Sunday, May 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Corruption in life and cricket can go’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 13 — Simplification of procedures, transparency and empowerment of people and effective punishment to the corrupt is the three-pronged strategy adopted by the Central Vigilance Commission to tackle corruption. India ranks 73 out of 99 countries in the Transparency International Report of 1999.

If corruption has been flourishing in the country, it has been because of the non-implementation of the law. Besides this three-pronged strategy, there are some legal remedies to tackle the menace as well. These include empowering the Central Vigilance Commission to confiscate the ill-gotten wealth and benami properties of corrupt officials, besides practicing zero tolerance.

These are some of the observations made at a colloquium on corruption organised by the Bradlaugh International Centre at Hotel Aroma Hotel here today. The programme featured the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, Mr N. Vittal, and a former Indian cricket captain, Bishen Singh Bedi.

The Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, Dr Najma Heptullah, could not make it to the venue because of a last-minute change in her schedule.

The colloquium, the second by the centre in the past two months, generated great interest. Both Mr Vittal and Bishen Bedi said India and Indian cricket would emerge "corruption-free".

"Cricket will come out of the current crisis," said Bishen Bedi. However, he said the politician-bureaucrat-businessman nexus in public life and the cricketer-official-bookie nexus in the sport were similar.

Ms Anuradha Gupta, Honorary Secretary of the Bradlaugh International Centre, introduced the subject. She said the country had reached a stage where corruption ceased to be an issue as it had become a part of life, to which, the nation had resigned.

"Corruption in India is a classic case of too much talk and too little action. The menace, which the Central Vigilance Commission perceives as high-profit low-risk business, needs all-risk and no-profit to fight it," she said. "The anti-corruption agencies are more corrupt. Cases registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act are seldom taken to their logical conclusion and investigations are suppressed by inept and corrupt investigators," she said.

The President of the centre, Lieut-Gen B.K.N. Chhibber (retd), said a major issue facing the country was how to tackle corruption. He said people now jokingly remarked that corruption should be legalised.

Mr Vittal said he expected participation of the Chief Justice of India to speak on corruption in the Judiciary and Dr Najma Heptullah on corruption in politics. Referring to Mark Twain, he said everybody talked about weather, but no one could do anything about it and same was the case with corruption.

He said if Mahatma Gandhi could single-handedly start a fight against apartheid in South Africa and succeed, the fight against corruption could also be won. "I have a vision of corruption-free India," he said. He said all that came in the way of fighting corruption had to be removed.

"Corruption is the AIDS of our country as it is anti-people, anti-poor and anti-economic development, we must fight it," he said. About corruption in politics, he suggested that law breakers should not be allowed to be law makers. The nexus between politicians and bureaucrats was the reason behind the flourishing of corruption. Without a bureaucrat, politician could not do anything, he said.

"Let there be any mechanism of appointing persons at sensitive positions, but, their tenure must be limited. All sensitive positions should be identified and a mechanism should be evolved, by which, such positions should be filled for a minimum tenure of two to three years," he said.

Mr Vittal said sympathy for the corrupt officials were being gained by various agencies. "This is happening in Punjab," he said.

Mr Vittal said a common man should have more say in fighting corruption. He said he had been insisting that in the Constitutional review, a fundamental right of getting corruption-free services should be introduced.

Bishen Singh Bedi said he was embarrassed to defend his cricket fraternity after the issue of match-fixing had rocked the sport. He said when he had started playing Test cricket, there hardly had been any money in it.

"There is corruption in the sport. The ICC has just set up an anti-corruption cell, admitting that money has been changing hands. It is sad. Cricket has been a sport which has been associated with fairplay, frankness and honesty."

Referring to a famous cricket writer born of a prostitute who rose to be knighted, Bishen said, "Cricket reflects the time you live in."

"Today, though corruption and compromise have entered the game. The ICC after its recent meeting in London, has left a huge lump under its carpet. While players' corruption has been highlighted because people see them on the TV, officials and administrators remain invisible," he said.

