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


Mini zoo packed off unceremoniously 
at ZAI directive
Animal lovers, children taken aback by the sudden move of the authorities
By Donald Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 13 —"This is your own zoo, please keep it neat and clean", reads the notice as The Tribune team enters the mini zoo near the Punjab Raj Bhavan here. Four boys can be seen running towards the cages. But they stop in their tracks. There are no monkeys in the enclosure. The next two cages also appear deserted. Where have the animals gone ?

All the cages are empty. A gunshot takes us to the far end of the mini zoo. The sambhars are dashing from one end of the enclosure to the other as one of the zoo employees armed with a tranquiliser gun takes aim. The tranquiliser dart lands on the the hind leg. The animal winces in pain, but bounds off to the other end of the cage.

The Director of the Chhat Bir Zoo, Dr Vinod Sharma, can be seen supervising the "operation cleanup" of the mini zoo. The sambhars are the last of the animals to be transported. About six of the sambhars will be released in the reserve forest at Kansal. But what happens to the mini zoo area ?

This mini zoo was the hub of activity in the seventies, that is before the Chhat Bir zoo came into existence. Opened in 1975 as a part of Raj Bhavan, this mini zoo had a bare of tigers. I remember in 1976, the first tiger cub was born in captivity at this mini zoo. The tiger cub had to be separated as the mother was not accepting the cub. The Tribune team was there to report the birth of that cub. The then Governor of Punjab, Mr Mahendra Mohan Chowdhury, a great animal lover, was eager to have a big zoo. And that is when the Chhat Bir Zoo came into existence. The animals of the mini zoo were shifted to the big zoo. But the mini zoo was retained. Visitors to Chandigarh included the mini zoo in the itinerary while going to the lake or the Rock Garden.

A couple of sambhars are loaded into a mini truck and off they go for their destination. Four more sambhars remain. As Karam Singh adjusts his camera, one of the sambhars dashes towards him. He moves out of his way. Soon a tranquiliser dart lands on his shoulder. The panting sambhar sits down and drools into a slumber. Three more sambhars remain. The operation to clean up the zoo continues.

The enclosure of the barking deer and the blue bull is empty. About 20 children can be seen looking at the the empty cages. Will they miss the animals. Yes, they say in unison. "We used to visit this place almost every week. We used to play with the monkeys and see their antics", they say. Chhat Bir is too far for these kids who say they come on bicycles and love to be around in the area. A father has brought his daughter to the zoo. "We will miss the environment", he says. Soon the kids can be seen playing on the slides and swings.

But this pack-up of the mini zoo had been hanging fire for quite some time. What with the Zoo Authority of India asking for more open spaces for caged animals as a prerequisite for running a zoo. But what happens to the local goers.

I talked to Mrs Gurbinder Kaur Chahal, Financial Commissioner, Forest and Wildlife, Punjab. She said the mini zoo had been closed in view of the directive of the Zoo Authority of India (ZAI). A special committee had been set up to decide about the future plan of the area vacated by the mini zoo.



Peahen saved from dogs, treated at zoo
From Bipin Bhardwaj

CHHAT BIR, June 13 —Injured by chasing stray dogs and later rescued by two residents of Mubarikpur village, a peahen was treated at the Chhat Bir zoo after being released by the authorities yesterday.

It was at about 6 a.m. that the national bird was seen by Mr Shiv Sharma and Mr Rahul Sharma as they were filling water from a community tap. Blood was dripping from his beak and legs as the bird ran for his life.

Acting immediately, the duo drove away the dogs before hushing the bird into a dharamsala nearby. They managed to catch hold of the bird as it entered one of the room. As the news spread, a number of resident thronged the area to have a look.

The Chhat Bir zoo authorities were contacted by villagers and the bird was later taken to the zoo on a scooter. It was then given medical treatment and was released in an enclosure for peacocks.

The zoo Director, Dr Vinod Sharma, when contacted, said the peahen was apparently a pet as it preferred the company of human beings. He said pet birds did not know to defend themselves and were unable to cover long distances.

The bird, according to sources, could have been one of the 40 peacocks kept in "human captivity" at Lohgarh village near Zirakpur before their mysterious disappearance.

Though the Wildlife Department authorities booked two residents of the village, the birds were not recovered.

Mr Johar Singh, a resident of Mubarikpur village, who had come to see the bird at Mubarikpur, claimed that he had noticed some peacocks and peahens along banks of the Sukhna rivulet. ‘‘I noticed the birds first time in this area after a long time. They seems to be domestic as the wild ones fly high if you try to get close’’, he said. 


