by a participant.

‘‘Though such initiatives did not have official backing, they helped deepen the understanding between the people of the two countires,’’ a foreign policy expert, Mr Jagat Mehta, told The Tribune after the meeting.

Maj-Gen Himmat Singh Gill, a defence expert, pleaded for converting the Line of Control (LoC) into the international border saying that there was no other alternative as the respect for the LoC had marked peace on the border for maximum number of years between the two countries.

Prominent among those who attended the meeting were The Tribune Editor, Mr Hari Jaisingh, Mr Prem Shankar Jha, Mr J.N. Dixit, Mr Gopi Arora, Mr Salman Haider, and CRRID Director Rashpal Malhotra.

Mr Qazi also released a book, ‘‘Folk music and musical instruments of Punjab’’, by art critic Alka Pande.Back


Punjab National Bank cheated of Rs 79.86 lakh
From Shashi Pal Jain

KHARAR, April 30 — The local police has registered a case under Section 406, 420, IPC, against Mr Gurmukh Singh, Managing Director of Gee Key Cables Private Limited, Kharar and two of its directors — Ms Kirpal Singh and Ms Satwant Kaur — on the charge of cheating Punjab National Bank, Ropar road, branch to the tune of about Rs 79.86 lakh yesterday.

According to information, Mr Ramesh Jindal, Manager of the bank, has sent a complaint in this regard to the SSP, Ropar, in which he has written that the above company had its head office in Kharar and various loan facilities totalling Rs 88 lakh were given by the bank to the company. He has written that the borrowers assured the bank that the security — stocks of raw material and finished goods — shall be kept intact, as well as all sale proceeds held by them as exclusive property for appropriation of the said loan. They also assured that bills drawn under various limits shall be honoured in time.

He has written in his compliant that on January 24, 2000, when Mr Jindal inspected the factory of the company situated at Jhingra road, Kurali, it was found that the factory had been locked by the Punjab Financial Corporation, and on peeping through the windows of the shed it was found that there was no stock lying there and the accused had misappropriated the same to their own use. The party failed to deposit the amount of bills. In the complaint he has written that the accused had violated the terms and conditions of the legal contract and, thus, committed the criminal breach of trust and had cheated the bank to the tune of Rs 79.86 lakh. The manager requested that a case should be registered against the accused.

The police are investigating into the matter. The Kharar police has registered a case against the three accused as per the orders of the SSP, Ropar.Back


SAS Nagar resident commits suicide
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 30 — A resident of SAS Nagar, Sudarshan Singh, committed suicide after consuming a poisonous substance in Sector 23 here yesterday. According to the police, he died at the PGI.

Body found: The police recovered the body of a beggar from near a petrol station in Sector 21 here. A case has been registered.

One arrested

The police arrested Jaspal Singh of Maloya village while he was driving a Tata Sumo after consuming liquor. A case under the Motor Vehicle Act has been registered.

Held with liquor: The police arrested Manu of Mauli Jagran Colony and seized 100 pouches of whisky from his possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

Bus hits bicycle: Mr Narayan Sharma of Panchkula and Mr Gopal Sharma of Colony number 4, who were going on a bicycle, were hit by a CTU bus (CH01-G-5145) at the Hallo Majra chowk. Mr Gopal Sharma was injured and admitted to the PGI.Back


Residents accuse woman of drug peddling
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, April 30 — Residents of a pocket in phase 3BI gheraoed a house occupied by an African woman today, alleging that she was indulging in drug peddling.

The enraged residents alleged that certain children in the locality had been hooked on to drugs supplied by the woman, who was living in rented accommodation. Mr Arvinder Bedi, a resident of the locality, said the police was called to intervene in the matter but it failed to act. A police official said acting on the complaint of the residents, a vigil was being kept on the activities of the woman.Back


Indo-Australian joint venture
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 30 — A seminar for enrolment for various courses in a recognised, Australian university, the Australian Institute of Management and Technology( Austech), was organised here today.

Mr Joseph Docherty, chairman of the Sydney based Promethean group, was the chief speaker.

Austech is a new Indo-Australian joint venture. In an interview in the institute’s premises , Mr Docherty said that the principal objective of the Austech would be to carve out a reputation as being a quality IT and management training institute.

Courses in IT, E-commerce, accounting and finance are being made available to plus two Indian university graduates , both from commerce and non-commerce, backgrounds. Mr Docherty said the real advantage to Indian students who choose to study at Austech was the ability to transfer credits to Australian universities for further studies.

The first batch of the institute commences from July 3. Lt Col H.I.S. Virk and Mr Jagdeep Dhindsa, directors, highlighted the special points of interests for the students.Back

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