Friday, May 19, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Water pipe leaks cause dangerous cave-ins
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, May 18 — Leaking water pipes are spelling doom for residents of Sector 8. Road berms have caved in, owing to constant water seepage and cracks in these which are already spreading to the roadsides. However, this is not new for residents, who complain that the department concerned has made only temporary arrangement each time they have complained about the problem.

Moreover, the caving in is not an occasional incident, but, occurs two to three times in a year in the same locality at three points. While two houses are affected this time, cracks have appeared all over the pavement indicating, more patches will cave in unless water seepage is checked.

One such aggrieved resident, Ms Urmilla Kakkar, says, “Mine being a corner house, pipes branch out in all directions from here. However, in the past couple of years it has become a major source of trouble and our visits to the complaint centre have increased.

Another resident, Mr Sanjeev Kumar Sehdev, is the most affected by leaking plastic waterpipes. “I have relaid my pavement everytime it has caved in due to water leakage from the pipes. Moreover, it is very dangerous as it happens suddenly while children cycle and play here every evening,’’ he says. He also says that regular visits to the Public Works Department has not helped in any way. “They only plug the leakage temporarily, though we have been asking them to find a permanent solution,’’ he adds.

Across the road, another house is affected by the problem. Dug up earth and a plastic pipe with a pool of water underneath are a cause of constant trouble here. Residents claim, that the situation remains the same throughout the year and plumbers visit to plug the leakage at times.

Officials of the PWD say that the problem is more than 10-year-old and began after the Haryana Urban Development Authority laid a network of plastic pipes in some areas. “Polyethlyne pipes were used because these could be easily turned and twisted according to the requirement. However, the department later discovered that these were prone to leakage when water pressure increased and were then discarded,’’ he said.

Similar problems have been reported from Sector 16. Recently, these plastic pipes were replaced in Sector 9 after the department received complaints of leakage and caving in of land. “Initially, we try to sort out the problem by plugging the leak. If it doesn’t work, we replace these pipes,’’ he added.


A slip that may cost 40 trees
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 18 — Uncertainty prevails over the survival of 40-odd trees at the intersection of Sectors 11,12, 14 and 15 even after a year of the Department of Engineering of the Chandigarh Administration taking up the work of providing slip roads along Madhya Marg.

Though most of the trees have been made vulnerable to vagaries of weather as their root system lays exposed because of digging up of earth from around them, no decision has been taken over the final width and alignment of slip roads to be provided at the intersection.

Studies at the intersection reveal that there is not much vehicular traffic at the spot which needs diversion to slip roads. Following the Punjab and Haryana High Court instructions that all intersections on Madhya Marg be provided slip roads, the Engineering Department took up the work at this intersection along with others last year.

While other slip roads all along Madhya Marg have been constructed ,commissioned and are being used, this particular intersection was left out because of heavy density of grown-up trees that figure in the original alignment of the slip roads planned. Subsequently, the work was abandoned, leaving a sore point for those using this stretch.

The Chief Engineer, Mr R.K. Jain, said that a final decision about new alignment and width of slip roads would be taken soon so as to minimise the destruction of trees.

Some senior functionaries of the Engineering Department, including those from both Roads and Horticulture divisions, subsequently visited the site. A couple of other options, including reducing the width of slip roads from the originally planned 22 ft to 14 ft, and some changes in its alignment, were discussed with an intention to minimise the number of trees which have to be felled to make provision for new roads.

But no final decision has been taken so far. There have been several instances in the recent past when some well-grown trees were uprooted or heavily damaged by duststorms, squalls and strong winds as their weakened root system, because of removal of earth from around them, could not withstand the onslaught of the winds.

With the monsoon not far away, these trees face a much more serious threat as their root system has been considerably weakened because of their prolonged exposure due to heavy digging around them. Even if the department wants to protect them, the damage may still be done because of the weather.


Bajaj refutes charges against son
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 18 — Refuting the allegations levelled by Sunny Garg against his son, Mr B.R. Bajaj, a senior Punjab IAS officer, said the complaint” lodged against his son Ranjit was totally false, fabricated and done with an intention to cover Sunny’ s crimes.

