Tuesday, June 27, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Matter of life and death, so what?
An abject lesson in how not to deal with public
Tribune News Service


Time: 11.30 a.m.

Place: -Office for Registration of Births and Deaths.

Problem: No signboards directing visitors to the office which is functioning from a dilapidated room with inadequate seating arrangements for the staff and public, lack of infrastructure and shabby surroundings.

Background: The office was housed in one of the rooms of the stores previously used by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) for stocking cement gunny bags which were lying vacant. However, for expansion of the room the registration office was shifted to a hall used during the lunch hour by the employees previously.

Present situation: The hall allotted to the registration office is in deplorable condition without the basic requirements. With a staff of four persons, the room has only six chairs most of which are broken. Also, the staff has to make do with a single cooler in one corner and a jugful of water on a rack.

Interestingly, this office has been assigned the task of distributing pension but has no provision to seat the people. Being an office which involves public dealing and has around 100 visitors in a day, there is dearth of even the necessary amenities.

Moreover, this hall is being used as a store by the Estate Office which dumps hoardings, tarpaulin and rehris taken into possession by the enforcement wing of the department in the face of paucity of space. Numerous broken rehris and wooden hutments line the entrance to the office which is situated at the other end of the complex and there is nobody to give directions to new comers.

Sources inform that the expansion of the earlier room has not taken place even after an year.

Meanwhile, the staff has demanded a regular office for the purpose of smooth functioning in dealing with the public and survey of the present accommodation have been conducted without any results.

Moreover, they contend that records of various departments are dumped very carelessly and exposed to the vagaries of weather since the ceiling of asbestos sheets leaks. This had led to soiling of these records and made reading the contents very difficult.

Citizens speak: Rajo Devi, accompanying her husband awaiting his turn for pension, says, "The department can afford to spare a room in the front building of the office to avoid the unnecessary inconvenience to us. Besides, they can put up an indication to inform the public of the direction to their office instead of having them run from pillar to post only to get to the office.''

Official version: Officials contend say that this room has been allotted to the registration office as stop-gap arrangement in the face of paucity of space. A proper room will be allotted to the office in the new building under construction at the premises which will meet the requirements of this office in addition to others scattered at various places.



Board non-teaching staff withdraw strike
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR June 26 — The Punjab School Education Board (non-teaching) Employees Union withdrew its five-day-old strike here today.

Though no statement was given by the management of the board regarding any compromise formula, if any, reached between it and the union, the union leaders claimed that they had been assured of status quo.

The General Secretary of the union, Mr Jarnail Singh Brar, said the meaning of the status quo was that all the decision taken by the management in wake of the strike by the employees like transferring certain employees to district text book depots, deducting salaries of the employees on strike and other decision stood withdrawn. This, however, could not be withdrawn.

Sources in the board said a meeting between the Chairman and the union leaders yesterday is reported to have remove the deadlock between the management and the employees union.

Mr Brar stated that a meeting between them and the chairman of the board which was scheduled for this evening had been postponed till tomorrow. Unconfirmed reports said the union was forced to withdraw its strike in wake of stern action by the state government.

The union leaders said the management had agreed to sympathetically consider their demands.

Meanwhile the process of preparation of result of arts stream of Class XII and of Class Xth, which had virtually come to a standstill, was resumed today. Efforts were being made by the board authorities to release the result of class X by June 30.


Water conservation need of the hour: Jacob
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 26 — The Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), has stressed the need for water conservation saying that future urban metropolis will survive on water, with people thriving on jobs available and realising their inner soul through greening and landscaping.

Speaking at the Housing Ministers' conference in New Delhi today, General Jacob said that no city could survive without water but expressed his concern as no attention was being paid to water conservation.

"Housing Boards and housing societies must simultaneously think of water conservation and water harvesting at the planning stage. There should be detailed discussion on the public health fixtures. I have instructed the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB)to introduce cisterns where the quantity of water released can be reduced as per the requirement.