He said no Test cricketer had ever become the President of the cricket board in the country. "Why should politicians or bureaucrats be interested to head the board?" he asked. "The ill lies somewhere else," he said. He said the sport had become highly commercialised and that he was sad for Kapil Dev.

"He is a giant of Indian cricket and has been drawn into a controversy. No player worth his salt will ever play badly", Bishen said. He hoped that the game would come out stronger from the current crisis.


Maoists a cause of concern: ADG
By Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Bhanu (Panchkula), May 13 — The growing influence of Maoist cadres in the Nepalese districts adjoining the Terai region in Uttar Pradesh are a cause of concern and are likely to create problems for internal security on the Indian side in the days to come, according to Mr S.C. Chaube, ADG, Nepal Border Police. He was the chief guest at the passing out parade of three batches of constables of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at the Basic Training Centre here today.

Elaborating on the developments in Nepal, he said the Maoists were gaining strength and in the past six months, their members had attacked police stations, border posts and banks, besides targeting non-Nepalese people in these districts. Their aim was to drive them into India, which was an alarming trend, given the traditional ties between the countries, he added. In some parts, their writ runs large and they were even collecting peace money from the local populace, he said. The day was not far when Indians settled in these parts would be forced out, he pointed out.

The ADG said the Nepal Border Police, the first of its kind in the country, was raised in 1997 to curb rising incidents of cross-border smuggling, increased activity by the forest mafia and infiltration by anti-national elements. In view of the friendly relations between the countries, no one felt the need to deploy a paramilitary force along the long border with Nepal, he stated.

The men, with 5 to 15 years of service, are drawn from the UP Police and are trained in customs law, wildlife law and international relations, besides other relevant laws. They are given an allowance of 20 per cent of their basic salary.

Mr Chaube said reports about the increased activity by the ISI had highlighted the need to bring about an integrated regime of border surveillance, border intelligence and border enforcement since India has a long and porous border with Nepal, which spans Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim.

Justifying the need and the cost involved in raising the force, he said it had been worthwhile since the force had effected seizures of more than Rs 30 crore in the past three years, writing off the cost of its raising, and the increased presence on the border outposts had also proved to be a deterrent to criminals.

There are 54 outposts along the border in Uttar Pradesh, which are manned by one inspector, two SIs, one HC and two constables, besides a company of the UP Provincial Armed Constabulary Task Force. The bulk of the contraband seized include electronic items,drugs, small amount of arms and ammunition, wildlife and cattle.

Seeing the success and the shifting of operations to other state borders, the Centre had directed the remaining states to evolve such forces in their respective states. He said they had received information that tourists from Nepal coming to India or vice-versa were harassed by the customs staff at border outpots, but once a complaint was received, such matters were taken to their logical end.

In view of the disturbances,Nepal planned to raise a similar force, to be deployed along the border, which would also be the first of its kind. He said the force was being modernised and he had submitted an elaborate blueprint to the Government, keeping in mind the challenges ahead.


Rare birds sighted
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 13 — Snow goose, a species of migratory birds, was sighted at Sukhna Lake here in the month of March. It is for the second time that this bird was sighted in India. Earlier, it was seen in the Rann of Kutch area.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune here today, Dr H.S. Mehta, a scientist of Zoological Survey of India, said that this rare bird resembles bar headed goose from inside but was differentiated by colouration.

Dr Mehta said when a team of the Zoological Survey of India was surveying Sukhna and Kansal sanctuaries as part of its project for studying flora and fauna of Chandigarh, it sighted a pair of snow goose. A picture of the rare bird was also taken by the survey team. Last time the bird was sighted in India in 1989.

Talking about migratory birds at Sukhna Lake, Dr Mehta said now their number was diminishing. When a team visited the lake early this morning, it could sight only about 100 migratory birds.

At present, there are more summer visitors, including lesser whistling duck and open bill stork, and resident birds at the lake. During winters, the resident birds are normally pushed off from the Sukhna lake as migratory birds outnumber them.

