Monday, May 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Squall leaves behind trail of destruction
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 28 — With hundreds of trees and electric and telephone poles either uprooted or twisted and power transmission and telephone lines snapped, the city and its residents continued to groan under the havoc wreaked by a powerful squall, second in a month, that lashed the region late last evening.

Hundreds of workers of both the Electricity Operations Circle and Horticulture Wing of the Engineering Department of both the Chandigarh Engineering Department and Chandigarh Municipal Corporation have been out in the streets since early this morning to set the things in order.

More than 100 fully grown up trees were reportedly uprooted in various parts of the city, damaging in the process power transmission lines and electricity poles and leading to total disruption in power supply. In many areas, consumers continued to do without power supply since late last night. The water supply, too, was affected because of disruption in power supply in various pockets of the city.

On Dakshin Marg, a large number of trees were uprooted. One of the reasons for heavier loss of green cover on this busy road has been that roots of some of the trees lay exposed because of ongoing work of the construction of slow carriageway along Sector 33. A huge uprooted tree blocked the entrance to the office of the Accountant-General's office. A few other grown-up eucalyptus trees, uprooted by the squall, lay on incomplete brick-mortar structures adjoining a temple on Dakshin Marg.

The situation was no better on Madhya Marg where the damage to trees was substantial. The huge branches of trees, blown off by squall, got entangled in power transmission lines, leading to tripping and disruption of power supply. In many areas, the workers of the Electricity Operations were busy removing branches of trees from transmission lines.

At several places, roadside workers, daily wage earners and labourers were busy collecting fuel wood. The entire city road network was strewn with broken trees, branches, snapped power transmission lines and twisted and bent telephone and electric poles.


‘Kidnapped’ persons return
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, May 28 — A member of the Zila Parishad, Mr Prem Singh, allegedly detained by the local police to prevent him from casting his vote for the post of chairman and vice-chairman, claims he was let off on the night of May 25, the day the elections to the body were stayed by the high court.

However, police personnel deny the allegations and contend that this was a move to pressurise them into dropping cases registered against relatives of members of the group supporting one of the candidates and claim they were on duty in the township and in Chandigarh on those particular dates.

In a written statement, Mr Prem Singh, along with Mr Jit Ram, another detainee who was forced to accompany the police party, alleged that they were picked up by the police on the night of May 23 and 24 at 2 a.m. on the pretext of a meeting with the IG (CID). “In spite of resistance, we were assured that the whole thing would not take more than an hour and we would be at our residence by 3 a.m.,” Mr Prem Singh recalls.

On giving in to the demand despite protests, the duo were ushered into a waiting Tata Safari vehicle with a police Gypsy in toe. However, instead of heading for Chandigarh, the safari came onto the Kalka-Shimla road and parted ways with the Gypsy. After having tea near Solan, the duo was brought to Haryana Niwas in Chandigarh on May 24 from where they switched vehicles and proceeded to Dabwali in a Tata Sumo vehicle.

Once in Dabwali, the DSP accompanying the two contacted the local DSP who arrived on the scene with another police party. Later, they were served food and spent the night on a dhaba on the Sirsa road. Next morning on May 25, Mr Prem Singh and Mr Jit Singh, were taken to a building in the vicinity where they had breakfast and lunch. At 3pm, the same day, they started their return journey and they arrived in Chandigarh at 10 p.m.

“We were taken to a residence in Sector 7 with security. On enquiry, we were informed that the house belonged to IG (CID). Here the DSP went inside while two of us with the police party stayed outside. An hour later, we headed for Panchkula and in Sector 5 “we were made to sign under threat and duress” a document typed in English in front of the Deputy District Attorney (DDA). An hour later we were dropped off at our respective villages, Jit Ram at Hangola, and myself at Mauli,” Mr Prem Singh informed.