"In existing complexes, the board has started a small project to put in tiles wrapped in plastic into the water closets. This is being done through resident welfare agencies. By displacing one one litre of water per tank in big residential complexes of 1600 to 2000 dwelling units each, we can save up to 16,000 to 20,000 litres of water per day," the General said.

Talking about Chandigarh, General Jacob said the housing stock created to date in the public sector in the UT comprises 40,000 houses built by the CHB, 15,000 government quarters of the Administration and 20,5000 houses approximately by other government organisations. Over 30,000 allotments have been made for rehabilitation purposes by the Administration, almost half of which have been set up by the CHB. To this stock, we have added group housing cooperative societies, 55 of which have been allotted land for construction of 2681 dwelling units. Sixtyfour more societies, with over 6,000 members, are also in the pipeline for allotment. Chandigarh has exceeded its target of housing for the past two years.

"The biggest challenge facing the Union Territory at present is the rehabilitation of slum dwellers. Till 1998, over 23,000 slum dwellers had been rehabilitated and yet there are 32,500 households still living in 26 unauthorised slum clusters".

"The Administration is now planning to rehabilitate 16,000 of these households. This is an ambitious project towards which a beginning shall be made by taking up the construction of 2500 dwelling units in the first phase. Loans from HUDCO would be required for this project".

"I welcome offers and suggestions on this subject. We have started an experiment in Chandigarh. At the moment, almost all the jhuggi dwellers not only in Chandigarh, but in other metropolises, steal power with impunity. We are now planning to link the rehabilitation of slum dwellers with compulsory metered power supply. December, 1996, has been notified as the cut-off date for al future rehabilitation schemes for slum dwellers. Only those slum dwellers would become eligible for rehabilitation who have metered power supply".

"Surveys have indicated that on average 50 per cent of the plots allotted to slum dwellers have changed hands. There are also a large number of building violations.

"Rehabilitation of slum dwellers does not end with construction of houses. The densely packed resettlement areas actually pose a challenge and an opportunity for bringing about radical improvement in the quality of life of the urban poor.

"In Chandigarh night schools have been started for slum children in resettlement colonies. These are run by the NGOs and supervised by the Education Department. I now plan to start computer courses for girls through the Women Development Corporation in the resettlement colonies.


Rush for admission to senior secondary classes
Some institutions already through; more students expected
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 26 — While some private institutions are through with admission to senior secondary classes, others are observing a rush of students and looking forward to finish the formalities by the first week next month.

Private institutions have a significant role in the education scenario of the city. As admission to senior secondary classes in government schools are already on, the private institutions are doing their bit of the job.

In the local DAV College, a hot favourite with the students, there is a lot of activity of students seeking admission to senior secondary classes. Out of 560 seats in the non-medical stream, 530 seats have been filled. In medical stream, out of a total of 160 seats, 140 students have been given admission.

The last date for submission of application forms was June 16 and the counselling started from June 19. The last round of counselling in the college will be on July 3.

"We received 1,200 admission forms in the college for Class XI this year. The cut-off percentage is expected to be 70 per cent in case of non-medical and 60 per cent in medical, as against the cut-off percentage of 75 per cent and 60 per cent for non-medical and medical, respectively, last year," said Dr V.K. Garg, Dean Admissions of the college.

"Here in the college, we provide the students with a perfect environment for studies. No wonder, we attract students from all over North India and we never compromise on the merit," he claimed.

In SD Public School, Sector 32, the admissions are on for arts, non-medical, medical and commerce streams. The forms are available in the school. There is no last date fixed by the school authorities as there is an on-the-spot admission system in the school. There are 325 seats in commerce stream, 140 in sciences and 70 in arts. The cut-off percentage in the school is expected to be 58 per cent in commerce, 50 per cent in medical and 55 per cent in non-medical streams. There is no cut-off percentage as such for arts stream.

"This is a sort of eligibility condition. We give a chance to everybody in the school. The reappear cases are admitted in arts stream only as they are usually unable to clear their supplementary exams and they have to leave the class in between as per the guidelines of the CBSE. So to help the deserving cases, we do not take reappear cases in science and other streams," said Ms Manju Bhardwaj, the Principal of the school.