Talking about "disappearance of ducks as released by the Environment Society of India", Dr Mehta said that it was a natural process that in the fight for food, the stronger pushes out the weaker. Further, it is the survival of the fittest. Since migratory birds come and stay together, they make it difficult for others to survive in the fight for food. This is a natural phenomenon.

Further, he said that now when the desiltation of the bed of Sukhna Lake has started, molluscs, larvae and other insecticidal food is available which is cherished by resident birds . As such the population of the resident birds and some summer visitors has increased and they have replaced migratory birds at this wetland.



Mansa Devi shops razed
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, May 13 — Nearly 200 shops lining the entry to the Mansa Devi Shrine were razed to the ground after the Estate Office, Haryana Urban Development Authority, handed over possession of the newly constructed booths to the eligible shopkeepers and encroachments in over 15 acres of land acquired by HUDA in the vicinity were removed, here today.

The process of demolition work began at 6.30 am. However, conceding to the demand of the shopkeepers who were informed of the demolition a day earlier, no action was initiated till about 10 am.

During this period they were allowed to remove their belongings from the shops. The officials also helped remove of tin roofs and offered the labourers to help speed up the process. While angle irons were pulled out and tin sheets were removed to "safe places," kaliraas and vermillion could be seen splattered on the roads.

The shopkeepers said that in spite of information of the demolition having been conveyed to them last night, they did not believe it would really come about which explained why their shops had not been cleared of their belongings. The earth-removers began their tirade against the concrete structures and reduced them to rubble in no time in the presence of the police.

Out of the 116 allottees, 106 shopkeepers occupied their shops today after they were handed over the keys. The rest of the shops had come up illegally after the survey for construction of booths held in 1998 which made the rest ineligible for allotment. However, the four cases in which the allottees had died were settled after the families were allowed to occupy the space outside booths, though possession would be handed over after verification.

Besides, 12 shops next to the steps leading to the temple were left untouched. While two of these have been alllotted by the Shrine Board, the remaining 10 have got a stay order against the demolition. The matter is pending in the Sessions Court and May 25 is the next date of hearing.

While this was on, in an effort to remove encroachments from the HUDA land acquired recently, the earth removers brought mounds of cow-dung tumbling down in Bhainsa Tibba even as villagers raised a hue and cry. Later, they turned the "attack" towards pucca houses which had been illegally been built on their land.

However, even during this operation, the encroachers were given ample time to untie cattle and remove their belongings to safety, though police had to step in to disperse the agitated villagers time and again.

Their main contention and grouse was that they had been staying at this place for over 20 years and the demolition was unjust even as the staff of the Enforcement Wing of HUDA tried to reason that the land had now been acquired by it which necessitated the action.


High voltage damages gadgets
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 13 — Residents of Milk Colony Dhanas in a press note here, today alleged that high voltage had damaged their electronic gadgets, including TVs refrigerators, fans, tubelights and bulbs on the night on March 12. Repeated requests made to the complaint centre in Sector 16 fell on deaf ears. Fluctuation of power has also become a routine affair, the residents added.

A spokesman of the colony, Mr N.K. Sharma, alleged that the residents had been experiencing a lot of inconvenience due to erratic power supply for the past many days. As a result, people are also facing water crisis.

Roads and streets are in a dilapidated condition here and street lights do not function properly.

The spokesman added that the Chandigarh Administration had assured the residents that they would be provided with cow dung pits. Some residents had got the allotment letters from the Administration but the pits had not been provided to them till now. In the absence of these pits, residents are forced to thrown the cow dung in the open.


Another gift from the West — Mother’s Day

THE Western culture has influenced the younger generation of Chandigarh to such an extent that they are forgetting traditional Indian values. The ‘in’ things for the youth of City Beautiful include discos, dance parties, dating, freaking.... the list goes on. Valentine’s Day has become a part of their lives, and so have chocolate parties, presentation of flowers and the like. Close on the heels of such things, now comes the Mother’s Day.

