Tuesday, May 2, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MCC gives permission to hold religious functions free of cost
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — Keeping in view the religious sentiments of the residents, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) today decided to give permission to hold religious functions in the city free of cost.

At a meeting here, it was decided that for big religious functions in major grounds, including the newly-earmarked one in Sector 34, Rs 10,000 per day would be charged as refundable security. However, for any commercial activity during the religious function the organisation would be charged at the market rates.

In a major concession to the individuals holding such functions, the civic body also decided to give free permission but they would have to shell Rs 200 as security deposit. However, this concession would not be available to the organisations opting for religious mega events at the Circus Ground, Sector 17, which would be rented out at the normal commercial rates.

Participating in the discussion, several members, including Mr R K Aggarwal and Mr Harish Bhanot (both nominated) and Mr O P Goyal and Mr Prem Sagar Jain (both BJP) initially resisted the move saying that the space could be misused by the organisations for commercial purposes.However, when the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Des Raj Tandon, who was in the chair, suggested that individuals should also be given free permission, the members relented.

Another issue, which generated a lot of discussion, was mushrooming of the encroachments in the city. In a discussion on the creation of new posts of drivers and the beldars in the enforcement staff, Mr Bhanot alleged that little had been done to remove the encroachments since the formation of the corporation over the past three years. Alleging “north south” divide in the mushrooming of encroachments in the city.

In a discussion on the creation of new posts of drivers and the beldars in the enforcement staff, Mr Bhanot alleged that little had been done to remove the encroachments since the formation of the corporation over the past three years.

Alleging “north south” divide in the mushrooming of encroachments, a BJP member, Air Marshal RS Bedi (retd) expressed concern at the rising number of encroachments in the southern part. Another BJP corporator, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, alleged that encroachments had become a routine affairs with the the officers looking the other way.

The Commissioner, Mr MP Singh, told the House that there was no blanket ban on recruitment in the MCC. The meeting cleared the recruitment of 20 beldars on contract and three drivers on permanent basis and decided to form a review committee on encroachments. The nodal officers, who were to start working from May 1, would start functioning soon, the Commissioner said.

Earlier, members wanted to know why the construction of raw water storage and sedimentation tank at the water works, Sector 39, administrative approval for which was given by Chandigarh Administration in 1995, had been delayed. Dr I C Pathak (nominated) wanted an inquiry as the cost of the project had gone up on account of delay.

The Chief Engineer, Mr Puranjit Singh, said the project was deliberately given low priority as it was only a storage tank for storing the water for emergency purposes and did not have much effect on the supply of water.

The members, except the Congress members, okayed the resolution saying that it should be expedited as it would help in improving the water supply particularly in case of breakdowns in the supply lines and power breakdowns at the Kajauli water works.

The meeting also approved the powers/discharge of functions by ward committees,which are yet to be constituted by the administration.Back


UT bans sale and display of cut and exposed food items
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — With a view to prevent diseases on account of infections, the Chandigarh Administration has imposed a ban on the sale of the cut and exposed food items.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr M Ramsekhar, through a notification under Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, has banned the sale or exposure for sale of all kinds of sweets, cakes, biscuits, breads, parched grain of all kinds and has food articles.

Similarly, the sale of fruits in the cut state, grapes and dates and drinks of all kinds, including lassi, sugarcane juice and sherbats is also banned. The articles of food and drinks must be properly protected against contamination by dust and flies.

The sale of unchlorinated drinking water through water tankers obtained from the unauthorised sources is banned, the notification said, adding that ice, ice candies and aerated water sold through outlets under the unhygienic conditions was also banned.

Sources said a team of the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) was going round the city every evening and the drive was likely to be intensified in the days to come.

Besides the MOH, the Assistant Commissioner, the Secretary, the Assistant Director, Malaria, the Anti-Malaria Officer, the Entomolo-gist, the Superintendent of the Vaccination, the Chief Sanitary Inspector and the Meat Supervisors of civic body are authorised to enter or inspect any market, building, shop and place used for manufacturing, sale or distribution of any article of food and drinks and examine such articles. They had been authorised to seize, remove, destroy or cause to be disposed of in any manner they think fit so as to prevent the consumption by human beings of any article of food and drinks that are exposed for sale in contravention of the orders or otherwise found unfit for human consumption.