Ranjit is likely to move the High Court for bail and in case it is not granted, he will decide on the future course of action. He is a student of BBA in England and is in the city in connection with a death in the family. He is wanted in connection with a case of kidnapping, illegal confinement and the Arms Act by the police, following a complaint by Sunny Garg, the son of a wealthy industrialist of Sector 9, on May 16.

Elaborating upon the incident at an interaction with mediapersons at his house, Mr Bajaj said he was told by Ranjit that the thief had been caught. On May 14, Bobby, a friend of son, had seen Sunny going through the suitcase of Ranjit. When he checked his bag, he saw that many valuables had been stolen.

After that he went to collect a friend, Shivi, and on his way back, he chanced upon Sunny and brought him back home. A search of his person revealed some stolen items. Thereafter, Sunny confessed to taking the things. He went home in his own car and brought the other things. He apologised to Mr Bajaj and asked him not to inform his parents.

Mr Bajaj said Ranjit then asked him to inform the police, but his wife objected to it, saying Sunny had realised his mistake and was begging for forgiveness. With the issue resolved, they sat down to have some snacks. A family friend, advocate Chander Sharma also dropped in and on coming to know about the matter, told him that going by looks, he was reportedly a drug addict.

He later on went to drop Sunny at their house and had a chat with Sunny’s mother and grandmother. Mr Sharma also asked them to get help for their ward, since he was also a kleptomaniac.

Listing the valuables recovered from Sunny’s car, Mr Bajaj said these included a gold chain with a medallion, two wrist watches, a discman, a valuable stamp and coin collection, perfumes, CDs, some Archies comics and an autographed bat. Items still missing include a VCD player, two expensive goggles, an autograph collection, a camera, video CDs, one cell phone, two charges of cell phones, two SIM cards and seven CDs.

He claimed that in view of the above charges, the delay in reporting the incident and the six driving licences made from various parts of the country showed that his son had been wrongly implicated. He said he had written to the SSP and demanded the registration of a case.

On the other hand, Mr Kewal Garg, uncle of Sunny, said they stood to their earlier stand and said the entire incident was being shown in an adverse light. “ Ranjit has been known to indulge in such activities and has a couple of cases registered against him.

My nephew is still in shock about the whole incident. Moreover, why would he need to steal something? He has everything he wants,” he claimed.

The Bajajs residence was raided by the police yesterday night and sources said some incriminating things had been recovered. Further investigations are on.

Besides the present case, Ranjit Bajaj is also reported to have threatened the staff at Timber Trail Resorts in Parwanoo with a gun. Sources said he had gone there with a friend and after having lunch, tried to sleep in the dining hall by putting together some chairs.

This was objected to by the waiters who said this would affect their clientele. Upon this, he is said to have flown in a rage, abused them and pulled out a gun to scare them. He later managed to flee. Following this, a case under Sections 186 and 506 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act was registered against him at Parwanoo.


Admission cancellation by PU held illegal
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 18 — After contesting for four years, Panjab University lost a significant appeal against the 1995 order of a lower court which observed that the university had illegally cancelled the admission of Sukhbir Singh Osan, a riot victim from Bhopal who had lawfully secured the same on the basis of a Riot Victim Certificate issued to him by the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar.

Deciding the appeal filed by PU through its Registrar and by the Chairman, Department of Laws, in February, 1996, against the December 2, 1995, order of the then Sub-Judge, Mr Kamal Kant, the UT Civil Judge (senior division), Mr H.S. Madaan, has held that the PU's September 30, 1991 order by virtue of which Sukhbir Singh's admission to the course was cancelled, is "illegal and invalid" and the lower court has rightly declared the order as "non-sustainable in the eyes of law."

