Saturday, May 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


An occasion to rejoice?
100 babies born in 2 days in city
By Monica Sharma

CHANDIGARH May 12 — Alarm bells are ringing as the nation’s population crossed the one-billion mark. The lack of planning for the future has put a question mark over the resources needed to maintain the teeming millions in the country. India’s population has increased by nearly five times from about 238 million at the beginning of the last century to one billion now. Chandigarh too has added more than 100 babies to the billion for the past two days. In the PGI 21 babies were delivered till this evening while the rest were reported from various nursing homes.

Sangeeta gave birth to a baby boy at 9.00 a.m. Naresh Bhardwaj, who gave birth to a baby boy at 3.17a.m. today, said: “I am happy at the birth of my baby, but feel very concerned for the growing population at the same time. Population explosion should be checked now.’’

Renu Bala who gave birth to a baby girl at 10.40 a.m. today said , “One child is a must in every family but the practice of going in for more than one child should be curbed. Women do not want to go in for more than one child but have no option in the face of pressure from the family and society.”

Sonia, who gave birth to a baby girl at 8.54 a.m. today, said: ‘‘Though this is a moment of happiness but at the same time the growing population is a serious problem and proper measures should be initiated by the government to check the population boom.’’

The maximum number of babies, 37, were born at the Sector 16 General Hospital. Some of the proud mothers are Veena who gave birth to baby girl at 1.25 am, yesterday, and Reshma, who gave birth to a baby boy at 2.00 a.m on May 11 .

As many as 11 babies were delivered at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. Basmati gave birth to baby boy at 9.04 a.m. ,Meera gave birth to baby girl at 5.56p.m., besides others, bringing the tally to 11.

Some of the doctors in the hospitals said the enormous increase in the population is a serious matter and family planning should be followed.

The people belonging to the lower strata of the community should be made aware of the effects of growing population and educated about the need to check the birth rate.

It is a matter of national importance and if something was not done soon, the battle against growing numbers would be lost, they opined.



Quadruplets add to her cup of woe

Twenty-two-year-old Manju’s cup of woe is overflowing following the birth of quadruplets. While other mothers experience a sense of joy and fulfilment, she is faced with the daunting prospect of filling four little mouths.

A resident of Bihar, she was in tears at the PGI today. She delivered the babies yesterday at 1.30 a.m. She previously has one child and with the new arrivals, she will have five children and no source of income. The reason? Her husband is a vagabond and does not work for long. She herself does odd jobs to keep the hearth fires burning.

The four babies include two baby boys and two baby girls. She was so shocked that she did not know what to say when asked about her reaction to giving birth to quadruplets.

Her dilemma is how will she work and raise the kids at the same time. She is the sole bread earner of the family.

Nurses at the ward said she has been crying ever since she came to know that she has given birth to quadruplets. She has nobody to look after her except a relative, and whenever a stranger visits her children she feels that they are mocking her.

She is ignorant of the fact that her children have added to the population explosion and is more worried about their upbringing. Back


Panchkula adds 8 kids to India’s billion
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA May 12 — The district made a humble contribution of eight children to the total tally when the country was expecting its billionth baby. While five children were delivered at the General Hospital in Sector 6, two more were added from the Community Health Centre in Kalka. One child was delivered at a private nursing home in the township.

However, none of the parents seemed alarmed or even aware that India had recorded its billionth baby, and those who did know couldn’t care less about the fact. With a daughter already in tow, Pinky gave birth to a girl child in the hospital hoping it would be a boy at 6.30 am. ‘‘Whatever the population of the country, I have only two children but no son so far. I want a son and that is all. My children are like a drop in the ocean,’’ she adds.

Kusum, who delivered a boy at 6.45 am at the hospital, has no inkling about the billionth baby, making India next only to China in terms of population. ‘‘I know only about my family and my husbands earns enough to feed us. The rest is not my problem,’’ she informs with complete indifference.

Another girl child was born to Kuldeep Kaur at 10 am while Jaswanti gave birth to her son at 6.30 am. They were both happy about the addition to their families irrespective of the fact that the population clock went up another two places with the additions.

At a private nursing home in Sector 7, Pushpa Rani’s child became another statistic at 11.15 pm last night. However, no deliveries were reported from the Raipur Rani hospital.


The township was perhaps one of the few places where negligible contribution was made when the country was expecting its billionth baby. While no child was born at the Civil Hospital in Phase 6 here, two children were born at different private nursing homes in the town.