Sodhi Ram in judicial custody
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, June 13 — Dr Sodhi Ram, Controller of Examination, Panjab University, was today sent to judicial custody in Model Jail, Burail, Chandigarh, by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Sant Parkash, till June 24 for his alleged involvement in the question paper leakage case. Dr Sodhi Ram and three others, Dhan Singh, Anurag Gupta and Sukhwinder Singh were arrested by the CBI last week for their alleged role in the leakage of question papers of BSc(III)-Honours, Department of Mathematics, Panjab University, in May, 1998.

“I won’t speak anything until I am granted bail,” was Dr Sodhi Ram’s reaction when asked about his alleged involvement in the case. The prosecution counsel had sought the judicial remand for Dr Sodhi Ram on the grounds that he remained silent on the issue though he had full knowledge of the leakage of the question paper. The prosecution counsel further argued that

the CBI had found incriminating evidence in the drawers of Dr Sodhi Ram in the presence of the independent witnesses. On hearing the arguments the judge sent the accused to judicial custody.

Meanwhile, Dr Sodhi Ram today moved an application seeking ‘B’ class facilities in the jail. It was stated in the application that Dr Sodhi Ram had a PhD degree from Leeds University, England, and held class-I job as Controller of Examinations so he should be given ‘B’ class facilities in the jail.

Meanwhile, the CBI interrogated about five senior officials in connection with the case yesterday. It is also alleged that the role of the Honours School, Department of Mathematics, in the conduct of examinations has also come under suspicion.



He doesn’t let sleeping dogs lie
Instead, he shoots them and earns fame
By Thakur Paramjit

Adept at creating captivating portraits of animals, Walter Chandoha is one of the best photographers in the world. His pictures of cats and dogs have been published on more than 300 magazine covers and 4000 advertisers, in addition to decorating packages of various companies manufacturing pet food. He is among the few, whose pictures have been used on Eastman Kodak Colorama, a mammoth 60 feet long and 18 feet wide display in New York. For this prestigious project, he used a special 8”x20” camera. Moreover, his pictures have found a prominent place in the poster, calendar and greetings card market. He is also the author of more than 20 books illustrated with his own photographs.

Success doesn’t came easy. This is true in the case of Chandoha too. He had to put in real hard work to achieve top slot in his chosen field.

At that time neither the cameras nor the films were so advanced. While today’s auto-focus, auto-exposure, auto-advance and auto-rewind cameras, with computerised ‘brains’ make the life of photographers far easier, the photographers of yesteryears had to face lot of difficulties on account of their equipment.

Films were slow and grainy and cameras were bulky and less sophisticated. However, the “man behind the camera” was more dedicated that determined to produce excellent results than today’s lot.

The real art lies in visualising, planning and successfully executing the pictures. Contrary to popular belief, very few outstanding pictures (leave aside the news pictures) are ‘found’. A majority of them are “made”. And this is especially true in the case of pet photography.

A thorough understanding of the subject is a pre-requisite in good animal photography. So initially Chandoha spent long hours observing the movements and behaviour of cats and dogs.

He even studies books to learn more about them. Apart from his knowledge, it was his patience and perseverance, which paid him rich dividends. In his own words, “patience is usually termed a virtue, but as an animal photographer you will find it an absolute necessity. Dealing with unpredictable subjects requires an unlimited store of patience. It is important to remember that pets don’t volunteer to model. They cannot be coerced to do it; they cannot be pleaded with, and promises of fame and riches fall on deaf ears.”

I feel that the greatest factor that contributed to his grand success was his deep-rooted love for cats and dogs. He was simply fascinated by them.


Leaking sewerage pipe not repaired
By A Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, June 13 — Nauseating stench fills nostrils as you walk through the semi flooded street next to the Punjab Raj Bhavan. Contrary to the general belief of VIP areas being “properly maintained”, for three days now, a leaking sewerage pipe has not been repaired.

A cesspool of stinking dirty water apart from creating unhygienic conditions in the area, has put the resident to a lot of inconvenience. Interestingly, the residence of the Advisor to the Chandigarh Administration is just a few yards away from the site.

Children can be seen frolicking about in water without knowing the harmful effects of the stagnant water. One can even see them splashing muddy and stinky water.

“The sewerage pipe broke down about three days ago and the water was made to divert into a nullah. This caused a lot of inconvenience — the smell was unbearable till today morning”, said a resident.