As the admission is on in government schools, most of the students are concentrating on getting admissions there. "The students will start pouring in after the admissions are over there. The merit is pretty low here in our school. A substantial number of students will rush to our school when they will be denied admission in the model schools in Sectors 35 and 16. Then they prefer this school," she claimed.

Shivalik Public School has started admissions to senior secondary classes. The forms are available since June 20 and the last date of submission is July 8. Students from Nepal, Jammu and Kashmir and many other states come to take admission in this school.

"These students come from other states and generally they are the pass-outs from a different board. Before considering them for admission, we ask for a letter about the character and conduct of the student from the Principal of the school last attended. Then we give them admission," said Mr D.S. Bedi, Principal of the school. Even reappear candidates are admitted in this school as the authorities believe in giving everybody a chance by giving provisional admission.

Students are also seeking admission to senior secondary classes in Sri Guru Gobind Singh College. According to unconfirmed sources in the school, the last date for admission is June 30. The school attracts students from other states like Himachal Pradesh as it offers a boarding facility.

Many schools in the city, including Bhawan Vidayalaya, have already finished the admission process. It gives admission to students on the basis of pre-board examinations. They are given provisional admission and are confirmed after the results are out.


Nursing Hostel inmates feel insecure
Spectre of more thefts haunts them
By Monica Sharma

CHANDIGARH June 26 — The June 12 night burglary at Block D of Nurses Hostel, in which 19 locks were broken into is the third major theft on the PGI premises in the recent past. However, the FIR mentions that the burglary occurred in two rooms only.

The burglars reportedly decamped with goods and cash worth thousands. One of the girls had come just few days after getting married. All her gold jewellery and cash was taken away. Most of the girls said the theft was the work of some known person since electronic devices and costly clothes were also not spared.

Even after two weeks, the girls and the staff are feeling insecure. Though the theft took place when almost all the girls had gone off for vacations, but the hostel inmates are exposed to danger till the burglars are not nabbed.

Most of the girls were unaware of the theft and came to know about it after coming back from vacations.

"It is really surprising that thieves entered the girls hostel at night where even a close relative can't enter without proper investigation ", alleged a girl, who did not want to be named."

The theft seemed to have occurred due to a security lapse. In the absence of adequate lighting near the hostel, the area is engulfed in darkness, making the thieves' job easy. Though the theft occurred about a fortnight back, no additional light and security arrangements have been provided till date. Most of the surrounding area of the hostel is also isolated.

It is not for the first time that a theft had occurred at the PGI hostel. If remedial steps were taken after earlier incidents, the recent incident could have been avoided, claimed another girl.

Security sources said the buildings of the PGI were constructed in such away that it was quite tough to check the antecedents of people.They also held the girls responsible to some extent.

Officials on the other hand claim that the theft happened due to the ignorance of girls .They let outsiders ,like TV and fridge mechanics, enter their rooms without adequate precautions. If anybody can roam about in the hostel premises so freely then they can get a vague idea of the rooms and can enter easily.

The teachers and the students should maintain some decorum in the hostel which would help us to keep a check on these type of incidents, said the police officials.


Of housewives and maid servants
By Avneet Sidhu

CHANDIGARH June 26 — The number of women staying at home is on the decrease as more and more of them are getting into jobs. Their household chores are neglected, as a result they have to leave the whole house at the mercy of the servants, who in the first place are hard to find and even if you are able to get hold of one,he would ask for a huge salary. Safety is another factor which makes people hesitant in keeping a full time servant.

Most of the middle-class families in the city depend upon the part-time maid servants who come like a whirlwind in the morning and finish all the house hold chores within minutes.The house wives are the ones who have to deal with them and in most cases it is seen that the two rarely get along well with each other.

But since the servants are hard to find and since these people need work all the time, the two tolerate each other's presence.

The work they do in every house includes washing clothes and utensils and cleaning which means cleaning just the floors and does not include dusting. For each kind of work they charge up to Rs 300 earning at least Rs 1000 from each family they work for. The women seem to be having a lot of problems even after paying them what they ask for.