Inquiries revealed that a child each was born to Ritu at 9.10 p.m. in a nursing home in Phase 1 here and Ravjinder Kaur in another private nursing home at 1.55 a.m.Back


Over 1,100 Sector 31 jhuggis demolished
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH May 12 — In a major demolition drive, the enforcement wing of the Estate Office demolished over 1,100 illegal “jhuggis” from the Labour Colony of Sector 31 here today.

A team of the wing accompanied by five bulldozers and a strong posse of police descended in the colony around 10 a.m. and went about its job steadily. Feeble attempts by colony residents notwithstanding, the operation went smoothly for over nine hours. The whole operation was supervised by Mr Ashish Kundra, SDM(South), Mr SP Arora, Assistant Estate Officer and Mr DS Baloria, Tehsildar (Enforcement).

Some residents alleged that they were not given enough time for retrieving their articles with the result that their goods were damaged. Officials, however, refuted the allegations saying they were given enough time.

All illegal structures, including the places of worships, were demolished. As many as eight persons, who opposed the demolition of a place of worship, were arrested but later let off.

Meanwhile, a press note of the Administration said that the today’s operation was carried out to clear the unauthorised squatters in the colony. It was a peaceful operation and after the removal of the encroachments, land belonging to the Indian Air Force (IAF) authorities had been entrusted to them and remaining portion belonging to the administration had been secured.

It said the colony consisting of over 3,000 “jhuggis” existed on the land belonging to the IAF in Sector 31 and on the land coming under the Industrial Area, Phase II. Keeping in view the security threat, the administration decided to rehabilitate the eligible persons in the above colony in 1997. A door-to-door survey has been carried out and it was found that there were in all 3,210 “jhuggis” in the colony.

Applications were invited and individual cases were examined for the rehabilitation as per the “Licencing of Tenements, Sites and Service Scheme-1979”. Out of these 3,210 households, , 2,674 had been allotted individual plots in Mauli Jagran Colony in1998 and 1999. As many as 536 applications were rejected as they were found ineligible.

After the issue of the allotment letters, to the eligible persons, the occupants of the labour colony were asked to vacate the land under encroachment, the press note said, adding that most of the settlers vacated the encroached land by pulling down their structures.Back


Electric train for Leisure Valley mooted
Environmentalists shocked. Say it will eat up greenery
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH May 12 — A proposal to run a mini electric train in the Leisure Valley made at the last meeting of the Landscape Advisory Committee of the Chandigarh Administration has been referred to the Transport Department for consideration to the great dismay of environmentalists and ecologists.

The Landscape Advisory Committee, which met on May 10 after a couple of years, also considered several other important issues, including location of Chandigarh Botanical Garden, planting of 10 lakh trees in the city, sediment control programme in the catchment area of Sukhna Lake, landscaping of capitol complex, reviving of horticulture extension centre, avenue plantation and landscaping of roundabouts and sector greens.

The most controversial of all these proposals was introduction of mini electric train in Leisure Valley passing through Sectors 3,10,16,23,36,42, 53, 63 and 69 of SAS Nagar. It was suggested that by introduction of this mini electric train, the Administration would be able to take off the vehicular traffic of its busy roads, and office-goers from SAS Nagar and other areas would travel by this train to relieve roads of the additional pressure, both in the mornings and evenings. Further, it was suggested that this train would become a tourist attraction.

To make this mini electric train possible, it was also suggested that some modifications should be made in the existing bridges in the Leisure Valley.

Interestingly, there was no opposition to the proposal at the meeting. Officials of the Administration agreed to send the proposal to the Transport Department for consideration.

On the other hand, there is stiff resistance to the proposal by a number of environmentalists and ecologists . They maintain that the Administration has already done enough damage to the serenity and green environs of the Leisure Valley by permitting haphazard construction, including places of worship, schools and even residential quarters, and was now prepared to consider a proposal to run a mini electric train in the valley.

“It will be against the concept of the Leisure Valley. Once the electric train starts, then the Administration would like to have stations and other infrastructure to eat up whatever little greenery has been left behind,” remarked a former technocrat, who had worked in the Chandigarh Administration.

Some of former architects of the Administration were also shocked when asked about their views on the proposal. “How can they even consider such a proposal against the basic philosophy of the Leisure Valley’”, remarked a former Chief Architect of the city.

When contacted the Chief Engineer, Mr R.K. Jain, said that the committee is recommendary and it is not mandatory for the Administration to accept the proposal. “Prima facie,” he said, “it looks a good idea and we have decided to examine it”.

Some members wanted that Sector 1 — from Rajendra Park upto Sukhna Lake — should be an ideal venue for the proposed Chandigarh Botanical Garden. Both official and non-official members gave their views on the subject. It was ultimately held that since the Administrator was keen that new Botanical Garden should come up at the proposed venue as proceedings have already been initiated under the Land Acquisition Act and work is expected to be taken up in hand on the ground after monsoon, it would not be appropriate to discuss the location of the garden now.