All Judicial Magistrates, Execu-tive Magistrates, Principal Medical Officers, all Medical Officers, PCMS, HCMS (Class I and II) and Food Inspectors working in Chandigarh Administration in their respective jurisdiction have also been authorised to destroy the exposed food stuff, according to the notification.Back


Proceedings against Colonel allowed
By Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — The Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed the Army authorities to initiate disciplinary proceedings against a Colonel accused of committing certain irregularities in the discharge of his duties.The officer concerned, Col Sarvjit Singh, posted as Commander Works Engineer (CWE) in the Military Engineering Services’ establishment at Hisar, had earlier sought a stay on initiation of disciplinary proceedings. The stay was vacated by a division bench comprising Mr Justice G S Singhvi and Mr Justice R L Anand on Friday.Pronouncing the orders, the bench observed that the petitioner’s attachment (with a different formation for the initiation of disciplinary action) does not suffer from any illegality because no departmental enquiry is pending against him. The stay order issued in December 1999 thereby stood vacated.

As per records, following several complaints of irregularities in works related to construction of a sewerage system, a staff court of inquiry was ordered for the ‘’purpose of investigating the irregularities connected with the works and improvisation, pinpoint the blame and recommend remedial measures.’’ The court of inquiry conducted by Brig B S Panwar and three other officers had reportedly found the accused officer blameworthy after prima facie lapses were established and recommended disciplinary action. The General Officer Commanding, 10 Corps, thereafter directed that the disciplinary proceedings be initiated against the petitioner and subsequently in November 1999 the GOC-in-C ordered the petitioner’s attachment to an independent Air Defence Brigade for the purpose.

The officer had, in his petition, alleged that there were some procedural lapses in the court of inquiry and that it was biased. He also claimed that some of the statements were not recorded, nor were the findings communicated to him. He also claimed that more than one court of inquiry was constituted to probe the allegations.

The stay being vacated implies that after issuing a formal charge sheet, the Army can now initiate proceedings to record summary of evidence and based on the evidence, convene a general court martial.Back


Farmhouse craze should set the alarm bells ringing
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

KARORAN (Kharar), May 1 — Invasion of farmhouses in the north-west periphery of Chandigarh, built more like luxurious resorts, has changed the social fabric of the villages. Used to a serene and tranquil lifestyle, the villagers now watch with awe-struck eyes convoys of vehicles zooming past the dust tracks to one or the other farmhouses dotting the pot-holed village link roads.

Uncertainty is writ large on the faces of the villagers who fear that the “outside” invasion of the wining-and-dinning culture of society where money and power speaks could influence their children. For the poor peasants of the area, who usually have small land holdings in riverine tracks, hillocks or barren land in the foothills of Shivalik Hills, farmhouses are described as secluded places for late night booze parties, girls and boys swaying to catchy beats and other leisure activities of the affluent class.

Barring a few peasants for whom the farmhouses brought fortune when barren lands were sold, life has changed a little. For Ram Lal of Kane Ki Badi village, a daily wage-earner, the farmhouses hardly provide any employment opportunities even as construction activity was taking place. He says: “I keep on enquiring at several of the farmhouses, dotting the Karoran-Kane Ki Badi village link road, for any job but hardly get a response”.

Some peasants feel suffocated at the “outsiders” who they say had in the process of raising boundary walls around their farmhouses had blocked the thoroughfares to their lands. Another villager, Avtar Singh, said there has been no development in the area in spite of the influential people buying land there for farmhouses. The condition of road has, instead, worsened. They (read as farmhouse owners) are interested in creating leisure facilities on the land within the four walls of their farmhouses. They no way add to the development of the villages, lamented Avtar Singh.

The Forest Department, they say, was a source of their misery. A majority of the poor land owners say that while they were restricted by the government from changing the use of their lands under the Land Preservation Act, the same land after being purchased by the powerful and the politically well-connected persons was being developed into farmhouses with some putting the total rules and regulations under the carpet.

Another villager of Karoran, Parvinder, wanted a check on the illegal quarrying of sand from seasonal rivulets traversing through the area which, he said, was being used in construction of farmhouses. Much to the surprise of The Tribune team, which visited the area, sand from one of the riverine tracks was being loaded into a pick-up truck for being taken to a farmhouse owned by an influential person of Karoran.

Enquires by The Tribune team took it to Nadha village where an influential person, in the process putting barbed wire around 1009 marlas of land for his farmhouse, had allegedly encroached upon a passage to Kamoun colony which passed through a common village land. Mr Kaniya Lal, a resident of the colony, said: “We had to take a longer route to reach the main link road. His view was shared by another resident of the colony, Mr Punnu Ram”.

