Thursday, June29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MCC gets tough with violators
300 notices have already been issued
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 28 — There is bad news for the defaulters and violators of various conditions of the allotment of commercial and residential property on the municipal land as the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) has decided to get tough with them. In fact, the civic body has already shot off over 300 notices to such violators for variety of offences,

The action of the corporation follows the transfer of the powers of the Estate Officer to the Assistant Commissioner-I, Mr Ashok Vashisht, for the property under the MCC by the Chandigarh Administration. Under the new powers, which have been granted as per the Capital of Punjab Development and Regulation Act, 1952, the AC-I will have all the powers of the Estate Officer, including resumption of the property, according to sources.

The need for the transfer of powers had arisen as the Administration had transferred the prime commercial property to the corporation in several parts of the city and the MCC had auctioned some of the commercial sites. In the absence of any penal powers, the MCC was not in a position to take any action against the defaulters and violators, with the result that the corporation was the loser in the process.

All the MCC could do earlier was to recommend action against the violators and defaulters to the Estate Office, which took a long time since the Estate Office, which dealt with property transactions all over the city, was already overburdened.

The new powers, besides lessening the burden of Estate Office, would give the civic body more teeth to deal sternly with the violators on the municipal land, the sources hoped. Besides, it would substantially add to the revenue of the fund-starved corporation as it would cut short the circle of repayment of various instalments of the auctioned commercial property by the corporation.

The civic body had issued notices to over 300 persons all over the city, including in the Rehabilitation Colony, Sector 52, and Rehabilitation Colony, Mauli Jagran, for violations and defaulting on payments. These two colonies had been transferred by the Administration to the corporation.

Apart from these two colonies, the violators and defaulters in Sector 9-C, Shivalik Enclave and Motor Market Complex in Mani Majra had been issued notices.The notices had been issued for offences like misuse, sale, and non-construction, besides the default on payment of instalments. In two cases, the resumption proceedings had been initiated in Mauli Jagran Colony.

The successful bidders of a five-star hotel site in Sector 34, who later went to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, had also reportedly been issued notice, the sources said.


Property buyers in for a shock
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 28 — The idea of the Chandigarh Administration to suddenly start charging 33 per cent of present market value as “unearned income” from people selling free hold plots has raised a storm among residents selling or buying such properties. On the other hand, the property market may suffer, say old-timers in the trade.

Presently “unearned income’’ is being levied on all plots that had been allotted in 1967 for defence personnel on concessional rates in Sectors 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36. The biggest sufferers are the buyers, who had brought properties years ago by registering their deals and paying stamp duty, but have applied for a change of name now. They are being asked to shell out 33 per cent of plot or house value at market rates. Amounts run into lakhs for even 10-marla plots, not to mention the 1-kanal or 2-kanal plots. Buyers say this is unfair and they should be asked to pay the value of the plot calculated on the date of registration of deed and not the present market value.

A classic example is of person who bought a house four years ago, paid stamp duty and got the deed registered but has sold it off now. He is being asked to pay close to Rs 2.50 lakh as unearned income.

The new scheme was introduced in line with a judgement of the High Court that allowed charging of “unearned income’’, said Mr S.P. Arora, Assistant Estate Officer (AEO), when contacted for his version.

The issue of “unearned income’’ from the defence quota plots is a tricky one, said a source. All these plots were allotted in 1967. In 1969 sale of a plot was totally banned. However, permission to sell was granted on the basis of discretion without charging any profit. In 1979, the Chandigarh Administration added the clause that if a sale took place within ten years of completion, then 33 per cent of the market value would be charged for change of name as ‘’unearned income’’ .

So all plot holders, who carried out the conveyance deed with the Estate Office before 1979, enjoyed the benefit of selling their plots without coming under the ambit of the ‘’unearned income’’ clause. After 1979 the unearned income was charged for a few years before a resident petitioned the court challenging the two sets of rules.

The plea was accepted by the court. The Chandigarh Administration moved the Supreme Court where it was decided that two sets of rules cannot prevail. Subsequently, the Administration started refunding money. A new development took place when a person was refused refund and he moved the High Court. In 1997 the High Court held that act of the Chandigarh Administration of charging unearned income was correct. Nothing was done about that order till about a few months ago.