It was suggested that Chandigarh should go for 10 lakh more trees on roadsides, open spaces and around public buildings. Only one-third of this traget has been achieved so far. The Forest Department has a maximum area with it. It has about 7000 acres in the catchment and nearly 3000 acres along Sukhna cho and Patiali Ki Rao cho. There is a total scope for plantation of 20 lakh trees in these areas.

Another item pertained to maintenance of central greens and open spaces.It was proposed that the parking area should be carved out of road berms and efforts should be made to prevent open spaces, central greens and parks from being used as parking areas.

Another important item was about the preservation of Sukhna Lake. It was suggested that the scheme for sediment control of Sukhna Lake operated from 1978 to 1985 should be revived. Construction of micro dams should be taken up on war footing. In continuation of an earlier item about massive plantation of trees, it was proposed that the catchment area be converted into a national park, which has scenic beauty.

Another suggestion was about development of capitol complex as one landscape. Amendments to the hedges byelaws were also proposed. Fencing of mango garden on Purv Marg, steps to prevent pilferage of plants, wood, tree guards, barbed wire and other things from horticulture features of the city were other items discussed.Back


A rare facility for Chandigarh morning walkers

CHANDIGARH is among the few global cities that has managed to stay cool despite mind-boggling pressure from population as well as traffic. Both these have been racing neck to neck during the past couple of decades. Thanks to the long-term planning of its founder planners headed by the world renown architect Le Corbusier, Chandigarh was blessed with a permanent green valley stretching perpendicularly through the city from north to south.

It has been the biggest gift to Chandigarh enabling it to stay cool and absorb much of the tension generated through emissions from lakhs of vehicles. It has been endowed with nature’s gift of converting deadly gases into healthy air which is available aplenty to its residents.

Besides, the planners ensured that each sector had its own park where within their easy reach dwellers could stretch themselves whenever they liked. Also, these sector parks which have fortunately built on spacious areas help cooling down the sector temperature.

It is of course the long stretch of Leisure Valley which provides the biggest opportunity to morning walkers to cool down their summer heat and recharge their weary bodies with fresh and cool air for the rest of the day. It’s indeed a unique experience for those who care to visit the valley. It’s different segments provide ample access to residents from nearby sectors, though adventure-seeking walkers visit distant stretches in search for better pastures as well give their limbs a bigger shake-up.

In the extreme north close to the secretariat, there has come up eye-catching bougainvillaea park maintained with utmost care where visitors can enjoy long walks under ideal surrounding. Here senior citizens can relax on its several carefully laid and comfortable benches. One also wishes that this facility of providing benches of equal quality and comfort was also available in other parks.

For instance, even the nearby Leisure Valley stretch in Sector 8 which at one time was maintained in a far better condition compared to bougainvillaea stretch, does not have this facility. It is as well not available in other areas.

In fact the model of planning and maintenance adopted in bougainvillaea park should be extended to other areas of this Leisure Valley. We must also ensure that more trees are planted here as well as in the sector paks. In fact the sector parks need even more care. Many of these need to be properly fenced to discourage trespassing as well as entry of stray cattle.

Earlier even the Leisure Valley stretch in Sector 8 was infested with stray cattle which would quietly enter during the night time and desecrate the area. Now with the enclosure constructed on its boundary, this menace has ended much to the relief of walkers. Similarly, this facility should also be extended to other parks.

Equally, Sukhna Lake has been another lasting gift to the city from its creators. It has not only helped to tame the earlier Sukhna cho which would cause havoc to the surrounding areas during the rainy season, it has also been turned into a beautiful landmark where people can move around leisurely and enjoy its scenic beauty against the backdrop of Shivalik Hills. It has also become a favourite picnic spot.

Those who love to ramble through forest have an opportunity to do so in the nearby forest stretch which covers a good part of the area and is another nature’s cooling agent in summer.

Thus, Chandigarh provides extensive facility to morning walkers, a facility rarely available in most other places.

— By V.S. Mahajan



3 BRD set to get ISO-9000 certification
By Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 12 — In line with its pursuance of ISO-9000 certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), 3 Base Repair Depot (3 BRD) here has started training its personnel in the requisite process of quality assurance.

The country's largest helicopter maintenance establishment, 3 BRD, is responsible for repairing and overhauling choppers of the Soviet origin in the IAF's inventory.