The university authorities had taken a plea that the respondent is not a riot victim as he claims to be. The PU held that 2 per cent seats were reserved for riot victims and it was in this category that Sukhbir Singh was given admission on the basis of a red card purported to have been issued to him by the Ropar DC. It was further contested that although students are required to attach attested copies of certificates along with the admission form, many students attach untrue copies. They added that Sukhbir Singh never submitted a photocopy of the red card (claimed to be issued to him) nor the original of the same was submitted by him at the time of the interview. He could not even produce the same later when asked to, counsel for PU added.

Sukhbir Singh, however, denied all these allegations and maintained that he submitted all attested copies along with the application and later he submitted his originals at the time of the interview. He stated before the court that he was not able to procure the originals later when asked to. He alleged that during 1991 he was also working for a newspaper called Jan Sandesh and in good faith, he published an article which landed the Chairman, Law Department, into trouble. He alleged that all this trouble started after this incident.

After going through rival contentions, the court held that it does not appeal to reasoning that if Sukhbir Singh had not produced certificates ...with the admission form or at the time of interview even then the admission was granted to him. No reason could be assigned by counsel for the appellants as to why Sukhbir Singh was admitted in the absence of original certificates. At the time of admission one can safely presume that the department would have checked all documents attached with the admission form and then the attested copies must have ben compared with the originals at the time of the interview. In case of any default, Sukhbir Singh could have been rejected admission.


New ISBT a non-starter?
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 18 — Even after spending Rs 2 crore in completing the first phase of the newly opened Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) in Sector 43 here, the transport authorities are still tying up the loose ends in an effort to make a success out of the new ISBT.

To start off, all long route buses of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) that go to Punjab or Himachal Pradesh via Kharar now stop at the new ISBT. Punjab Roadways, Haryana Roadways and Himachal Roadways are also operating a handful of buses to destinations in Himachal Pradesh from the new bus stand.

However, at present , all these routes are run during the day time as the new ISBT still faces problems of few like auto-rickshaws and rickshaws. The thinking among the officialdom is that commuters could find it troublesome in reaching their respective destination within the city in the absence of a reliable connecting transport facility. Thus all long-route buses that operate or stop at the Sector 43 ISBT are shifted to the main ISBT in Sector 17 after 7 p.m. The local transport authorities have so far not requested the Punjab or Haryana roadways to operate any routes. This will be done only when all facilities are in place, a source said.

Another problem is the absence of a V-5 road that will lead into the bus stand. This is likely to be completed within the next two months and will help in diverting more buses into the new ISBT. The Director Transport, Dr Amarpal Singh says ‘‘in the absence of a connecting V-5 road not much load can be put on existing entry as it could lead to accidents.’’

Meanwhile, a source pointed out that no loading platform exists at the new ISBT. In such a scenario, if one has luggage that needs to be put on roof of bus, the height of ladder fixed at the rear of the bus is too high for a person of average height.

Besides, the concept of boarding a bus at the new terminus is yet to catch on. On the other hand, several people ‘‘de-board’’ long route buses at Sector 43. The ISBT will function fully when all buses from Punjab that come via Kharar will terminate and originate at the new ISBT. This will help in reducing congestion on city roads. 


250 encroachments removed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 18 — The enforcement wing of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC) today removed 250 encroachments from Sector 41-A here.

Continuing with its drive against the encroachers, the squad, headed by an official of the rank of SDE, removed a number of illegal boundary walls, concrete structures, barbed wires, iron gates and hedges from the internal roads(V-5 and V-6).

Besides, two Sub-Inspectors of the corporation, Mr Jitendra Pal and Mr Sunil Dutt, under the supervision of the Inspector, Mr Kashmira Singh, over 50 personnel and two trucks and a bulldozer were deployed for operation which began at around 9 a.m. and continued for over eight hours.


Complainant seeks ‘fair’ investigation
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 18 — The case concerning non-registration of a criminal case against a PCS officer and her accomplices, who allegedly indulged in dacoity and rioting and caused hurt to a city resident, Mr B.B. Aggarwal, and his brother on April 28, 1999, resurfaced after about a year, with Mr Aggarwal raising the issue before the inspecting Judge, Mr Justice R.S. Mongia.