The Chief Patron of the Property Consultants Association, Mr Amarjeet Singh Sethi says: ‘’This is injustice as for all these years hundreds of plots have been sold without any profit and this clause will be challenged, being discriminatory in nature as only a handful of allottees may not have got the name changed or not got their completion certificates.’’


Mixed reaction to genome discovery
By Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 28— The scientific importance of the work is unquestionable. The decade- long endeavour by 1,000 scientists to crack the human genetic code has been a milestone in genetic research, in the true sense of the word. The ethics and fallout of the costly research and development for pharmaceutical companies notwithstanding, the first draft of the human genome and its consequential fundamental applications has excited scientists.

As the experts put it, first and foremost, mapping of 97 per cent of the code will eventually help us understand the genetic control right from the stage of embryonic development. In simpler words, every aspect of physical form is genetically controlled. All the traits and characters are shaped by genes and partly by environment. Eventually the genes even give you the ability to react to a particular environment.

If the basic fundamentals of the total number of genes, their organisation and functions are comprehended, the basis of how ,each one of us is put together, becomes simple.

As one scientist, on promise of anonymity commented, "ethical considerations notwithstanding, the chance to play God is certainly very exciting."

Perhaps, it is the chance to play God, that is raising so many ethical questions. As Dr Anuradha Chakravarty, Asst Professor, Experimental Medicine and Biotechnology,P.G.I. puts it, " It does raise some ethical questions but there is hope that now you can try design a better drug for a disease. You can identify protein sequence of a particular gene. I think it has been a great breakthrough."

Dr Reena Das Astt. Prof., Department of Haematology,PGI, has her reservations." At the moment they are claiming that 97 per cent has been identified. How much of it will be practically useful to the humankind is the big question" .

Dr Das is of the view that first and foremost the entire world has to get together to sort out the ethical issues. " If there is a data base for me, I could know everything about myself, good, bad or intermediate, I think living with the bad part , for the entire life is not going to be very easy."

All the aspects of the human beings are genetically controlled, but not in the obvious way. There are genes which have prototypes. However, there are many genes which have a multiple control. " I think it is truly a wonderful feat," says Dr P. Guptasarma of the Institute of Microbial Technology.

The diseases could be single gene based or multigenic. However, it is multi- genic diseases which can be understood better if the basic fundamentals are known. An important spin off could be the essential knowledge about how much are we related to each other and other animals. "See the first genome is a motley of some kind. But as we go on sequencing, there will be better understanding about the genes which can change and mutate to give rise to newer proteins," says Dr. Guptasarma

Once the physical proximity to the factors governing the placement of genes on each strand of D.N.A. is worked out, it could help understand how evolution has put these genes together on a chromosome. Besides whether there is a modular arrangement ?why all those genes function together.

Experts says that we already know from our knowledge of genome of bacteria about the genes required for a free living organism to be alive. It is known which genes are actually used by the body and which are silent. The genes which are silent possibly serve as a buffer for adaptive evolution to give rise to new protein functions.

Possibly next in the line would be the DNA chips. DNA chips would be very small surfaces on which a very large number of pieces of DNA would be fixed. These pieces will work as probes for mutation. The scientists hope that some day, very soon, these chips could be used for learning an individual's DNA sequence. It can tell you the exact gene for which the disease has been identified. It can also tell you when and if the disease will or will not manifest. " It is an achievement but what good could it do to someone to know at 20 that he will die of a disease at 50," says Dr Das.

Others disagrees. " Not everyone needs to have the testing done. But if a family has a large incidence of a particular disease, it makes sense to identify whether you have a recessive or a dominant gene . Agreed that It can give anguish but will also give relief in some cases.

The effect of a mutation manifests itself in a subtle way. Once you know the sequence, using homologous recombination, some solution can be worked out.

However,to make a gene based and protein specific diagnosis of ailments of all kinds ,it will require gathering of information at all levels. Moreover, if gene specific drugs are to be made,the structure and precise mechanism of the function of the proteins encoded by all these genes have to be identified.

The scientists working in the field say that determination of function of a gene that confronts a very subtle prototype or an observable effect is by no means trivial. It is also not easy to determine the structure of the protein.