The chief of planning at 3 BRD, who is also the designated management representative for the certification process, Gp Capt V.K. Sharma, said that an initial batch of 25 officers and air men had already undergone a capsule training course conducted by the BIS. Another batch of 25 personnel had been identified for the next course, he added.

A financial grant for undertaking this process had been released by the Central Government.

Group Captain Sharma said that the ISO-9000 certification was expected to be achieved by October this year. BIS sources, however, say that while they have started training 3 BRD personnel, the formal process for obtaining certification is yet to be initiated.

The ISO-9000 certification will also authorise external quality audit by the BIS. So far, the IAF's quality checks depends on its quality assurance cell operating directly under Air Headquarters. Certification by the BIS can be withdrawn if the quality of output fails to match the laid down standards.

The process involves massive documentation of all operating procedures required for undertaking a particular task. Before the ISO-9000 certification is granted, technical documentation, policy statements, quality specifications, work packages and procedures have to be compiled and their dissemination to the lowest level has to be ensured.

although officers say that the specifications and work procedures set by Air Headquarters are already above that required for ISO-9000, the certification would officially grant international status to the depot as far as quality of maintenance and overhaul of choppers is concerned.

So far four IAF establishments have received ISO-9000 certification. These are Air Force Technical College at Bangalore, 9 BRD at Pune, 11 BRD at Tuglagabad and the ADGES Maintenance Service Establishment at New Delhi.

The Air Force Technical College has also received the ISO-9001 certificate, which certifies that its expertise and capability for designing aviation-related components meets international standards.Back


Major power failure in Punjab, Chandigarh
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 12 — There was a major power breakdown in Punjab and Chandigarh tonight after all five units of the Ropar thermal plant stopped generation at 10 p.m.

In Chandigarh, only some areas fed by Dhulkot and Pinjore feeders had power supply under peak load restrictions as the rest of the city and its surrounding areas drowned in darkness.

According to Mr J.N. Sachdeva, Superintending Engineer, Electricity Operations, Chandigarh Administration, the exact cause of tripping of all five thermal units at Ropar could not be ascertained.

Alternate power supply was being arranged through Ganguwal as emergency services, including the Sector 32 Government Medical College Hospital, were restored around 11 p.m.

The engineers said it might take more than three to four hours to put the thermal units back in operation after rectification of the fault. In all probability the entire system tripped because of excess drawal or some other major technical snag.

Because of the tripping of the Ropar thermal units, the entire Punjab plunged into darkness. Initially, consumers confused power breakdown with lightning, thunder and intermittent showers that lashed some areas in Punjab and Chandigarh.

The engineers were unable to give the exact cause of the breakdown. They said the immediate task was to restore the power supply in phases.

In Chandigarh, Mr Sachdeva said efforts would be made to restore supply in affected areas by rotation. The system, because of increased demand, cannot take the entire load in one go. As such the normal supply would be restored only by late morning.

As the frequent interruptions started around 9.30 p.m. in various parts of the city, no one could imagine that SAS Nagar would suffer the first major power breakdown in Punjab, and Chandigarh shortly afterwards.

Consumers in many parts of the city complained of long and unannounced power cuts during the past few days. Consumers in Sector 29 and 30 complained that they had only few hours of continuous power supply during the past four days. All efforts to convince the officials of the Electricity Department of their travails because of long and unending power cuts were of no avail.Back

Bridging boundaries a la Mehndi Hassan
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 12 — The desert land of Rajasthan must have been blessed to bear in its womb an artist whose name was destined to become synonymous with the art of ghazal singing itself. A child of Hindustan today based at Karachi, he is not very comfortable with the idea that a united nation must have had a dissection at all....and that explains why Mehndi Hassanji has been involved in an incessant pursuit of bridging gaps through music, which is not just his passion but his life.

The maestro was in town today on the invitation of the Chandigarh Club and as luck would have it, he spoke to The Tribune notwithstanding his fatigue after a journey on the Shatabadi. Accompanying him was Arif Hassan, his son who performs on the tabla.

We begin with unfolding the mystery behind the name “Mehndi Hassan”. “You are right. I was born Ismail, but my mother changed my name to Mehndi. She thought my birth was a blessing of Imam Hassan sahab. Those whose prayers are granted offer mehndi to Hassan sahab during the Moharram days. My mother too offered mehndi, hence my name. And Hassan comes from Imam Hassan sahab’s name,” explained the singer.