Mr Aggarwal stated in his complaint to the Judge that the local police had not conducted fair investigation in the said case despite direction from the court of the UT JMIC, Mr Jasbir Singh, that a fair investigation should be held and a report to that effect be submitted. He stated that to that effect the police had conducted contempt of court.

Mr Aggarwal, managing director, Sansar Urban Housing and Development, had in his June 2, 1999, complaint to the court of Mr Jasbir Singh, stated that Punjab Deputy Director (Excise and Taxation), Ms Kiran Rosy, had taken a loan from his firm in her own, her father Gurnam Singh’s and her sister-in-law’s name for purchase of some property. Later, in discharge of this liability, Mr Gurnam Singh issued a cheque for Rs 11.5 lakh in the name of the complainant’s firm and also asked him to hand over photocopies of the documents concerned.

The complainant alleged that on April 28 last year, seven of the accused (two of whom were armed) came to the complainant’s office and allegedly threatened him and his brother saying, that they would be liquidated in case the original documents were not handed over to them. Later, it was alleged, they forcibly took away the documents.

Today Mr Aggarwal stated that the court had asked the police to submit the report by June 18 last year, but he alleged that the police had not submitted the actual evidence in the court and had not recorded any DDR/FIR in this case till date. He stated that although the police recorded all the statements concerned, the list of documents were not handed over in the court.

He also mentioned that a list of these documents were subsequently submitted by him to the SHO, Sector 31, and a copy was submitted in the court.


Plea to have 20-inch kerbs on bridges
By Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May18 — Railings on road bridges are often damaged by speeding vehicles and require regular repair. In fact, in any accident over a road bridge, the railings cannot withstand the impact of even a two-wheeler what to talk of a heavy vehicle. The result is heavy casualties.

Is their construction faulty? Or is the design of the railings or the bridge defective?

A former Vice-President of the Indian Road Congress (IRC), Mr K.B. Lal Singal, who has been the Engineer-in-Chief of the Haryana Public Works Department, has an answer to the problem.

Mr Singal says the distance between the centre of the tyre and the mudguard of a heavy vehicle is 16 inches. The width of a road kerb on which a bridge railing is constructed is 9 inches. This, he says, is as per the standard design of the Ministry of Surface Transport, which looks after the national highways in the country. The present width of the road kerbs on the bridges is also in accordance with the provisions laid down in code of the IRC.

He says it is the tendency of the drivers to drive their vehicle close to the kerb with the result that it often strikes the railing and damages it.

Mr Singal has suggested to the IRC that it should make it mandatory for all new road bridges to have kerbs of minimum 20 inch width. This will not only prevent frequent damage to the bridge railings but will also act as a safety measure. The kerb can act like a speed-breaker and prevent a vehicle from going overboard.

He says that as an experiment the width of the road kerb was increased from 9 inches to 20 inches on a bridge across the Tangri river on the Ambala-Hisar road in 1980. Since then, he says, not even once the railing has broken.

Similarly, on those bridges where footpaths have been provided along the railings like the Markanda bridge on the G.T. Road no railing has ever been broken.

Mr Singal says he will raise the issue in the context of the recent bus tragedy over a road bridge near Ropar, at a meeting of the IRC to be held in the last week of this month.


Frame policy on encroachments’
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, May 18 — A president of Samadhan, a group for social justice, Mr RP Malhotra, in a press note issued here today, appealed to the Chief Administrator, Mr NC Wadhwa, to frame a policy on encroachments, keeping in view the welfare of residents.

He said that a fixed width of road berm should be decided and the vacant land beyond this should be allowed to be developed by the occupants while the left over space should be made into a footpath. With regard to corner plots, he stated that the adjoining land should be allotted to respective house owners, subject to guidelines on height and design of fencing.

He added that area within the sector should be earmarked for utility services for barber, cobbler and dhobi but it should be ensured that their dwelling units do not come up at these spots and encroachments by vendors and clusters of hutments should be dealt with strongly.