However, when the genome programme had first started, it was thought that it would take years to complete . But what was not realised was the fact that human ingenuity, grit and determination for developing new technology knows no limits .As far as the initial estimates of the years required to have a complete picture, experts feel another decade may be required.

After all this, the fact is that human life will not change because of application that comes from this knowledge, but profound philosophical implications of knowing the blueprint responsible for the manufacture of the machine known as the human body.



Does the city need an international airport ?

THE last few years have seen Chandigarh emerge as a gateway of the northern region. Over the years it has evolved as a leading centre for commercial, medical and education activities. The Administration has been continuously making efforts to project Chandigarh as a convention centre. The infrastructural requirements for the developments of Chandigarh as convention centre have been heading the priority list of the Administration. The opening of the regional headquarters of the CII and the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industries has given further boost to the development of the city as a conference centre. The opening of the international airport, apart from giving the necessary boost to the tourism in the region, will also help in reducing the load on Indra Gandhi International Airport at Delhi.

Information gathered from about 50 travel agents of the city clearly indicates that most of the international passengers are from this region. The Doaba region has a very high percentage of NRIs families who are frequent travellers and Chandigarh will be the most convenient location for them. As Chandigarh already has the necessary infrastructure in terms of the travels agents, the regional offices of major airlines, the Regional Passport Office, the Canadian Consulate is already operating from here and many other countries have shown a keen interest in opening their counsel offices in this city. Hence, any travellers from this region, in any case, has to visit Chandigarh for his travel formalities and the opening of an international airport will be an additional benefit for him.

With the opening of PCA Stadium at Mohali and the planned development of an international golf course and water sports facilities, the need for the international airport has become more acute to cater to the soprtsmen and tap the related tourism potential. The recent efforts of the Chandigarh Administration and the Punjab Government have been towards developing Chandigarh and its adjoining areas as an infotech centre. Land and funds have already been earmarked for this purpose and to be able to exploit the full potential of this area in this regard, an international airport is definitely a pre-requisite.

As per the available facts the existing airport itself can be updated to an international standard airport at a minimal cost. As nearly 10 lakhs passengers are already travelling from this region, the setting up of an international airport will also be an economically viable proposition as compared to some other international airports already operating in the country.



Silent in protest since the last 142 days
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 28 — History seems to follow him wherever he goes and almost everyone in the PGI recognises him as the man “who is crazy and dumb.” Somnath, the 58-year-old ward servant of the institute, does not talk and those who care to pay attention to him know why he is silent.

The cardboard clipping hanging by a colourful string around his neck says it all, including that he has been silent in protest for over 142 days now (he began his maun vrat on January 26 this year). The clipping bears two things — his grievance against the PGI authorities who, he alleges, have not paid him his arrears for the past about 10 years and the 1997 acknowledgement letter of his complaint by the office of the President of India.

Though the man is visibly perturbed and his financial condition is actually deplorable, he seems to gain little sympathy at his place of work. This was revealed this morning when Chandigarh Tribune set out for tracing him on duty. He was not to be seen in the gastroenteritis ward, where he was working until about four days back. Enquiries revealed that he had been transferred to the Nursing Hostel. Ironically, the watchman guarding the hostel denied any such thing, saying, “Us goonge ko kaun kaam pe rakhega?”

The search ended in futility and one had to follow Somnath right upto his house in Dadu-Majra village to know the series of events leading to his silence. Somnath communicated in strong gestures, which his wife kept interpreting. He wrote of how his wife Roshni Devi had been engaged in stitching clothes of others to sustain his family of three sons, one daughter-in-law and three children.

He took a pen and paper as we began loading him with queries. “I have been working at the PGI and there has hardly been an occasion when I absented myself from duty,” he wrote in Hindi. He added that he had been running from pillar to post to get his dues released by the PGI authorities. Taking out documents in support of his claim, he handed over a letter of complaint which he had written to the President of India, wherein he had mentioned that his salary had not been released since November, 1990.

Somnath further alleged that a certain official of the institute had asked him to pay some money in return of preparation of exact due drawn statements of his salary bills. He added that since he was poor, he could not pay, and hence continued to suffer. Only yesterday, Somnath addressed a mercy petition in this regard to the Director PGI, Dr S.K. Sharma. He also forwarded copies of the same to the President, the PMO and the Health Minister.