“I was under a lot of pressure to switch sides and cast my vote in favour of the INLD-supported candidate. When I resisted, this was the only way they had to make her win. However, during our stay with the police party, we were never ill-treated and food was served on time. We were allowed to call our homes and inform them that we were well. Only that and nothing else,” he added.

Mr Prem Singh further claims that they had no idea that the election to the post of chairman had already been held. “The announcement of election was made on the night of May 24 and the election was held on the 25th morning while we were in confinement. This only goes to prove that we had been picked up only to ensure that I did not cast my vote,” he added.

When contacted, the DDA said that he had no knowledge of any statement having been signed by Mr Prem Singh and Mr Jit Singh. "In fact, it is a kind of personal vendetta against me since I was asked to give an opinion in a false affidavit submitted by members of this group to HUDA. Since they landed in trouble on account of the case in which an FIR has been registered in the Sector 5 police station, they are pressurising us into dropping the cases and exploiting the situation to the best of their ability,” he added.

The police claim that a couple of other cases are also pending against them and they are employing “pressure tactics” “to escape punishment.” We were on duty in Chandigarh and in the township on the days those days. We have no knowledge of what went on during the two days and how it all happened,” the DSP contended. 


Sukhna Lake’s desilting measures

SOME time earlier a high-powered environmental delegation from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) visited Chandigarh and spent considerable time studying the silting problem experienced at the Sukhna Lake. The delegation also saw the measures adopted so far for desilting of the lake, both manual (sharamdan) and mechanical (by earth moving machinery). The leader of the delegation, while talking to the ‘print media’ observed that the silting of lakes is a mere symptom of the problem of soil erosion taking place upstream in the catchment area of the lake. Unless the problem is “checked” where it is occurring, mere desilting operations is going to prove ‘fruitless’.

Dr Doug Hickman, the leader of the visiting party, asked the UT Administration to bring out a comprehensive and sustainable project proposals, which will be considered by CIDA and said that ample funds are available for the purpose ($ 70 million).

Now the UT Administration is going to undertake the costly mechanical measure of removal of silt i.e. through wet dredging, which is going to cost about Rs 20 crore and will remove 6.54 million m3 of silt. It should be kept in mind that the efficiency of silt removal by dredging is not more than 20 per cent i.e. for removal 20 parts of silt, 80 parts of water is required. A dredging equipment had been obtained by the BBMB and is in use for removing of silt from Sundernagar balancing reservoir, a component of the Beas-Sutlej link. A trip to that place must be undertaken by the Administrator of the Chandigarh and he must see the things himself rather than seeing the material out before him in the official files. The efficiency figure has never crossed 18 per cent . The annual run-off from the Sukhna catchment area is around 3.573 million m3.

While preparing the project proposals, it should be ensured that these do not only cover desilting but should be multi-pronged and should cover efficient handling of volume water stored. At present due leaking seals the water stored above the crest level of the spillway is lost.

At its left end a structure has been built which can escape up to 15,000 cusecs of surplus waters through bays equipped with ‘radial gates’ (manually operated). Its crest level is at EI 1,148 t (above MSL), and the level to which water is stored is kept by the designers as EI, 1160ft. This 12 ft depth of storage is at present lost due to defective gate operation and leaking seals. The print media has brought this aspect to the notice of the UT Administration and asked for repairs of the rubber seals but nothing has been done so far.

It may mentioned that the Sukhna Lake was built around 1956 and had spread to 228.7 acres with a storage volume of 10.72 million m3. Through schemes undertaken through the years, its spread has been reduced and the storage lost due to silting.

Now the storage available is so low that water is spilled every year.

It may be mentioned that the previous practice of measuring the silt inflow and its getting deposited in the lake, which was in progress since inception of the lake and was carried out by a team of the Irrigation & Power Research Institute (IPRI), Amritsar, but now discontinued, should be restored, so that we know the amount of silt inflow accurately, and do not depend on the ‘guess figures’.