After God, mother occupies the most prestigious place in this world. But that is Indian philosophy. The regard and respect ingrained in the hearts of traditional Indian people is lacking in the modern generation. Like their Western counterparts, they think it their duty to present a greeting card to their mother on Mother’s Day. Little gestures are significant, no doubt, but these should emanate from the heart. Doing mere formality, without any genuine concern, serves no useful purpose.

A mother is always concerned about the welfare of her children and nurtures a deep desire that they become ‘great’ in life. The sentiments of a mother and her love for her offspring is aptly described in the words of Rose Kennedy, “Whenever I held my new-born baby in my arms, I used to think that what I said and did to him could have an influence not only on him, but on all whom he met, not only for a day or a month or a year, but for all eternity — a very challenging and exciting thought for a mother.”

Celebrated on the second Sunday of May every year, Mother’s Day was started in USA by Anna Jarvis. Her mother had desired that such a day should be celebrated, and to fulfill her desire, she started this ‘day’ in the year 1907. But its true spirit has faded somewhere and the commercial interests have seeped in. As with Valentine's Day, manufacturer of greeting cards and gift items put in their best efforts to popularise Mother’s Day to boost the sale of their items. And people fall easy prey to their propaganda and well-planned marketing strategy.

Does your mother need just a greeting card? To her, a feeling that she occupies an important place in your life is far more important than a gift or a card. How many sons and daughters do care for their mothers? A visit to old age homes in Chandigarh and other cities tells harrowing tales of utter neglect of the person, who never cared for her youth, her comforts, and her health for the sake of her children. Is this the reward we give to someone who is synonymous with ‘sacrifice’.

— By Thakur Paramjit


Moms vie for title
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, May 13—The mothers of students of Firstep Montessori School, Sector 7, played guests of honour at a function organised by the school to celebrate Mother’s Day, here today.

The programme began with presentation of carnations by students to their mothers as a mark of respect and gratitude for their unconditional love and support. A cultural programme comprising songs and poems by the little ones followed the thanks-giving ceremony while a couple of students of the kindergarten class spoke on the relevance of celebrating the day.

The mothers were given an entertaining games session which had them competing with one another. A game titled "Identify the actress’’ proved to be an enjoyable experience and generated a lot of excitement as each tried to name the actress ahead of the another.

The highlight of the function was the “Firstep Summer Queen’’ contest which saw the mothers put their best foot forward as they vied for the title. Mrs Seema Chaudhary, mother of Varsha, a nursery class student was adjudged the winner while Mrs Suman Mangat, mother of Angad of LKG, and Mrs Reena Sood, mother of Aditya of Class I, were declared first and second runners -up, respectively.

The curtain came down on the celebrations with a colourful prize distribution function to award winners of the various contests.


15 women among 361 recruits pass out
Tribune News Service

Bhanu (Panchkula), May 13 — It was a big day for 361 recruits, including 15 women, who passed out and were inducted as constables of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at a ceremony in the Basic Training Camp of Bhanu, near Ramgarh, today.

Mr S. C. Chaube, ADG, Nepal Border Police , was the chief guest on the occasion. He exhorted the men to prove themselves to be worthy of the force and follow its glorious traditions. He said he was reminded of his stint in the CRPF and it was after a long time that he had witnessed such an excellent parade.

The parade was commanded by Constable Karnail Singh of the 124th batch. The trainees presented a colourful demonstration of mass log, rifle medicine ball PT and ribbon PT.

The over all prizes for best performance were given to Bhupender Singh, Devender Singh and Satender Singh of the three batch, respectively. The best over all prize for women went to Constable Chanchla Devi.

Similarly, the prizes for drill, PT, weapon, firing in the 123rd batch went to Dhani Ram Dass, Keshav Pal, M.S. Gautam and Surender Singh. These prizes in the 124th batch were awarded to Davender Singh, Karnail Singh, Ajay Sharma, Devender Singh and Purshottam. Those in the 125th batch went to Satender Singh, Harish Chand, Y. Ibomgcha, and Chhering Dorje.