While the authorities maintain that there is no such problem, sources at the PGI say the claim of the ward servant is, by and large, correct. Many person who have worked earlier with Somnath informed that the then Health Minister Mr Rasheed Maqsood, had passed orders favouring Somnath, who was, however, never compensated in this regard. Somnath is himself losing faith, as he wrote, “Main thak gaya hun, aise hi kisi din mar jaonga par apne haq ke liye ladunga zaroor.”

Claims and anti-claims apart, a round of Somnath’s Dadu-Majra home spoke of his poverty in sufficient proportions. Whether or not the man has been wronged is immaterial. What matters is the man’s woe which, he says, will go with him.


Where’s the site for subdivisional offices ?
From Kulwinder Sangha

SAS NAGAR June 28 — Even though five years have passed since the creation of the subdivision here by the then Congress government, various related offices are yet to be housed in a proper building, and harassed residents still have to rush to Kharar for important legal matters.

Residents say the Dera Bassi subdivision was set up about one-and-a-half-years ago and a building has already come up for the main offices. They feel the local subdivision is being “deliberately ignored” by the Akali government because it was carved out under Congress rule.

The officers of the SDM, the tehsildar, the naib tehsildar and the property registration office are functioning in accommodation rented in the PUDA building in Phase I. The SDM’s office is now paying Rs 9,603 per month for accommodation first rented by it in that building. It is also giving more than Rs 8,000 per month for the portion rented recently for the computerised property registration office. Apart from this, rent is yet to be assessed for an area of 940 sq ft in the same building where stamp vendors, deed writers and typists are sitting. All this is leading to a wastage of precious public funds which could have been put to better use.

Except for the property registration office on the ground floor, the other offices are on the first floor. This causes inconvenience to elderly and handicapped persons visiting these offices.

It is learnt that a site has not even been earmarked in the town for the construction of a building for the subdivisional offices.

Residents are unhappy that they have to go all the way to Kharar for civil and criminal litigation. Non-judicial stamp papers have also to obtain from that town. To add to the residents’ woes, there is no full-fledged treasury here.

It is reported that a letter was received from the competent authority regarding the shifting of courts here, but the SDM had explained the difficulties in his reply, pointing out that even his own office was still in rented premises.

Advocates occupying a small portion of the tehsil area on the first floor of the PUDA building have also voiced their problems. They say that they were initially sitting packed like sardines in that portion, and it was only a visit by a team of the Punjab Human Rights Commission that the stamp vendors, deed writers and typists were shifted to the new portion of the building.

Mr Ujagar Singh Sandhu, Chairman of the Mohali Subdivision Bar Association, says that the previous SDM wanted the advocates to vacate the building without making any alternative arrangements. They had to file a case in court to remain where they were. The way leading to the portion occupied by the advocates was blocked on two occasions by officials and had to be got reopened with the help of the local MLA and prominent residents.

He says the advocates are working in miserable conditions, with matters becoming worse in the summer heat.

The president of the Bar Association, Mr H.S. Sodhi, says when the power goes off, advocates and clients have a still tougher time as supply from the generator is not connected to the area occupied by the advocates.

The SDM, Mr Jai Pal Singh, says his office had written to the Chief Administrator of PUDA in March last year for the allotment of five acres of land for construction of offices of the SDM and the tehsildar, judicial courts and the treasury. It was also proposed to set up a residential complex for officials at the site. So far, there has been no response from PUDA.

He complained of lack of space at the present location of offices and said the public was facing problems.

He said rural people faced difficulty as the tehsildar was located at one end of the town in Phase I. He favoured immediate land allotment at a centrally located place and construction by a private agency so that the work could be completed early.


Traders reject UT proposal on markets
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 28 — Traders associations from almost 30 markets of the city have rejected the proposal of the Chandigarh Administration to open one of the main markets on Sunday.

This was done at a meeting between traders and the Assistant Labour Commissioner here today. The Administration had invited the office-bearers of the 30 sector markets and the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, besides various trader associations of Sector 17.

While rejecting the proposal of Sunday shopping, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal said Sunday was a day for social and family commitments. The salaried population had enough time on weekends and sufficient number of holidays for shopping, while the overall population of the city was much less when compared to Delhi, from where the pattern was being copied. Panchkula was also open on Sunday. The traders alleged that the government was allowing some shops to remain open even on Sundays, while demanding that the booths in rehri markets should also be brought under the Shop Act.