( By G.S. Dhillon)



Uttam Swara of music
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 28 — A long history of struggle...and then instant fame. That’s the story of this dark horse who has created ripples in music industry. And when he doled out the lovely compositions of Dil To Pagal Hai, the country wondered if ever music of current times could be so straight.

As his music flowed, the mystery behind this simple man began to get unravelled. We happened to catch a bit of it when Uttam Singh was treating himself to a cup of tea at a hotel here after a long journey from Mumbai.

Where are your roots, we began with a simple question. “I have always belonged to the hills. Dehradun was the place of my birth and ever since my childhood I have had this tendency of moving to the hills in search of solace.”

Solace is important to him, for it brings him closer to God, to also his own inner self. “It’s only when I am at peace that I produce the best. When I am sitting enveloped by the hills, listening to the flowing steams, music dawns upon me and a dhun is born,” he tells us, adding that Dil To Pagal Hai was not a day’s production. “It is the product of all the struggle I had to undergo,” he says.

And the history of his struggle dates back to 1963. “Those were the days when I used to play violin with music directors of the likes of Madan Mohan, Naushad and Roshan. All these stints were great learning experiences for me. But it took very long to actually get established and I really did not know success happens so fast, until it happened to me.”

Violin is still Uttam’s first love. And for many of us it would be news that the so-celestial violin tunes of film Sagar, and also of Maine Pyar Kiya, were played by Uttam Singh himself. He laughs, “To add to your information, even the violin sequences of Dil To Pagal Hai have been played by me.”

And how about inspiration? “It is all in the genes. My father was so devoted to music that we had to leave our family for its sake. Sitar was his forte. All the proficiency that I have today is due to him. I must tell you that we participated in kirtans for long and I assisted my father by playing the tabla. That was how the initial learning started. "The year 1963 was significant in Uttam’s life, for this was the year that marked the beginning of his quest in Bombay. “I did not know it would take so long. But to be true to you, I was never in a hurry. I worked under great music directors. Later in life I found myself associated with Pancham da who made me play violin in his compositions. I fell under the tutelage of many, but I always preserved my style. I wanted to offer something distinct.”

Originality, he meant. “Yes, I feel there’s nothing more important than being sincere to oneself. Although there is a lot of trend towards re-mixes and pick-up music, I think it is denigrating. In your pursuit of success you have to learn to be patient. You have to believe that good days will come.”

As they came into his life one day, not uninvited though. “I was standing in their welcome for long,” laughs Uttam, adding, “I had arranged the music of Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. That’s how I was offered this independent job in Dil To Pagal Hai. Later Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain and Dushman happened. I think I gave my best.”

Even the people think so, as was clear from the success of these albums. Uttam also has about three films in the pipeline and a private album which he is composing for daughter Preeti Uttam who sung the famous number Lakdi Ki Kathi. Uttam’s son Gurmeet is also a full-time musician now, with one album already to his credit. He too loves playing the violin.

Dreams, if any. “Dreams galore, to see my children settled in the art faster than I did. And one humble prayer to God — make me worthy of your gift of life.”


Typing error robs applicant of house
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, May 28 — Strange are the ways of functioning of the Estate Office of PUDA. An applicant is first declared successful in a draw of lots and is asked to furnish the required documents before the house is allotted. However, a few days later, the applicant is told that there is some error in the allotment.

This happened after a draw of lots for the LIG houses in Sector 66 of SAS Nagar which was held on February 24. An applicant, Ms Vandana, who had deposited Rs 22,700 as the earnest money, was announced successful against her application number 7637 (the applicant of receipt number 7637). The local Estate Office wrote a letter to her, asking her to furnish an affidavit, income certificate, proof of residence, and the date-of-birth certificate.

The error came to light when the Estate Office placed an advertisement in newspapers, asking the successful applicants to participate in a draw for the allotment of house numbers on May 29. When the applicant came to the Estate Office to furnish the details, she found that instead of her application (number 7637), the name of Karamjit Kaur(application number 7673) had been mentioned on the list. Enquires by the applicant revealed that the error was to due a mistake committed during the typing of the list of the successful applicants on the date of the draw.