Maj-Gen Chamyal retires
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 13 — Maj-Gen P. C. Chamyal, Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor at the Army Medical Corps Centre and School, retired from the Army after a distinguished service of 36 years. He also served as Deputy Commandant, Western Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, in 1997.

An ENT specialist, Maj-Gen Chamyal was commissioned into the AMC in August 1964 and also underwent training in micro surgery of the ear in the United Kingdom. An alumnus of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1983, he was also Honorary Clinical Assistant (ENT) in Ninewells Hospital, Scotland, from March 1983 to February 1984 and Honorary Registrar in London Hospital from March 1984 to March 1985.

While on deputation with the Himachal Pradesh Government at Indira Gandhi Hospital in Shimla, he contributed in improving and streamlining the sanitary and security system of the hospital along with improving the general administration and patient care.


Nullah eroding Yoga Centre wall
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 13 — The Leisure Valley nullah running adjacent to the Yoga Centre in Sector 23 is gradually eroding into its wall.

Recently a part of the path leading to the swimming pool had caved in, cutting rather deeply into the narrow road. Next to this path, there is a sharp drop leading to the nullah. This path was constructed just a few years back, say regulars to the centre. Earlier, there used to be a kutcha path to the pool.

Although the existing wiremesh would have been a protection against anyone accidentally slipping into the nullah, the path has broken in such a way that now it can lead to an untoward accident, especially when it is dark and slippery.

The officials at the centre say that they have complained about this in written to the authorities concerned.”



Protest against land acquisition
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 13 — Families living in the abadi area outside lal dora of the Sri Anandpur Complex Welfare Society outside Kajheri village today protested against the recent land acquisition notice of the Chandigarh Administration.

In a press note, the society condemned the discriminatory attitude of the Administration regarding the regularisation of the houses constructed outside lal dora of the UT villages.

It wanted the Administration to provide all civic amenities like water, electricity and sewerage to the residents as they had been living in the abadi area for long. The Administration’s lop sided policy of rehabilitating the government land grabbers came in for severe criticism in the press note.


Tribune ex-Business Manager dead
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 13 — Mr Ranbir Singh, a former Business Manager with The Tribune, died here today following a heart attack. He was 61.

He is survived by his wife and seven daughters.

The funeral procession will start from his residence, H. No. 2124, Sector 44-C, at 12 noon tomorrow.


International Council of Astrology
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 13 — A council has been formed and registered with the Chandigarh Administration under the name, International Council of Astrology and Allied Sciences, with the following governing body members: President — Dr V.P. Upadhayaya; Vice-President — Mr S.K. Duggal; Chairmen — Mr G.S. Aggarwal (India), Mr Jagdish Dhingra (USA), Mr H.K. Lall (Canada), Ms Komilla Sutton (UK); Secretary — Mr Anil Grover; Organising Secretary (Australia), Mr Naresh Gulati; and Treasurer — Mr Chander M. Bhalla.


SP orders probe into police inaction
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, June 13 — The Superintendent of Police, Mrs Kala Ramachandran, has ordered an inquiry into the alleged inaction by the local police in a theft case which took place in Sector 8 on May 30.

In his complaint, Mr SC Trehan who lost Rs 2000 after four miscreants broke into his house, said that his neighbour informed the police of the incident and was assured by the police that somebody would be with them. However, nobody turned up and subsequently the information of the incident was given to the Sector 5 police station and a hawaldar came to make an inquiry.

Narrating the scene that night, he said that his family was sleeping on the terrace when his wife got up to go in. She noticed somebody in the doorway on the first floor. ``As soon as they saw her, they began pelting stones at her. Meanwhile, my daughter and I arrived on the scene and they aimed those stones at us. However, all of us escaped without a scratch though we raised an alarm. They escaped from the drawing room as soon as we raised the alarm,’’ he explained.

He informed that the streetlights were not working on that particular day and the thieves entered through the bedroom by removing the glass pane and the grill. He adds that a day prior to the incident, a theft had taken place in the house next door and a few electronic items had been stolen.

Describing the culprits, Mr Trehan said that they seemed to be around 30 years of age, were well-built and had oiled their bodies. The Panchkula Welfare Federation has also demanded that the SP should take a serious view of the negligence on part of the police and punish the culprits, besides framing a new policy to tackle the growing insecurity among residents.



Four kids rescued from kidnappers
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, June 13 — The police has rescued four minor children from two kidnappers who forced them to sing and dance at public places for money.