Discrepancy in PAN card
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 18 — The office of the Commissioner of Income Tax, Patiala, notorious for making wrong entries in the permanent account number(PAN) cards, is at it again.

This time it is the turn of Ms Gurjit Kaur. Ms Gurjit Kaur, who had been waiting for the PAN card for over one year, was in for a shock when she got her card (AEJPK8297A) signed by Mr Narinder Kumar Sharma. All other entries in the card are correct.

Mr Sharma, too, has been waiting for his PAN card for over one year.

Interestingly, the reverse side of the card mentions that “in case this card is lost/found, kindly inform/return to the issuing authority:Commissioner of Income Tax, Aayaker Bhavan, Patiala-147001”. But who is to be contacted in case of any discrepancy in the card is not mentioned.


Villagers to hold dharna
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, May 18 — The Anandgarh Hatao Sanjhi Sangharsh Committee, formed by the residents of 29 villages of Kharar Sub Division where the Punjab Government plans to set up new city, has decided to sit in dharna outside the complex in Sector 39, Chandigarh, where the ministers of Punjab Government reside, on May 24.

According to a press note issued here today by Dr G.S. Jammu, a spokesman of the committee, this decision was taken at the meeting of the committee held under the presidentship of Mr Karnail Singh. This dharna is being staged against the alleged behaviour of Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Housing and Urban Development Minister, who had refused to meet a delegation of the committee despite repeated requests.

According to the press note, Mr Jasbir Singh Dhaliwal, General Secretary, and Dr G.S. Jammu made nine telephone calls to the minister in the last two days but the minister did not give time to meet the delegation. The minister was forcing the villagers to follow the path of agitation and the villagers would not allow this city to be set up by uprooting thousands of villagers, he added.


Man clicks relative nude; sent to police custody
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 18 — A Fatehgarh resident facing the charge of trying to outrage the modesty of his relative by clicking her nude pictures was today produced in the court of the UT Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr H.S. Madaan, who remanded him to police custody for a period of five days.

The girl, who is a Sector 28 resident, had in her April 17 complaint to the police, stated that on April 3, his relative Ved Prakash (accused) visited her house along with a friend, Gurjeet Singh, when she was all alone.

She alleged that Ved Prakash, alias Kaka, started behaving in an indecent manner with her and after a while tore off all her clothes and clicked her nude pictures. She further alleged that they took away her gold chain.

Producing the accused in court today, the police demanded remand on the ground that the accused had kept the photographs and the snatched gold chain in a bag with his friend in Shampur village, (Batala). The police submitted that the person concerned had to be arrested and the recoveries effected.

Giving a five-day police remand, the court has directed the accused to be produced again on May 20.


Moped model launched
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 18 — The moped industry has been rather stagnant in the past 10 years. Against an annual production of nearly 50,000 mopeds in 1995-96, the production has generally been around the half-lakh mark in the past five years. Despite this TVS has been growing gradually to become the second largest complete two-wheeler manufacturer in India after Bajaj,” says Mr M.V. Sridhar, General Manager of TVS-Suzuki Limited.

Talking to newsmen here today before the official launch of TVS Sport, Mr Sridhar said urban moped markets have not been growing. To attract urban buyers, TVS-Suzuki has developed a new vehicle, priced at about Rs 18,000.

Talking about the uniform floor sales tax on mopeds, Mr Sridhar said moped manufacturers had taken up the issue with the government for classifying various types of two-wheelers, but so far, there had been no success.

“The moped industry,” he said, “has shown very good results in South where the market share of TVS-Suzuki was almost 70 per cent.”

Four top models of the region were here to showcase the new vehicle in its three original colours at Hotel Mountview.


PCL union threatens to intensify stir
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGARMay 18 — The PCL Workers Union yesterday threatened to intensify their agitation if the six dismissed members of the union were not taken back on duty by Friday by the management of company. Mr Som Dutt, General Secretary of the Union, alleged that the local official of the labour department had come to mediate but the management refused to hold talks. Meanwhile, the management of the company got prohibitory orders from a court restraining the workers from coming within a radius of 50m of the factory premises to agitate. 

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