They wont do all the work you expect them to do. "Even after paying so much, you cannot rely on them.Our maid takes a day off whenever she likes and then she is nowhere to be found for days together. If I try to keep someone else she wont let the new one work", says Neena Sharma, a house wife.

These maid servants come at seven in the morning and by 11 they finish off with at least five houses. It becomes irritating for the late-risers as they come so early even during the holidays."If you have to go somewhere they would never change their time.You will have to wait for them or go without getting your work done", says Gurjit Kaur.

The members of the family they visit last of all also complain. "Our maid servant is very fond of watching television. After finishing her work she sits and watches television for an hour or two which annoys the children. Even while she is working she keeps discussing one television serial or the other", says Harinder Kaur .

Asking for money every now and then,stealing money and other things, speaking rudely and not doing the work properly are the complaints that many people have about their maid servants and say that only one out of a hundred is trustworthy and honest.

The maid servants on the other hand have their own problems. Someone's husband beats her or is under financial crisis. Apart from working for other people they have their own house to look after. They also complain of the generosity their employers lack,who do not even spare a cup of tea even after getting extra work done from them.

No matter how many problems the people have with them, they do realise how difficult it is to do without the servants and inspite of all the trouble one bears them for the fear of doing the work all by oneself.


Is the security of the museum at stake?
By Harpreet Kaur

CHANDIGARH June 26 — As the UT Administration gives the local Government Museum and Art Gallery a facelift, with a view to attracting more tourists,there are areas which seem to have escaped attention of the authorities.

While the miniature section is being airconditioned for protection of paintings on paper,nothing has been done so far to provide visitors with some respite from the scorching heat.There are a few pedestal fans, but only for the museum attendants.

The museum was established way back in May, 1968. Since then visitors have been complaining and ho jayega is the only answer they get every time. Director V.N.Singh, when contacted, assured that once work on the AC is finished, cool air blowers will be introduced in the rest of the portion. He had earlier informed that the work in progress would be finished by the end of the current year. So if he is to be believed, public will have to bear with the absence of the cooling system this season too.

There is only one water cooler and only half of the visitors get to know of it.It has been placed behind the art gallery without any indication of its location.Two more coolers which were available for use till some months ago, are now lying obsolete behind the Museum of Evolution of Life.

It is strange that an art museum can be indifferent to beauty and cleanliness of its surroundings.But it is true in case of the government museum. One can walk a few steps away from the water cooler and find a huge pile of junk lying over there.

It is learnt from informed sources that the museum instead of the exhibition hall has often been used for exhibitions.

The museum has no cafeteria of its own.The one that visitors can avail of belongs to the city museum. There too, one cannot find much for refreshment.Tea, coffee, cold drinks and some biscuits — this is all one can get after paying an exorbitant price.

A herbal garden was set up here in 1997 by the Ministry of Environment and Forest under a national awareness campaign for environment. The garden is house to some 42 species of plants which appear in various miniature paintings, including some rare ones. This was disclosed by project co-ordinator, P.C.Sharma, who has been declared the “environmentalist of the northern region” by the Ministry.

But maintenance of the garden is not upto the mark.It remains doubtful if it has ever been visited by the public since there is no signboard to apprise them about it.

The ‘mobile museum’ has been lying static for last four years,according to reliable sources.The director has said that the bus would be renovated soon — “Do mahine mein ho jayega”

The story of apathy does not end here. With none of the sodium lights switched on at night, security of the museum is at stake. The lighting system is out of order for the last three years,inform the sources.

Even if these lights start working,it is risky to go to electric control board to put them on in the evening.There is a big pothole in front of it with a lot of grass around and snakes can often be seen creeping here. It is all the more difficult in the rainy season. Only a few tubelights in the porch of art gallery are in working condition.

It is hoped that self-appointed custodians of heritage will do some introspection.


Allotment of Sector 52 flats in August likely
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 26 — The allottees of the LIG/EWS flats in Sector 52 here are likely to get possession in August this year.

According to sources in the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), the draw of lots for allotting specific flat numbers to the allottees will be held next month. The board had constructed 360 LIG and 144 EWS houses in the sector, opposite the MIG housing complex in Sector 61 here.