He goes nostalgic about his childhood. “Ages have passed since I left my home — Jhunjhunu in the Jaipur riyasat of Rajastan. My fingers can still feel the desert sands. It was here that I turned a disciple of my father Azim Khan and chacha Ismail Khan who represent the Kalawant family. This is the family which has tutored musicians of royal families like the Maharaja of Baroda, Nepal, those of Manakpura, and many other rajwaras. I belong to the 16th generation of this gharana where music is a way of life. We are all born to sing or play music. But music means more to me than just music. It is a medium through which divided nations can be bound together. I am trying hard for that,” said the maestro.

Music runs in the blood and it runs with perfection, as is clear from the melody of Hassanji whose voice is like a flowing stream. “Music is ever flowing and so is life. The two are very close to each other. And a worshipper of life as I am, I never stopped my riyaaz ever since the day I gave my first performance when I was just eight.”

And that was a classic one —before none other than the Maharaja of Baroda. “I remember it was raag Basant Pancham. I performed under the aegis of my gurus. And since then I have never looked back. I have already recorded about 54,000 ghazals of various shayars, “ said Hassanji.

As he talks about the twists and turns in his life, he chokes at the episode of Partition. “It’s sad that a nation had to fall. Right after those days, Urdu, as a language, suffered a major setback. There were very few people who respected ghazals. It was then that I decided to assume the responsibility. I wanted to save the language which is so specific to Asia. I began with the recording of Patta patta buta buta at Karachi radio, Pakistan. The composition of Miyaaz Hussain was fabulous and the results showed immediately.”

Yet another break came in the form of movies, with Mehndiji singing in film Shikaar: “The song, ‘Mere khayalon khawabon ki duniya’...written by Hafiz Jalandhari was greatly acknowledged and I, as a singer, almost reached the zenith. The stars were further favourable with Ahmad Faraz’s ‘Ranjish hi sahi’ being screened in film Mohabbat. That ghazal took me places. Even today when I go to Canada or America people demand this ghazal a lot.”

To whom does he owe his success. “Many factors were at play together. I chose the best lyrisists because I wanted depth in my words. My favourites are Meer, Daag, Ghalib, Hasrat Muhani,” he said.

How does it feel to be so reputed and revered. “Allah miyan ki rehmat hai varna hum kya the,” says the singer, adding that he feels blessed and further responsible to the current generation which is going away from its moorings. “I have opened academies in other countries where I teach and so do my sons.”

The performances will continue, “but I love returning to Bombay and Hyderabad in particular. These are the places where Urdu is still alive,” he says.Back


‘Justice’ eludes him despite SC orders
by Rajendra Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH: — After a protracted legal battle spanning over 12 years, mr Vijay Kumar, a 1982-batch I.A.S. officer of the Maharashtra cadre, won his case at the Supreme Court in 1998. And yet “justice” continues to elude him, thanks to the dilatory tactics adopted by the Maharashtra Government in implementing the apex courts orders.

In tatters and carrying a bunch of files containing orders handed down by the Supreme Court from time to time, mr Vijay Kumar says the state government forced him to go to the Supreme Court again to launch contempt proceedings against those officers who did not comply with its directions. And one does not know how long the apex court would take to punish the contemners and dispense justice to him.

What did he do to offend the state government? “I was a young officer with a mission to fight corruption at high places and help the poor and needy, “he says. he hastens to add: “During my first posting as Assistant Collector I lodged a complaint with the Maharashtra Lok Pal against certain officers who were senior to me and indulged in corruption.”

To teach him a lesson, his seniors recorded adverse remarks in his annual confidential report (ACR). The remarks recorded in the ACR say: “he is serious, intelligent and a quiet type of officer and he takes interest in group discussions. he does not freely mix with fellow probationers and has a marked inferiority complex which on occasions led to some problems.” These remarks were, however, never communicated to him. Nor were his comments sought, as was required under the rules.

These remarks were, however, used as a tool by the state government to deny him the senior scale of pay, and while it released the same to those who were junior to him. this was the beginning of his tale of woe.

Hailing from Sangrur district in Punjab, Mr vijay Kumar challenged this action by the government at the Bombay High Court. While his case was pending in the High Court, the Union Government set up an administrative tribunal for adjudicating upon service matters of all-India service officers. His case, like thousands of others, was transferred from the High Court to the tribunal.

The tribunal declined Mr Vijay Kumar’s petition. It held that there was no proof that the ACR was conveyed to the applicant. And yet it ruled that there was nothing wrong in relying upon the confidential report to deny the benefit of the senior scale to the petitioner.

Mr Vijay Kumar contested the Tribunal order in the Supreme Court. Mr Justice G.L. Oza and Mr Justice K. Jagannatha Shetty, before whom the appeal was listed for hearing, observed: “We do not find anything adverse in these remarks. He has been assessed as a serious, intelligent and quiet type of officer. he took interest in group discussions. These are indeed the best qualities for any officer. The inferiority complex attributed to the appellant in that report cannot outweigh these good qualities. It is more often the superiority complex that causes harm to the public and not the inferiority complex”.