The price they paid for lack of traffic sense
By Amardeep Kaur and Ruchi Bhandari

CHANDIGARH June 28 — As many as 26 two-wheeler riders have lost their lives in the past six months on city roads. It is surely a huge price to be paid for a lack of awareness with regard to traffic rules and regulations. And this does not include the number of total deaths that have occurred on city roads.

But if the figures available with the city’s traffic police are an indicator, the grim fact is — the city has lost 26 persons, including six women, in fatal road accidents involving two- wheelers since January 1.

If this figure is to be taken as the base, an average of 50 two- wheeler riders will die in road accidents this year. A lack of awareness regarding traffic rules and regulations continues to claim lives. The Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic), Mr S.S. Randhawa, today expressed helplessness in containing the situation where people are not ready to take precautions and follow the basic safety rules. Divulging further statistics he said: “Six women who died were not wearing helmets as it is not compulsory for women. Wearing a helmet is the most minor of precautions we can expect people to practice in defence of their own lives. But if they do not cooperate here also, I am afraid to say that our hands are also tied, “ Mr Randhawa said.

Another major problem is that traffic awareness is also not being taught at the school and college level. It is often presumed that children and people will know how to drive around on the city roads. But in reality, this does not happen to be the truth. According to Anil Mehta, a manufacturer and distributor of road safety equipments:” It is a well established fact that most of the accidents are caused by human failure. A large number of drivers in India lack knowledge and also the techniques of defensive driving which has resulted in India having the highest accident rate. ‘’ To create awareness among people, various softwares on CD-ROMs and books on road safety are available. I think this will certainly help, opined Mr Mehta.

Another problem is that the city residents, especially the women, are not inclined towards wearing helmets. They relate the headgear to a right to privacy and thus protest any move which drives them towards wearing one.


Overcharging yes, responsibility no
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA June 28 — Visitors at the Yadvindra Gardens in Pinjore are irked by the irresponsibility shown by the contractor of the recently auctioned parking space in ensuring security of their vehicles. Also, it is learnt that he is charging more than the amount officially sanctioned for the purpose.

The visitors are perturbed over the fact that in spite of the parking fee of their vehicles outside the garden being high, the contractor easily washes his hands off his responsibility once the parking ticket is sold and the money is pocketed. One such visitor, Mr Manoj Aggarwal, says, “The parking ticket given out to me says I will be required to pay Rs 20 if I happen to lose this ticket. However, the third clause surprisingly adds that the parking is at the risk of the owner. In that case, where is the responsibility of the contractor if a vehicle is stolen.’’

Another visitor, Mr Umesh Sinha, contends, “Once I happened to speak to the contractor about this clause and he told me that his responsibility ended once a car was given space in the parking. He further added that the charges are levied for the space and not for ensuring the safety of the vehicle. Moreover, we are expected to pay almost double the amount if we lose the ticket, but who will come to our help if we lose our vehicle?’’

The Director of Haryana Tourism, Mr Rajat Gupta, says, “Our detailed contract after the auction of the parking site states that any damage or theft of vehicle from the official parking becomes their responsibility, irrespective of whatever their slip mentions. However, this need has never arisen and such an incident has never occurred.’’

Also, he contends that the charges approved by the department as parking fee are Rs 10 and that he will look into the extra charges. However, sources add that different rates of parking are approved for scooters, cars and buses during the auction of the parking site and the contractor charging Rs 10 for a car and Rs 15 for a jeep is unjustified when these fall in the same category.


Office of Registrar of Births and Deaths in a mess
Tribune News Service


Time: 12 noon.

Place: Office for registration of births and deaths, Sector 17.

Problem: Shortage of space, congestion, inadequate arrangements for light and ventilation. Files stocked all over the place in the absence of place for keeping more almirahs and racks. The entire office functions from a small shop cum office room in Sector 17 and does not have proper seating arrangement for the staff and the general public. Acute shortage of staff leads to pendency of work causing inconvenience to the visitors to the office.

Background: The office has been housed in this room for more than 25 years now. Earlier, for some time it was in the adjacent room which now has the office of the Medical Officer of Health, Municipal Corporation. When the Municipal Corporation was created in 1995, it was brought under its jurisdiction but since February, 1999, it is again functioning under the supervision of the Director, Health Services, UT.