The other applicant, Karamjit Kaur has been refunded the earnest money. Officials said they would issue fresh letters to the rightful applicants.


RRD to back ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, May 28 — The Rashtriya Raksha Dal in a press release said that the convener of the local unit of the dal was supporting the ex-servicemen who were fighting the forthcoming elections of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council. Lt-Gen B.S. Randhawa (retd) of the dal said the main issues in the elections would be hygiene, sanitation, erratic water and power supply and poor law and order situation. In an another statement Lt-Gen Randhawa said Major-Gen M.S. Kandal (retd) was elected convener of the Chandigarh unit of the dal. The dal is organising a seminar on the problems of Chandigarh.


Camp stresses on moral values
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 28 — The three-day teachers training camp organised by the Seva Bharati concluded at the Seva Dham in Sector 29 here today.

Mr Vishwanath, RSS pracharak, called upon the teachers of the over 20,000 "seva kendras" in the country to bring the people of the lower strata of society to the national mainstream as only this could guarantee unity and integrity of the country.

The President of the Punjab and Chandigarh units of the Seva Bharati, Mr M.R. Mittal, informed that the main purpose of the camp was to inculcate moral values and a spirit of social work among the teachers. As many as 283 teachers participated in the camp.

A spokesman of the Seva Bharati informed that the organisation is running 195 education centres, 91 self-reliance centres for the downtrodden and eight hospitals in Punjab. It is also active in the fields of eye donation, anti-dowry and anti-drug addiction campaigns and providing training to the lower strata of society in type-writing, sewing and computers.

Prominent persons present on the occasion were Mr Gurnam Singh, president of the Northern India Tubewell Association and Ms Kamla Sharma and Mr K.K. Addiwal, both former Mayors. The Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, was the chief guest.


Frequent party poll must: Jain
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 28 — The political parties should have elections within from time to time so that democratic norms are adhered to and the democratic temper built up, the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, said at Lajpat Rai Bhavan in Sector 15 here today.

Speaking an at open discussion on "Political parties in India — the inner democracy", organised by Janshakti, a social organisation, Mr Bansal wanted that the powers of the Election Commission should be strengthened for mandatory inner-party elections.

While calling for coordination among the leaders, the party and the masses to make political parties vibrant, Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP, pleaded that the president of a political party should not be given more than two terms.

Presiding over the discussion, Mr P.H. Vaishnav, former Chief Secretary of Punjab, while saying that the Indian democracy had matured over the years, opposed the leadership of hereditary succession. He also wanted that the defected leader should seek a fresh election.

Prof T.R. Sharma from the Department of Political Science, Panjab University (PU), said elections alone are not democracy though they are a central part of it. Democracy involves the freedom of expression, tolerance and readiness to accept differences of opinion and compromise and consensus. Political parties are ideological cohesive groups with factions, which allow divergent viewpoints to co-exist.

Coming down heavily on hierarchical functioning of democracy, Prof P.S. Verma, also from the Department of Political Science, said democracy which suppressed dissent was not true democracy. The growth of the Indian political parties following the western model had not taken deep roots in the Indian situations and psyche, he pointed out.

Mr Onkar Chand, Secretary of the Servants of the People Society, wanted the political parties to have more inner democracies so as to strengthen the democratic temper. He wanted democratic space in India to increase with a view to check the anti-democratic forces in the country.

Prof P.P. Arya, convener of Janshakti, lamented that in India there were personalities and not political parties leading to oligarchy of leadership and perpetuation of hereditary. He demanded statutory elections of political parties through secret ballot by an independent authority. The regular decision-making in the parties should be through consensus as this will go a long way in checking corruption and criminalisation, he added.