Slapping costs, assessed at Rs 18,248, on the respondent state, the Judges ruled: “The denial of the senior time-scale to the appellant, in any event, is, therefore, wholly unjustified and arbitrary.” They directed that the appellant be given senior time-scale with effect from the date on which his junior were given with all consequential benefits.

Genuinely convinced of his harassment by the state government, the Supreme Court handed down four orders (October 31, 1991, October 12, 1992, February 15, 1993 and February 2, 1996) directed the state government and the Centre transfer Mr Vijay Kumar from the Maharashtra cadre to the Punjab one. Although the Punjab Government had given its concurrence in 1996, this matter has been hanging fire for the past four years.

Mr Vijay Kumar alleges that he has not been paid salary so far. He has also been denied subsistence allowance and costs of litigation, specific directions of the apex court, not with standing.

During the pendency of this case the state government had served a chargesheet on him for a major penalty on “frivolous charges.” The charge sheet was stayed by the apex court on November 2,1988. The stay continues till date.

He claims that the Lok Ayukta of maharashtra informed him on August 16,1991, that the guilty persons he had named in his complaint had been punished. “The allegations I had levelled against certain officers have thus been proved. Instead of rewarding me for exposing the corrupt, the government is determined to ruin me.”

The denial of subsistence allowance during the past eight years, has driven Mr Vijay Kumar to the point of starvation. “I live in a labour colony in Delhi. I do not have even a TV. My elder brother supports me financially,” he asserts.

Born in a poor family (his father was only a clerk), mr Vijay Kumar has a brilliant academic record. “I taught at a university from 1975 to 1981. However, my parents were enchanted by the glamour of the bureaucracy. They asked me to compete in the all-India competition and thus I made it to the I.A.S.”

Bespectacled, Mr Vijay Kumar (45) suffers from diseases such as asthma, highblood pressure and sugar. All these diseases afflicted him during his battle against government harassment. When the TNS met him he was admitted to a hospital for his treatment.Back


Colony residents trudge miles to get water
From Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, May 12 — Residents of Wadhawa Nagar Colony, near Zirakpur, are facing an acute water scarcity for the past two weeks. They have to trudge to in Sector 19 of Panchkula for water.

Absence of pucca roads, streets, streetlights and various other civic amenities further complicate their problems. The colony lacks almost all the civic amenities even after the formation of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat.

Residents alleged that the colonisers sold residential plots in an unplanned manner. They did not leave sufficient space for roads and streets. In the absence of internal roads, the residents have to make to with irregular pathways.

Their problems are compounded during the rainy season when the tracks are full of slush and mud. They have to wade through the accumulated muddy water to reach their destinations. Children are the hardest hit and have to be escortedoutside the colony.

Absence of streetlights is another cause of inconvenience during night.

There is neither a provision of sewerage nor of drains. As a result, rain water remains accumulated at various low lying places. Ponds of stinking water at different places in the colony have not only posed a threat to their health but are also a breeding ground for other diseases. These stinking water ponds have become homes for flies and mosquitoes.

The colony get contaminated water supply from the handpumps, dug by the residents.

“We are hunting for drinking water. The water drawn from handpumps is contaminated, but we have no other option. The water is not even fit to wash clothes. We are practically living on the mercy of our neighbours since the authorities have hardly thought about us,” laments Ms Monika Verma, a housewife.

“Frequent power cuts often put us to great inconvenience. At times,we have to spend sleepless nights. We even prefer to sleep atop our houses,” commented Ms Sarla Devi.

“Sanitation is in a pitiable state ever since it was privatised. Though the Nagar Panchayat has installed some streetlights in the colony, none of them is functioning,” said Ms Chanchal Madan.

Most of the open spaces and undeveloped plots in the colony have been converted into dumping grounds. The telephones often remain unoperational, which further compound their problems.

After the formation of the Nagar Panchayat, the problems of the residents whose houses came under the jurisdiction of the civic body, are same as they were. Back


Rain brings relief
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 12 — The temperature witnessed a downward graph as heavy downpour marked the evening in the city here today.

The rain came as a sigh of relief to hundreds who found the air heavy for breathing during the earlier part of the day.

The sky remained cloudy till late evening.Back

Residents resent HUDA action
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, May 12 — The Private House Owners Welfare Association, Sector 11, has resented the action taken by the HUDA enforcement staff to remove barbed wires or temporary enclosures provided to protect lawns and plants in front of their houses.