Some other instances of farm house owners encroaching upon thoroughfares on private land forcing the original owners to sell their land also came to light.Back


Cattle continue to languish, PIL notwithstanding
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — Even as cattle continue to languish in the three cattle pounds of the city, the Municipal Corporation seems to be yet again gearing up to tackle the situation. Right from September 11, 1997 , the day when the pounds were transferred to the Corporation, the situation remains grim.

The issue is still lingering in the city courts where a public interest litigation (which sought a direction on October 9, 1997 that the MC be asked to provide fodder, water and shelter to the cattle in pounds) is pending. Today the court granted 15th adjournment in the case which was filed way back by local resident Mr Ajay Jagga in October, 1997. The suit had sought relief for the animals on grounds that conditions in the three cattle pounds — Sectors 25 and 45 and Industrial Area — were miserable and not conducive to keep the animals.

The suit mentioned that cattle are moving around without fodder and water and are languishing in the dingy cattle pounds. Stating that the same was a glaring violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the plaintiff had sought a direction that immediate provision of fodder and water be made.

From court records it was found that while the suit was filed in September 1997, reply from the MC came only on January 9, 1998 wherein it stated that the work of the above-mentioned three pounds had been entrusted to Medical Officer of Health by the Commissioner, MC on November 18, 1997. The MC, however, interestingly agreed to the fact that the condition in cattle pounds was not satisfactory by stating in its reply that “it has made strenuous efforts to improve the conditions.” It was added that proper arrangements for providing fodder and water have been and a veterinary doctor had been asked to visit the pounds regularly.

Independent enquiries in this regard, however, reveal that the doctor is not to be seen for ages and fodder and water condition too is no good.

Another significant aspect of the PIL, which is pending is the subsequent interrogatory application filed by the plaintiff seeking the court to direct the MC to divulge details of funds received and spent on fodder for animals. From court record, it became known that while this interrogation was raised on December 21, 1998, it has not till date been answered.

Interestingly, after granting long adjournments in the case, the court, on March 22, 1999, held that an exparte order would be passed by July 31, 1999. On this date, however, the MC’s counsel, requested for an adjournment in the case. No reply was still filed and subsequently on January 3, this year, giving another adjournment, the court imposed a fine of Rs 100 on the MC.

While adjournments in the case still go on even as the MC paid off the fine today and asked for yet another adjournment, the condition of cattle continues to deteriorate. In this context, the validity of the PILs itself comes into question.Back


Railways are on the lookout for a VIP
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — Is it the unavailability of a VIP for a formal inauguration function that is delaying the second entry to the Chandigarh railway station from the Panchkula side?

Almost all facilities like an approach road, a proper parking place, a terminal building, are ready. The foot overbridge is receiving final touches and the Railways are trying to get a VIP to inaugurate it with much fanfare. The Railways are trying to rope in the Railway Minister, Ms Mamta Banerjee, or one of her Deputy Ministers.

But will the Union Minister, or her deputies, oblige for opening of a second entry point at a station like Chandigarh that is not even on the main line? Railway officials are still trying their best, a source said, while adding that the entry point is in a state of readiness, the wait is for a VIP.

Till then, a facility that should have been rightfully thrown open for Panchkula residents, is awaiting its users. VIP or no VIP, residents of Panchkula have been asking the local railway authorities about the date of opening as they have to take a 3 to 4 km detour just to reach the railway station. Besides this the present route from Panchkula to the station is on the busy Chandigarh-Shimla road. Those who know that everything is complete, have already started using the route and just walk across to the station from the parking without bothering for the railways to get a VIP for the inauguration.

A visit to the station when any of the major trains like the Shatabdi arrives or departs’ one can see how many cars and scooters are parked on the Panchkula side of the station.

Facilities like an approach road, a bridge over a seasonal rivulet, a terminal building and other aspects have cost a couple of crores to build.

At present a foot overbridge — a mandatory requirement before the second entry becomes operational — is on the verge of completion. Will the Railways act fast enough, asks Mr Vibhu Sehgal, a Panchkula resident, who has to go to Delhi quite frequently by train.Back


Dashmesh Colony residents living in inhuman conditions
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, May 1 — Absence of street lights, want of link roads, no water supply, absence of sewerage system, pitiable sanitation condition, unannounced power cuts, low voltage and lack of some other amenities are forcing the residents of the local Dashmesh Colony to live in inhuman conditions since the formation of the Zirakpur nagar panchayat.