Others who participated in the discussion were Mr R.P. Puri, Major Sarwan Singh (retd), Mr P.C. Suri, Mr P.S. Chohan, Dr K. Gopal Iyer, Mr S.R. Sharda, Dr Pakhar Singh, Mr O.K. Sharma and Mr Jeewan Tiwari.


‘Hike audit in defence, P and T sectors’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 28 — To check corruption and irregularities in such strategic sectors as Defence and Post and Telegraph (P&T), the percentage of audit in these departments should be increased, the All-India Audit and Accounts Association demanded here today.

Office-bearers of the association, who are in the city to attend the four-day conference starting May 29, alleged here today that the percentage of audit in the strategic sectors was less than 2 per cent as against the "test audit" of 8.33 per cent in other departments. The drastic reduction in the audit has resulted in widespread corruption that has become the rule of day and it would encourage the executive to indulge in more corrupt practices, the leaders alleged.

Mr A.B. Sen, Secretary-General, came down heavily on the Central Government's action of not sending audit parties to the departments due to resource crunch. There was greater need for auditing in a poor country like India since in the absence of auditing, the corruption was bound to mount, he warned.

The president, Mr T. Narayan, while flaying the government's decision to downsize the Audit and Accounts Departments, said acute stagnation prevailed in every cadre. Thousands who are eligible for promotions are forced to rot, he said, adding that there was hardly any possibility for promotion for them in the near future.

Apart from this, the constitutional obligations of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) are being allowed to remain unfulfilled. His responsibilities as the auditor of the accounts of the union and states and in the field of Panchayati Raj audit are fulfilled only partially as the result of resource crunch imposed on the staff strength in the audit wing.

The Secretary-General of the Confederation of Central Government Employees, Mr S.K. Vyas, alleged that a set of new rules was framed by the government in 1993 with a covert intention of fragmenting the employees' organisations. The CAG took to implementing the rules in the worst form, even going beyond government rules, he complained.

Meanwhile, over 300 delegates representing over 50,000 employees up to the level of assistant accountants/assistant audit officers will take part in the 42nd conference of the association beginning at Ambedkar Bhavan tomorrow.


CTCC President B.B. Bahl felicitated
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 28 — The newly elected President of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), Mr B.B. Bahl, was today felicitated at the Panchayat Bhavan, Sector 18, here.

Prominent citizens of the city participated in the function, which was presided over by the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal.

Later, Mr Bahl and Mr Bansal presided over a meeting organised by the Chandigarh Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Welfare Federation at the Sector 24 Valmiki Bhavan. 


Saptshtabdi jayanti
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 28 — As part of the “saptshtabadi jayanti” of Jagat Guru Ramanandcharya Ji, a “shobha yatra” will be taken out here on May 31.

According to the Secretary of the Jagat Guru Ramanandacharya Samiti, Dr NP Sharma, the “shobha yatra” will commence from the Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector 15, and conclude at Sri Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Sector 15.

Religious discourse, Ramlila and havans will be the other highlights of five-day functions.Back


SPCA holds function
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 28 — The local chapter of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) organised a function in collaboration with the staff and students of Dev Samaj Junior Model School, Sector 21, to teach them animal-care, here yesterday.

Mr Jasbir Ralhan, President of the society, and Ms Urmil Sharma, Principal of the school, spoke on the occasion.



City-Ambala road blocked
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 28 — Residents of Colony No. 4 blocked the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near Hallomajra for more than three hours on Sunday in protest against poor supply of water.

The inhabitants of the colony raised slogans against the local council for its failure to start unoperational tubewells.


Delhi resident killed in road mishap
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, May 28 — One person, resident of Delhi, died on the spot when his car in which he was travelling hit a road divider here last night.

According to police sources, V.K. Mehta (40) was on his way to Delhi when his car (CH-01-V-6902) rammed into a road divider near petrol station at about 1.30 a.m.

After the post-mortem examinations at Civil Hospital, Rajpura, the police has handed over the body to the family members of the deceased.