Mr Sunil Jain, General Secretary of the association, said in a statement here yesterday that it was a matter of surprise that the authorities had not taken any action against the owners of commercial establishments who had encroached upon the verandahs, courtyards and backyards of their establishments, blocking the paths and creating a lot of inconvenience to the passersby.

The association requested to lease out the land in front of the houses of residents so that they could provide enclosures or barbed wires fencing to protect their plants and lawns on yearly basis, especially the owners of corner plots.Back


Residents do what panchayat should have done
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, May 12 — Damaged roads, absence of streetlights and sewerage system, unscheduled power cuts and various other problems are the bane of Harmilap Nagar Colony.

Residents of the colony complain that due to deep potholes in the roads, the possibility of accidents often looms large. And, the absence of streetlights aggravates their problems at night.

No sewer has been laid in the colony. People have dug septic tanks in their backyards. This process has contaminated the upper water table of the area.

Though the society has dug tubewells to meet the water requirement, unscheduled power cuts affect the regular water supply. Power failure further forces them to bear flies and mosquitoes.

“The residents of the colony have not only installed streetlights but also appointed a sweeper of their own as the Nagar Panchayat had done nothing in this regard since its formation,” says Dr Ashok Madhia, a resident.

“Heaps of garbage have come up at various places in the colony which are not only eyesore, but also health hazards. The poor sanitation condition can lead to an outbreak of water-born diseases,” complained residents.

“Though the Nagar Panchayat has installed streetlight poles in the village, it has not thought about the condition of roads. Deep potholes have become death-traps for the users,” says Rajinder Kumar.Back


Gurdwara poll: Section 164 imposed
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, May 12 — Anticipating law and order problem due to the controversy relating to the elections of the Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Phase 11, here, the local administration has imposed Section 164 of the Cr. P.C, prohibiting the intervention of two rival groups in managing the affairs of the gurdwara.

Passing the orders the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mr Jaipal Singh, said till free and fair elections are held, the manager of Amb Sahib Gurdwara, Phase 8, Mr Surinder Singh, had been appointed receiver of the Phase 11 gurdwara.

The SDM said an inquiry conducted by a tehsildar had pointed out that on April 23, the group led by Mr Sohan Singh and Mr Jagmel Singh had held election for the gurdwara management without following the rules and regulations. The other group led by Mr Rarrajan Singh and Mr Baldev Singh had claimed majority.Back


Appeal to HP Governor
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 12 — Mr Narinder Singh “International”, a Punjab State awardee, in a letter to the Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Mr Vishnu Kant Shastri, appealed that since sufficient number of people in the state spoke and understood Punjabi, it should be accorded second language status in the state and a Punjabi Academy should be set up in Himachal Pradesh. The above demand has been recommended by the Punjab Social Security and Development of Women and Children. Back


SAS Nagar to have more police force
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, May 12 — Residents of this town can look forward to a better policing following a the Punjab police plan to provide additional force. The issue has gained momentum after the district police authorities took up the matter with the Director General of Police (DGP), Punjab.

Sources in the Police Department said that the authorities were contemplating provision of at least 150 additional personnel. The force when provided would bridge the gap between the existing police-population ratio — roughly one policeman for every 1,100 persons.

In a proposal sent to the department an additional requirement of a Superintendent of Police ( SP), a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), one Inspector , 70 NGOs, 105 head constables, 360 constables, 20 drivers, 10 operators, besides the SPOs, has been made. Senior officials in the department recently held a meeting of district police officials in this regard after receiving instructions from the DGP.

The sources said though the crime in the town had shown an increase of about 6o per cent since 1979, the police strength had not been supplemented accordingly.

With a projected population of around three lakh, there were only 189 police personnel, including officers of the GO rank. Enquires revealed that with a population of about 10 lakh, there were 11 police stations whereas for this town, with a population of three lakh, there was only one police station. Recently the Naya Goan police post was upgraded to a police station.

The district police authorities have also urged that the Phase 8 police station — functioning as a temporary police station — be upgraded to a regular police station. Establishing a police station in the Industrial Area has also been sought.

A police official said the additional force, when given, would be utilised for putting nakas check the increasing cases of vehicle theft, chain snatching and eve-teasing. An additional force of 33 personnel for manning the traffic equipping the Police Control Room with modern infrastructure has also been sought.

A separate force for performing VIP duties in SAS Nagar subdivision was also required, the official said. Back


Bid to commit suicide
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 12 — A young girl of Sector 22 reportedly tried to commit suicide by consuming a poisonous substance.

According to police sources, Aditi Sood consumed some substance at about 8.30 p.m. in her room and was rushed to the General Hospital. Her condition is stated to be serious.