In a press note issued by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr H.S. Bhullar, the accused, Gursewak Das and Shiv Shankar, of Sapor district in Bihar, had lured four children, Parmod Kumar (8), Ravinder Kumar (7), Umesh Kumar (12) and Sham Sunder (13), of the same vicinity and brought them here for this trade.

Mr Bhullar said that the accused were arrested by a police party headed by Mr Sampuran Singh, Lohgarh chowki in charge, when they were performing a tamasha near Dhakauli village on the Kalka-Ambala highway yesterday.

On some secret informations about the kidnappers and their trade, the police party raided the spot where public had gathered to watch the tamasha.

A case under Sections 363-A of the Indian Penal Code has been registered. 


Man cheated of Rs 3,000
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 13 — The police has registered a case against an unknown person who reportedly cheated a Kurukshetra resident at the PGI.

According to police sources, Mr Mulkh Raj was waiting for his turn for a check up in front of room number 25 in the PGI. He was approached by an unknown person who asked for Rs 4, 000 as security for the test. Thinking him to be a staff member, he gave him Rs 3, 000 following which the person ran away. He later on reported the matter to the police. A case under Sections 419 and 420, IPC, has been registered.

Scooterist injured: Scooterist Charanjit Kaur, a resident of Sector 16, Panchkula, was hit and injured by a truck near the transport roundabout traffic lights. She was admitted to a hospital, while the truck driver was arrested. A case under Sections 279 and 337, IPC, has been registered.

One held: The police has arrested Kuldeep Rai, a resident of Mani Majra, while he was allegedly committing a theft at the residence of Mr Rajesh Kumar in Burail village. A case under Sections 457, 411 and 380, IPC, has been registered.


Theft in Sector 15: A theft of Rs 80,000 was reported from a house in Sector 15. The owner, Mr Vipin Gulati, in a report to the police said that he, along with the family members, had left for Vaishno Devi on June 10. He returned on Monday and found the lock of the front door broken. A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC was registered.


One held: The local police on Tuesday arrested Ajay Sharma, who was on Monday booked for allegedly using abusive language on telephone with the wife of an IPS officer living in Commando Complex in Phase 11 here.

The youth, a student of a local Engineering College in Industrial Area here, used to call at the residence of the police officers. A case under Sections 170 and 506 of the IPC has been registered.

Judicial remand: Two suspects, Surjit and Grewal, involved in the infamous case of assault and kidnapping of Ranjit Bajaj, a ward of a Punjab bureaucrat, who were on police remand for three days in connection with their involvement in a case of assault and theft which took place in Phase 5 during 1999, were on Tuesday sent back to judicial custody.

The two had been lodged in Patiala Jail. During police remand a gold ring and a sword allegedly used in the crime had been recovered from them.

Theft case: Mr Ranjit Singh, a resident of Panchkula, has complained that an electricity meter was stolen from his MIG flat in Sector 70 here. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered. 


Rag-pickers, scrap dealers removed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 13—In a major anti-encroachment drive the enforcement wings of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) and the Estate Office here today removed the scrap dealers and rag-pickers from the municipal land in the Industrial Area, Phase I.

Scrap material weighing several tonnes was seized and removed by the civic body staff in the drive, which was conducted under the supervision of the Municipal Secretary-cum-Assistant Commissioner-II. The area, which was cleared off the scrap-dealers, was fenced by staff.

As it was one of the major drives, all eight sub-inspectors besides Inspector Kashmira Singh were deployed. As many as 10 trucks, three bulldozers and 60 labourers were deployed for the drive, which continued for over eight hours.

Despite feeble attempts by the scrap-dealers, the drive ended peacefully. The staff also tried to remove a number of "jhuggis" which was resented by the residents and the area councillor, Mr Rajinder Kumar, who claimed that the "jhuggi" dwellers had been there for the past several years and should be rehabilitated as per the policy of the Chandigarh Administration.

Later, Mr Rajinder Kumar met the Commissioner, Mr MP Singh, and their removal was put off.

The Tehsildar (Enforcement), Mr DS Baloria, the Xen (Roads-II), Mr Mukesh Anand and the Xen (Horticulture), Mr Lakhwinder Singh, were also present in the drive which is likely to continue tomorrow.

Inquiry likely: The civic body is likely to order inquiries into the alleged irregularities in the purchase of tiles and in the award of contract for the installation of glow signs and illuminated sector-guide maps in the city, according to sources.

Market body's demands: A deputation of the Ekta Market Association, Burail, met the Commissioner in support of its demands. The delegation urged the Commissioner to make the streets and roads of the market and village pucca, provide a toilet in the market and ensure sanitation in the area.