The building work in the flats had almost been completed. However, road work and the streetlights and load distribution system are yet to be in place. Once infrastructural facilities were provide the board would hand over the physical possession to the allottees. In fact, the board had written to the UT Engineering Department last week to complete these works before the onset of the Monsoons.

The scheme had overwhelming response with nearly 36,000 applications being received from the general public.The bhoomi poojan at the site was performed by Mr Ram Jethmalani, the then Union Minister of Urban Affairs and Employment, on December 11,1998.


Training camp held
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 26 — The Department of Small Savings, National Savings Organisation, Haryana, organised a one-day training camp for Mahila Pradhan Kshetriya Bachat Yojna Agents here today.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Mohinder Kumar, DGM, NABARD, said women saving agents could play a major role for highlighting various schemes of the department. He said people have to be motivated to look beyond their family interests as their savings could contribute for nation building.

The Regional Director of the savings, Mr Hem Raj Kapoor, explained the importance of these camps. He said nearly 2599 mahila pradhan agents working in Haryana had collected Rs 135.63 crore for the state,

The agents also participate in an open house discussion and talked about their problems and suggestions before the organisers.


Mayor’s death condoled
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 26 — The All India Ex-Servicemen Action Committee has condoled the death of its founder member, Maj Trilok Singh Grewal, who passed away here at the age of 81.

A statement issued here said that Major Grewal was commissioned I to the Royal Indian Artillery in 1943. After independence, he was posted along with his unit in Jammu and Kashmir, where he saw action against Pakistani troops. While directing artillery fire against the enemy, a hail of machinegun fire ripped through his bladder and chipped his pelvic bones, but he continued to direct fire till he became unconscious.

Because of his injuries, he had to leave the forces and after qualifying as a lawyer, he practised successfully in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was keen to help ex-servicemen in their legal problems.


Club donates cloth, fruits
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 26 — Members of the State Bank of India ladies club donated a roll of rexine sheet for mattresses, clothes, curtains and bedsheets, besides fruits, among the inmates of Missionaries of Charity here today.

Addressing the young children, Ms Peeyush Sharma, President of the club, said the State Bank of India was committed to social service and was working relentlessly towards social uplift of the poor, the downtrodden, orphans, the destitute and tuberculosis and cancer patients. She said the club had sponsored the treatment of four cancer patients and was also engaged in the treatment of those suffering from tuberculosis. The club, she said, was also sponsoring one of the primary education centres being run by World Peace Mission Trust in all main labour-intensive areas.

Earlier during the year, the club had donated medicines to Missionaries of Charity and had also adopted 20 poor students of Government High School, Sector 24. The club, at present, is providing the children with school books, stationery, school bags and uniforms. The club has also instituted a scholarship for a brilliant girl of the school.


Mishap that shattered thousand dreams
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 26 — She could not become a bride in her life time. For her last journey , she was attired in the dress she had selected for her wedding. And the man who lit her pyre was none other than her fiancÚ.

For Mr Chandan Singh, a retired employee of Panjab University, all his dreams of a happy wedding of his two daughters with two real brothers of a village near Nangal on August 19 this year, were shattered this morning when news about fatal accident of Harinder Kaur was broken to him. His eldest daughter and the third child is married and settled in Dubai.

Harinder, second of his three daughters, had been running an STD booth in Sector 35 in Chandigarh. She would travel from Bhagomajra village, where her father has settled after retirement from Panjab University, every morning to open her booth where she would work until late in the evening. She had been working over time to collect money for her wedding.

When she left her home, she had so many plans in her mind, including opening of a new bank account, without realising that it was her last day today. Accompanied by a friend, Pooja, Harinder was on her way to a bank on her Kinetic scooter when their vehicle was hit from behind by a Punjab Roadways bus near the intersection of Sectors 43 and 44.

As ill luck would have it, Harinder lost control of the scooter after the collision and fell on her right before being run over by rear tyres of the bus. She died instantaneously. Her friend, Pooja, in advanced stage of pregnancy, fell on the other side of the road and started bleeding profusely.