A case under Section 309, IPC, has been registered.

Cyclist hit: Moti Lal, a cyclist and jawan of the CRPF, was hit and injured by a car (HR-07-D-0048) near Punjab Raj Bhavan. He was rushed to General Hospital.

A case under Sections 279 and 337, IPC, has been registered. The car driver, Mannu, a resident of Sector 6, Panchkula, has been arrested.

Modesty-outrage bid: Poonam, a resident of Indira Colony, Mani Majra, reported that Pardeep of the same colony had attempted to outrage her modesty. The accused has been arrested and a case under Section 354, IPC, registered.

One arrested: Rajinder Yadav, a resident of Azamgarh, has been arrested from Sector 26 for staying without intimidating the police.

A case under Section 188, IPC, has been registered.

Cash stolen: Ajay Aggarwal, a representative of a vernacular daily, reported that Rs 10, 000 from his hotel room.

A case under Section 380, IPC, has been registered.Back


...And now, ISI-marked jewellery

The traditional goldsmiths got a jolt when Tata introduced certified jewelley under the trade name Tanishq. A couple of other manufacturers followed suit by introducing readymade ornaments in different degrees of purity. Then another first came from Tata showrooms selling Tanishq jewellery in select cities. They put up imported machines which digitally display the exact purity of jewellery. The customers were elated. And now, the Bureau of Indian Standards is introducing ISI certification — the first of its kind in this region.

Gold has fascinated the kings and paupers alike. The weakness of Indian women to possess gold jewellery is well known. Taking advantage of their weakness, the goldsmiths have been minting money since centuries. The modus operandi of fleecing is just simple and straightforward. When you get the jewellery made, the tanka i.e. metal used to join different parts of an ornament is weighed along with the gold. Thus one pays for a cheap metal at the price of gold. But when a person returns the ornament, the weight of the tanka is deducted from the total weight to the ornament. This is done even if you return the piece of jewellery to the same jeweller from which you initially purchased it. Similarly, in the case of ornaments studded with ordinary or semi-precious pearls etc, the weight of the pearls is added to that of gold and sold at the price of gold. However, while taking back the ornament, a goldsmith simply removes all the pearls etc and then weighs the gold. Moreover, he rubs the ornament on a small stone to determine its purity, and thus gains in terms of thin layer of fold smeared to that stone even if the customer refuses to sell the ornament.

To gain prestige, the goldsmiths started using cadmium for joining two parts of an ornament. They propagated that they would not deduct the weight of tanka when their customers return or exchange the jewellery sold by them. But at the same time, they increased their labour charges so that their income remained the same.

But now, with the Bureau of Indian Standards stepping in to set the standards for gold jewellery, the scenario is going to change tremendously. The scheme has already been launched in metros like Bombay, Calcutta and Delhi. The City Beautiful is next in the line. However, at the moment there is one lacuna. The scheme does not enjoy the patronage of the iron hand of law. Hopefully, in near future, the government would enact a law to make this mandatory.

— By Thakur ParamjitBack


Social security Act discussed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 12 — A meeting of the study circle of the Income Tax and Sales Tax Bar Association was held here today to discuss the provisions and implications of the Punjab Social Security Act, 2000 which was enforced on April 11 this year.

According to a press note, as per the Act a cess is to be levied on the ad valorem @ 10 per cent on the sales and purchases of the goods under the Punjab General Sales Tax Act. This was was to replace the additional sales tax earlier charged at the @10 per cent on the sales tax.

The intention of the legislature was to charge 10 per cent cess on the sales tax and the purchase tax whereas in the notification the cess had been shown to be chargeable @ 10 per cent on the sales and purchases. This had led to confusion amongst trade and the public and the government should clarify the confusion, it added.Back


1,154 units covered under EPF
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 12 — In the financial year ending March 31, as many as 1,154 establishments were covered and 48,986 subscribers brought under the EPF and MP Act,1952, by the Punjab Regional Office of the Employees Provident Fund.

According to a press note, Rs 1936.51 lakh was realised as current dues and Rs 455.57 lakh as arrears. And 561 cases finalised under Section 7-A of the Act and Rs 2567 lakh assessed during the year.

The press note said 295 prosecution cases were filed under Section 14 of the Act. Similarly, 24 FIRs were also filed against the the defaulting establishments, which had deducted employees' share but had not deposited it in time. Cases were also filed against establishments which did not submit monthly and annual returns in time.

The employees are requested to deposit PF contributions and submit monthly and annual returns in time so that the account slips can be issued in time and claims can also be settled in time, it added.Back

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