Residents of the colony alleged that the nagar panchayat, has adopted indifferent attitude towards the colony by not installing street lights in different colony. Absence of street lights in the colony put them into great inconvenience, particularly in night.

The colony has neither any link road nor even a single pucca street which further aggravates their problems. Deep potholes on their surfaces have virtually turned into deathtraps.

The residents are getting water supply from the shallow tubewells, dug by the colonisers, which has 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 yellowish coloured contaminated water.

The colony residents say that the Public Health Department has not laid even a single water line in the colony.

‘‘Though the nagar panchayat has been formed over a year ago, no action has been taken for the construction of roads, streets and installation of street lights in the colony. Instead of solving their problems the nagar panchayat has aggravated them. The condition of sanitation of the colonies has gone worse. ‘‘I have hardly seen any sweeper in the colony for the past one month,’’ said Mr Harbans Singh, a shopkeeper.

‘‘Unscheduled power cuts and low power load have become a cause of concern for us. Moreover, loose high tension power cables crossing overhead are a threat. Many representations have been given to the Electricity Department regarding this but in vain,’’ said Balwinder Singh, a former member panchayat Lohgarh.

‘‘Power failure further affects the drawing of water from the tubewells. In such situation they have to go to other colonies or villages nearby,’’ he added.

Stinking water remains accumulated in ditches at various places in the colony and to village, and has become a health hazard for the residents. Though the nagar panchatyat, has put dustbins at three places in the colony, sweepers seldom clean them”, says Mr Kamaljit Singh.

The colony has only one park which has also been encroached upon right under the nose of the nagar panchayat, alleged Mr Bakhtaur Singh. On an average of three days in a week, the telephones in the colony remain unoperational.

‘‘Heaps of garbage have come up at various places in the colony and have become a health hazard,” complained Mr Bacchan Singh. Back


Mullanpur panchayat to meet telecom GM
Tribune News Service

MULLANPUR (Kharar), May 1 — The Mullanpur panchayat has lamented that the Chandigarh ( telecom) authorities were dilly-dallying on shifting the local telephone exchange to a site offered by the panchayat. The panchayat is planning to meet the Chief General Manager, Punjab Telecom Circle in this regard.

Mr Diwan Singh, sarpanch of the village, alleged that in spite of being provide details of the building offered by the village panchayat for the exchange, the Chandigarh telecom authorities wrote a letter to the panchayat seeking details of the offer made by it. He said the panchayat suspected that the department wanted to shift the Mullanpur telephone exchange to Ratwara village.

The existing building of the telephone exchange was in a dilapidated condition. The panchayat had earlier written to the Union Minister of Telecommunication to expedite the installing of the new exchange. The telephone connections through existing exchange, catering to 22 villages, remained mostly out of order.

Mr Arvind Puri, a telephone subscriber of Mullanpur, lamented that the telephone remained out of order due to poorly maintained building of the exchange. Besides, equipment worth thousands of rupee which were to be installed for the new exchange were gathering dust.Back


They will not forget the dawn of May 2
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — Four persons, separated from their near and dear ones at the time of partition, will travel to Lahore by Delhi-Lahore bus as members of the Jati Umrah Parivar Milap Trust here tomorrow.

“We are trying to organise their reunion with their relatives separated from them in 1947,” says Maj-Gen Himmat Singh Gill, the new Chairman of the Trust. He took over after the death of his father and founder Chairman, Lieut-Col P.S. Gill, in February this year.

The Trust had in 1998 taken its first group of “partition separated people” to Pakistan at the invitation of the then Prime Minister, Mr Nawaz Sharief, and organised their reunion with their blood relations.

“The group going to Pakistan tomorrow will include Gurnam Kaur (nee Khurshida Bai), who will meet her brother, Allah Rakha; Mr Diwan Singh (earlier Deen Mohammed) to meet his brother, Mr Nabi Baksh; Mr Sardar Ali to meet his aged father, Gama and Sardar Ali’s wife, Natiya, to meet her brother, Saraj Khan, in Pakistan tomorrow.

For these villagers it is like a dream come true, thanks to the magnanimity of the Indian Government and the understanding of the Government of Pakistan. Otherwise, they would not have got the opportunity to meet their separated ones, ever.

In a parallel move, General Gill and members of the Trust have requested General Pervez Musharraf, the Chief Executive of the Pakistan Government, and the Apex Court of Pakistan to rescind the life sentence awarded to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief.