City Samaritan A.S. Mann, known for helping people in distress, was on his way to his work in Sector 35 when he saw the tragic accident. Joined by Ms Harpreet Kaur, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, Punjab, both Harinder and Pooja were removed to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

Harinder was declared brought dead. Pooja lost her foetus and continues to struggle for life at the General Hospital.

Both Mr Mann and Ms Harpreet Kaur, not only organised proper attention for Pooja and her subsequent treatment, but got the post-mortem examination of Harinder conducted. After post-mortem examination, the body was taken to Bhagomajra. They remained with the injured immediately after accident at about 11.15 a.m. until cremation of Harinder was over at about 5 p.m.

Shell shocked by the gruesome accident, parents and younger sister of Harinder, after giving a bath to the dead body dressed her in the wedding dress the deceased had got stitched for herself some days ago. The atmosphere was surcharged with gloom as the last journey of Harinder began.

It was her fiancÚ who lit the pyre.

The bus driver was arrested and charged for causing death(s) by rash and negligent driving. The killer vehicle, too, was impounded. But Harinder was gone and so was the baby Pooja had been expecting.


Anwar Ali welfare movement chief
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 26 — The National Muslim Welfare Movement held its fourth national representatives’ conference here yesterday.

Dr Anwar Ali was elected chairman of the movement unanimously.

He said the movement should work to solve the problems faced by the community.

Later, a 21 member central committee of the movement was also elected and Mr Gauhar Ali Sirhind and Mr Mohammed Shakir were elected general secretaries of the organisation.


7 theft cases solved
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 26 — The police claims to have solved seven burglary cases following the arrest of a burglar.

According to police sources, Anil Kumar, alias Arun Kumar, alias Mahboob Ali, was presently residing in Daria village of the city and was wanted in connection with eight cases, which were pending trial in various courts. He is a resident of Keunzer in Orissa.

He is also a proclaimed offender in a case of theft registered at the Dera Bassi police station.

During interrogation, he admitted seven burglaries. His modus operandi was that he used to spot locked houses during morning and burgle it at night. The police has recovered two TVs, two gas cylinders, a gas stove, besides other goods from his possession.

More recoveries are expected, the sources added.

Liquor seized: The police has seized 445 pouches of liquor from two persons. Mukesh, a resident of Sector 26, was arrested and 270 pouches of whisky were seized, while Shyam Babu, a resident of Mauli Jagran, was arrested with 175 pouches of liquor. A case under Sections 61/1/14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

One killed: Harinder Kaur, a Ropar resident, was killed when she was hit by a Punjab roadways bus, PB 12 C 9012, near the Sector 43/44 roundabout. She was on a scooter, CHOI 4032 (T), along with her friend, Pooja Thakur, who is stated to be serious.

Jagjit Singh, driver of the bus, has been arrested and booked under Sections 279 and 304-A, of the IPC.

Case registered: The police has registered a case under Section 309, IPC, against Punjab Roadways driver Gurcharan Singh, who has been on an indefinite strike in front of the office of the Director, Transport, in support of demands of the employees. He was later bailed out.

Car stolen: Jitender Singh, a resident of Sector 18 reported that someone has stolen his car, PB 10 0060. A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.



Tribune employee’s wife dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 26 — Mrs Babita Sharma, wife of Mr Dinesh Sharma, a senior clerk in The Tribune, died in a road accident on the busy Chandigarh-Zirakpur road in Bhabhat village here this evening.

The Sharmas were going home to Dera Bassi from Chandigarh on their scooter when a truck hit the scooter from one side throwing them on the pavement. Mrs Sharma’s head reportedly banged against the concrete pavement and was seriously injured. She was rushed to the GMCH, Sector 32, where she was declared dead upon arrival. Mr Sharma escaped with minor injuries.

The truck driver fled the spot leaving behind the vehicle. The police has impounded the truck and a case has been registered.

The body will be handed over to the family after a post-mortem at the Civil Hospital, SAS Nagar, tomorrow morning.


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