A case under Section 174 of the CrPC has been registered in this regard.Back


House burgled in Burail
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 28 — Mr Kulwant Singh, a resident of Kesho Ram Complex, Burail, complained that some one had stolen gold ornaments and two watches from his houses after breaking lock.

In another case, Mr Sant Singh of Sector 9, alleged that Hari Ram, a resident of Bera village in Patiala district, had stolen six shuttering plates from his showroom.

In yet another case, Ranjit Singh of Kiran Industries in Phase I of the Industrial Area, alleged that an amount of Rs 20,000 had been stolen from his scooter which was in Sector 32-A.

The police has registered cases in all three incidents.

Arrested: Vinod Kumar, a resident of Dadu Majra Colony, has been arrested for creating nuisance under the influence of liquor.

He was released on bail later.


Inaction alleged: In connection with the death of a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) woman, Daljinder Kaur at a Phase II nursing home here on May 22, the husband of the victim, Sukhbir Singh, has alleged that in spite of registration of a first information report ( FIR) against the doctor of the nursing home, the police had failed to take any action.

Confronting the police version that his wife had died three hours after being admitted to the nursing home, he said his wife had died soon after being admitted to the hospital. 


Modified bikes are on the road
By Ambika Kumar

CHANDIGARH, May 28 — Smart trendy colours, reflectors, hooters, fluorescent lights on the rims, raised crome handles, wider tyres and jazzy number plates. Modified bikes are on the road.

A rallyist and racer, Mr S.P.S Garcha, started modifying his bike in 1968 as there was no good looking bike then. "I have always modified my bike for a purpose, engine or body. By modifying the engine, not only the performance improves, but one also gets better control of the vehicle. Improving the body statistics is for the bike to look good, giving it a sportier look and adds to its comfort," explains Mr Garcha.

Out for the "Raid-de-Himalayas", Mohit Bajaj, a sub-Himalayan rallyist, believes in bike modification for rallies and not comfort. "The engine is bored to increase the brake horsepower. While the tyres are changed to give a wider groove and better grip, the rims are changed to increase the pick up and good villi's (jumps). Even the mud-guards used are of plastic or hi-fibre to make the bike lighter," asserts Mohit. "But the peacock green colour of my bike is quite different and it stands out," he adds.

Another rallyist, Rakesh Blokhra, owner of two bikes — cyprus blue and a combination of black and white — has modified them. "For a better pick-up and thrust, some additions in the cylinder kit are done. By replacing the silencer with a power exhaust, the torque increases. As for the body, I have got an aerodynamic body which cuts the air due to fairing. Even changing the shape of the indicators and tank is done," says Rakesh.

But the younger guys do all the modifications to attract attention and give the cool effect. School-going Vikram Mann explains, "I have got a blaring musical horn which make heads turn. The reflectors and the fluorescent lights on the rims gives my bike the real classy look. That's not all. The holes in the silencer make it noisier so I love going on the geri route on it." He adds, "At times I carry a little stereo to make my drive exciting".

Every person has different reasons to do up the bike. Vir Nakai, a second year student, got it painted purple. "I am fond of bright colours and purple is really different, compared to the other boring old colours. Even the comfortable seats and chromed leg guards are needed, along with disc brakes for a more effective braking system. Rear view mirrors on both sides look cool. A good smart helmet is a must along with some other accessories," says Vir.

"Every bike must be well maintained. I have got the basic modifications done to my Suzuki Shogun but performance is what really counts. Though raising the shockers, getting broad tyres and raising the handle bars is not a bad idea", expresses Rohit Nandrajog, a graduate.

But why don't the various companies manufacture these kind of bikes? "There is not much demand for such bikes. Then, one makes the modifications according to one's need. Be it for rallying, racing, rodeos or just for the heck of it. By getting it painted or done up the way one likes makes it more different," explains a dealer here.Back

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