The Trust has been named after Jatti Umrah, native village of deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.Back


Women’s rights activists meet NCW member
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — Concerned over the increase in number of dowry deaths, rapes, divorces and maintenance suits and an inordinate delay in the disposal of these cases, Mata Kheevee Welfare Association and Ratna Memorial Trust organised a meeting with Ms K. Santha Reddy, member, National Commission for Women.

During the meeting, Ms Sushil Kaur Raju, President, Mata Kheevee Welfare Association, presented a charter with the following main suggestions:

* Time-bound disposal of divorce, maintenance and rape cases in courts.

* Amendment in the existing divorce law, which is obsolete.

Speaking on the occasion, councillor Ms Satinder Dhawan suggested that maintenance fee be increased from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000. Responding to this demand, Ms Santha informed the gathering that a recommendation for enhancement of the fee from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 had already been made.

Among others who spoke on the occasion were Prof Pam Rajput and Ms Amrit Kohli, who suggested that rape cases be tried in camera. Other speakers were Ms Pritpal Kaur, Ms Kamla Sharma, Ms Madhu Bansal, Ms Amar Kulwant Singh, Ms Lalit Joshi Bhardwaj and Ms Surya Pandit.Back


Scooterist succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — A resident of Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, succumbed to his injuries after he was hit by a CTU bus near the railway crossing traffic lights.

According to the police sources, Vikramjit Singh, was going on his scooter when he was hit by the bus (CH-01-G-5702) driven by Gurmukh Singh. He was rushed to the PGI where he died later on. The driver has been arrested and a case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered.

Gambler held: The police has arrested Shiv Charan from near the Ram Darbar bus stop on the charges of gambling at a public place. A case under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered.

Car theft: Mr Harbans Singh, a resident of Sector 34, has reported that someone has stolen his car, CH-01-Q-5744, from his residence. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Purse stolen: Mr C.L. Punj, Chairman of the Coordination Committee of the Central Government Pensioners Association, in a complaint lodged with the police, alleged that his purse containing over Rs 500 and his driving licence was stolen by someone from the PGI.Back


Body found in Phase VII
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, May 1 — An unidentified body of a labourer in his early twenties was found lying on a roadside near Industrial Area, Phase VII here this evening. The exact cause of death of the victim could not be ascertained as the autopsy was yet to be conducted.

The DSP, Mr SS Gill, said the body of the labourer, was noticed by passer-by who informed the police. The victim was wearing trousers and had marks of sunburns. No mark of injury was visible on his body. Back


Traffic police launches drive
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — The traffic police has launched a traffic awareness drive in the city to educate the public.

The drive will cover all the sectors of the city and the police is using pamphlets and literature on road safety, besides public address system to spread the message. Megaphones have been installed at all the important traffic lights in the city.

This drive has been responsible for bringing down the fatality rate. While the fatality rate was more than 33 per cent in the first four months last year, it has come down to 25 per cent this year.Back


Newsmen plan agitation
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — The Chandigarh Coordination Committee of Newspaper and News Agencies Employees Unions today decided to organise a protest rally in front of The Tribune office on May 4 to express resentment over the inordinate delay in deciding the final report of the Manisana Singh Wage Board.

Representatives of the Tribune Employees Union, Indian Express Employees Union, Journalists Association of Chandigarh, Chandigarh Journalists Association, Chandigarh Union of Journalists, PTI Employees Union and UNI Employees Union participated in the meeting.

Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, Mr Raj Kumar Sirivastava and Mr Pradeep Saurabh were nominated the coordinators.

The meeting also condemned the “negative attitude” of the Indian Newspapers Society (INS) and the newspaper managements in causing the delay in finalising the wage board report.Back


Rallies, meetings mark May Day
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — Trade unions and various employee organisations held rallies and meetings to mark May Day in the city here today.

Members of the All-India Centre of Trade Unions held rallies in Industrial Area and Ram Darbar. Speakers urged the gathering to unite in the struggle for getting their rightful dues. "The working class should fight unitedly to remove the forces working against them and get the anti-employee laws repealed," they said.

The UT Building Maintenance Workers Union and the Footpath Workers Union also held rallies.

The unions put forth various demands, including the payment of bonus, regularisation of daily wagers, filling of vacant posts and abolition of the contract system of labour.

The All-India Trade Union Congress also paid tributes to the martyrs of Chicago. A rally was held in Industrial Area in which workers demanded increase in wages, implementation of labour laws and scrapping of the contract system of labour.