Student arrested for blackmail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13 — The police has arrested a student of the Government College for Men, Sector 11, on the charges of blackmailing a city resident by making threatening calls to him.

According to Dr Sagar Preet Hooda, ASP (Central), the accused, Satya Narain, a final-year BA student, used to make threatening calls to a Sector 11 resident, Gurpreet Singh. The accused demanded Rs 10 lakh from Gurpreet, failing which, he would get him framed in a false case. According to a report, the accused said he had come to know about the relations of the complainant with a woman and had been threatening to expose him.

The complainant brought the matter to the notice of the police and a trap was laid. After days of observation, the accused was caught. He has confessed to making the calls and has been remanded to the police custody till May 15.

Bootleggers held
The police has arrested two residents of Janta Colony on the charges of possessing 194 pouches of liquor. Phomi and Om Parkash were arrested from different parts of the colony and 97 pouches each were seized from them. Cases under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act have been registered against them.

Landlord arrested
The police has arrested Sujan Singh of Sarangpur village, a landlord, for not informing the police about his tenant. The tenant has also been arrested. A case under Section 188 of the IPC has been registered.


Official assaulted
A Manager of the Assembly Section of Punjab Communications Limited, Mr Gulshan Khanna, was allegedly assaulted by at least four employees of the company — Som Dutt, Bharat Bhushan, Didar Singh and Jaspal Singh, all members of the PCL Employees Union.

Though a complaint had been lodged with the police yesterday, it is yet to register an FIR. Sources in the PCL said the police was dilly-dallying the matter under political pressure.


The Ambala police has claimed to have busted a gang of chain snatchers in Ambala Cantt, said to be involved in a dozen chain snatching incidents.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Navdeep Singh Virk, said three youths identified as Mohit, Sanjeev and Akshay were arrested in this regard and nine gold chains, costing Rs 80,000, were recovered from their possession. He said one month ago the accused were arrested in a chain snatching case but later they were released on bail by the court.

According to police information, the accused have admitted their involvement in 10 chain snatching cases.



‘Withdraw CST on oil products’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 13 — The Union Home Secretary, Mr Kamal Pande, is reported to have written to Punjab and Haryana Governments to withdraw the 4 per cent central sales tax on petroleum products. This letter is a sequel to the recommendation of the Union Government for introduction of a uniform floor rate of 20 per cent sales tax on petroleum products.

While Punjab and Haryana have introduced 20 per cent sales tax on petrol, Chandigarh has put petroleum products in its highest slab of sales tax of 12 per cent.

Both Punjab and Haryana have been impressing upon the Union Government to force the Chandigarh Administration to increase sales tax on petroleum products to 20 per cent.

The UT Administration, on the other hand, maintains that once 20 per cent sales tax is levied on petroleum products, consumers, distributors and dealers will be crushed.

Besides 20 per cent sales tax, there is four per cent central sales tax and a little more than one per cent of another central cess, making it 25 per cent compared to just 20 per cent sales tax in Punjab and Haryana. Since Chandigarh is surrounded by the two states, the enhanced rate and a big difference in price will affect the sales of all outlets here, affecting overall revenue.

This is why the Administration took up with the Union Government the case for withdrawal of CST on petroleum products. The Finance Secretary, Mr Rakesh Singh, who visited the Union capital, impressed upon senior functionaries of the Home Ministry that it would not be feasible for Chandigarh to introduce uniform floor rate on petroleum products until CST was withdrawn.

Convinced by the arguments and the case presented by the Administration, the Home Secretary is reported to have sent a letter to both Punjab and Haryana Governments, asking them to withdraw CST on petroleum products. Chandigarh gets its supplies from Ambala and Patiala.

Till the CST is withdrawn, the Administration will continue to levy 12 per cent sales tax on petroleum products, which comes to a little more than 17 per cent after calculating other levies and duties, making it slightly cheaper or at a par with rates of petrol and diesel in neighbouring towns of Punjab and Haryana.

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