Management panel approved
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, June 13 — An Institute Management Committee (IMC), for a close interaction between the local Industrial Training Institute and the local industry, was today formally approved by the Technical and Industrial Training Minister, Punjab, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, who visited the institute in Phase 5 here.

While addressing students and entrepreneurs at the institute, the minister said due to stiff competition from abroad there was an urgent need to improve the quality of product manufactured by the Indian industry. He said upgrading the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in Punjab was a step in this direction. He admitted that so far the quality of technical education in the state had not been satisfactory.

The Director of Technical Education, Mr NS Kalsi, stressed on the need for quality workforce to compete in the era of globalisation. The IMC was a step to bridge gap between the industry and the government-run institutes of technical education. He said the responsibility of the IMCs, comprising a Chairman, three industrialists and a senior faculty member of the ITI, was to look after admission process, provide training to students, faculty development, placement for the passed students, curriculum revamping, equipment maintenance, and capital expenditure. Partial autonomy to the members who run these committees would also be given.

The persons on the panel of the IMC are- Mr SS Sandhu, President of the Mohali Industries Association; Mr JS Bhatti, Additional Director of the CEDTI; Ms A Deepka, General Manager (HR) of the Punjab Tractors; Mr AS Sethi, a local industrialist; and a representative each from; CII, the District Employment Officer, Directorate of Technical Education, and a faculty member.


Consumer forum allows PSIEC appeal
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 13 — The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission here has allowed the appeal filed by the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) against the earlier order of the District Forum I, which had declined to order respondents World Trade Fair, Network Consultancy Service, to pay damages to the complainant PSIEC for causing unnecessary inconvenience.

The PSIEC mentioned in its appeal that the respondents, through a letter to the late Chief Minister Beant Singh, had invited them to participate as partner state in the World Trade International Exhibition and Conference on Foreign Collaborations, Hyderabad, from January 1 to 10, 1993. The PSIEC accepted the offer and booked five stalls in the fair. Against this booking, it also paid Rs 76,500 through a demand draft.

It was stated that later the venue of the said conference was shifted to New Delhi and it was now to be held from March 18 to 28. Since change of venue and dates was not considered suitable, the appellants informed the respondents that it was not possible for them to participate in the conference and on these grounds they asked for refund of the money paid. It was added that a cheque of the said amount was issued by the respondents but the same stood dishonoured. Later the respondents paid Rs 35,000 but the due amount remained to be paid.

The appellants added that they approached the District Foum and claimed that Rs 20,000 be paid to them against damages caused, apart from the basic refund of Rs 41,500. This Forum, however, declined the appeal on grounds that the said dispute was of the nature of landlord-tenant dispute.

The commission bench consisting of president Mr Justice J.B. Garg and members Dr P.K. Vasudeva and Mrs Devinderjit Dhatt, however, decided that the case fell well within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act and directed the respondents to make payment of the due amount . Another sum of Rs 4,160 was also ordered to be paid as expenses incurred by the appellants. The bench further ordered the respondents to payments along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum.

Punwire men go on fast
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 13 — A mass rally was organised by Punwire employees at the start of a 24-hour mass fast in front of Udyog Bhavan in Sector 17.

The call for rally was given by the apex body of the Punwire employees and executives, Punwire Employees Coordination Committee.

Punwire employees have been agitating since last year for the revival of the company and the release of the salaries to employees. Though the Punjab Government had sanctioned Rs 50 crore for the revival of the company, the same has not been released till date.Back


Panel formed for ‘wired up city’ project
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 13 — The Chandigarh Administration yesterday set up a technical committee to examine the ‘’expressions of interest’’ received by it from 40 companies for the ‘’wired up city’’ project. This is the first step of the project that will entail laying of optical fibre cable (OFC) throughout the city.

A meeting of the Advisory Council for IT application held yesterday also decided to allocate work relating to establishment of IT towers in Sector 47 to CITCO which would prepare a comprehensive plan for the project and also implement it so that leading IT companies would like to set up their units in these towers.

The technical committee committee comprises the Director, Information and Technology, the Additional Director Information and Technology, the Additional Director, Software Technology Park (STP), SAS Nagar, the Commissioner Municipal Corpora-tion, the Under Secretary, Finance, the Additional Director Regional Computer Centre, the Officer of Special Duty and representatives of the Telecom Department.

The Committee will examine the bids submitted by some of the top Indian companies in the IT business.


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