The local unit of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions and the Federation of UT Employees and Workers held an impressive rally in Industrial Area. The local unit of the Congress and the INTUC also organised a function at Ram Darbar.

The local unit of the Chandigarh Nationalist Congress party and the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Horticulture Workers Union and the Hotel Workers Union also held rallies. The workers demanded release of bonus, DA and risk-duty allowance.

The workers held a rally in front of a hotel in Sector 35 and said if their demands were not met, they would be forced to go on an indefinite strike.

They condemned the managements of more then 24 hotels and restaurants which they said were not following labour laws. The gathering also criticised the "anti-workers" attitude of the UT Assistant Labour Commissioner.

The workers demanded Rs 3,500 as minimum wages, besides legal rights like marking of attendance and ESI benefits. Rallies were also organised by the Akhil Bhartiya Bharat Joro Sangathan and the Mazdoor Sudhar Sabha.Back


PU employees hold rally
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — Panjab University Non-Teaching Employees Federation today organised a rally near the Administrative Block here to mark Labour Day. Representatives of eight associations under the banner of the federation, participated and addressed the rally.

Addressing the members, Dr P. P. Araya, PUTA President, expressed concern over the arbitrary way of functioning of the Vice-Chancellor and deteriorating fiscal position of the university. The lavish expenditure being incurred by the VC on making unnecessary appointments and non-academic affairs in the face of the acute financial crunch was criticised by all.

The speakers suggested that to bail the university out of the present financial crisis, the Punjab Government and the UT Administration should be asked to regularise and release the grant on the ratio of 60: 40 to the university with immediate effect.

Mr Dharam Paul Sharma, President of the federation, stated if the wasteful expenditure was not stopped and the grant-in-aid on the prescribed ratio was not released, they would launch an indefinite agitation.Back


Massive rally by the blind in Sector 34
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — The Punjab branch of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) held a massive rally today at the Directorate of Social Security, Punjab, Sector 34, to press the Punjab Government regarding their long-pending demands, on the occasion of Labour Day.

According to the general secretary of the NFB, Mr Rajesh Mohan, some of their main demands include 1 per cent reservation for visually handicapped persons in government jobs on all groups (a,b,c,d), due from 1982; increase in conveyance allowance upto a minimum of Rs 500 or one-tenth of the basic pay; implementation of 1 per cent reservation in Class I and II from January 1, 1996, to take necessary initiative to improve the educational facilities being provided by private managements for the visually handicapped persons. He further pointed out that despite repeated reminders, the Punjab Government paid no attention towards their demands.

They have claimed that the OSD at the CM office has agreed to organise a meeting with the Social Security Minister, Punjab, Mr G.S Kanjala. If still their demands remain unresolved, they will be made to meet the Chief Minister in the next 15 days for an early redressal of their grievances. Following this development, the agitation was postponed for the said duration. However, if the Punjab Government does not honour its commitment they will be forced to resume their agitation. Meanwhile, Mr G.K Kaushal today took over as the President of the newly elected cabinet of the NFB, Punjab. Back


Labour Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — The Traders Union, in collaboration with NSS Department, Panjab University, today celebrated Labour Day at Sector 17. A number of social workers, community leaders and opinion makers took part in the celebrations.

Speaking at the function, Dr C.L. Narang, Director, NSS, PU, pointed out that industrial growth at the cost of environment had invited many natural calamities. The present drought in Gujarat and Rajasthan was mainly due to blasting of land to get marble for commercial purposes. Water resources had been destroyed completely. He lamented that when any factory worker dies in an accident, his family members do not get proper compensation. The workers should consult labour officers or legal literacy cells in this regard.

Ms Sheila Didi, All-India President and leading advocate, disclosed that women workers were generally harassed by the management. Landlords and their associates indulged in sexual harassment. She cautioned that no society could progress without giving proper respect to their women folk.

Mr Agya Ram, a social worker, said women workers should be given wages at a par with their male counterparts. Back


Consumer Forum opens awareness counter
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 1 — An awareness-cum-sales counter of the Consumer Forum, Chandigarh, has been made operational on the outskirts of the University teachers flats near Kumhar Colony. The counter will remain open on the first ten days of every month between 10 am and 8 pm.

The counter was inaugurated by Mr Paranjit Singh, Registrar, Panjab University, in the presence of a huge gathering comprising employees of the university and residents of nearby colonies. On the occasion, Mr Jagdev Singh highlighted the activities of the Forum and stressed the need to increase awareness about consumer rights among the masses.Back

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