Present situation: The office of the Registrar of Births and Deaths is in sheer mess and state of neglect. The staff of 6-8 persons sits tightly packed amidst crowds without the facility of proper ventilation. The room roughly, 15 by 20 ft, has no windows and even the exhaust installed do not function. In the absence of even a single cooler, employees sweat it out daily. Tables are flooded with files in the absence of proper storage facility.

The hall is overcrowded with tables and chairs leaving hardly any space for the visitors to stand. The situation worsens in summer when there are frequent power cuts and the employees have to work in candle light amidst suffocation. Nearly 15-20 persons are always inside the room during office hours.

Being an office which involves public dealing and has around 500 visitors a day it even lacks basic amenities, including a place to sit and water to drink. Long queues of visitors can be seen in the verandah outside the office, both in the morning and afternoons when people come to deposit fee for getting the birth and death certificates made or for collecting the same. The public is also facing problems on account of long pendency of about a month or more as some of them have to come twice or thrice for getting the certificate.

The office is also plagued with shortage of staff. Even as the population of the city has grown from 2 lakh to 10 lakh, there has been no increase in the staff since 1983. Besides the Registrar, there are two assistants to guide the public, three field investigators and a statistical nosologist. The requirement is of filling 13-14 posts of stenos, clerks, computer operators, assistants and statistical nosologists. The office is presently without even a peon.

Sources reveal that due to shortage of staff , it is a problem to even store the files. “We have records since 1953 with us, while some are lying in a store in Sector 20, the others are put up all around the room”, said a senior official. There is every possibility of the same getting spoiled in case of a leakage from the roof top, he added. It is also not easy to keep the certificates in neat conditions beyond a few months, when people do not come to collect them in time.

The staff has since long been demanding that the office be shifted to a spacious premises to ensure smooth working. Though it should be located at a central place like Sector 17, but it should have enough space to have separate counters for inquiry, fee collection, distribution of birth and death certificates.

Citizens speak: Kamaljit Singh pointed out the inefficiency of the office by saying that “he applied for a birth certificate on June 10, 1998, but he is yet to get the same despite repeated visits by his family members.And now he has been asked to apply again for the same. Mr Rajinder Singh, a resident from Kajehri, expressed disappointment at the long delays in getting the certificates. Few others highlighted the problem they face in knowing what to do once they are in the office, particularly in filling the forms. Mrs Kuljit Kaur from Ropar complained of nausea waiting for her turn in the hot and humid weather. “It is a problem to even enter the office as it is always crowded”, said another person.

Official Version: Officials contend that the matter has been brought to the notice of the senior functionaries in the Administration, who have taken a serious view of it. For the last one year, the authorities are keen on shifting the office to a more suitable premises for the convenience of the general public, but the delay is on account of finding such a place. Earlier, they had thought of shifting it to the building, which had the Licencing and Registration Office in Sector 17 but that, too, has got shelved as there is a possibility of the same being shifted back there from the Estate office. There is a plan to computerise the office once we shift to the new premises and have additional hands to help us out. Officials also maintain that pendency has been reduced to just a month, with the help of some extra staff from the Malaria Wing of the Administration and the efforts of the regular staff who even work on Saturdays and Sundays to clear the back log. “We are further trying to reduce it, said an official. The staff is always willing and ready to help the public with their problems pertaining to corrections in the certificate.


In Sector 48-C live stepsons of City Beautiful
By Mukhtiar Singh

CHANDIGARH June 28 — The cup of their woes is overflowing. Faced with countless problems like no bus stop, not even a single post box, no shopping complex, no approach road, no arrangement to dispose of garbage and many more, they say that they are neither citizens of Mohali nor of Chandigarh. Such is the hapless plight of the residents of Sector 48-C.

Mr S.S. Gill, president, Senior Citizen Welfare Association (SCWA), Sector 48-C, explained that of the 226 HIG houses constructed by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), 17 were on the land belonging to the Union Territory and remaining on the land of Jagatpura village, which is part of Punjab. The tragedy is that these houses are neither included in the territory of Mohali nor in the Union Territory. ''As for as the voters list is concerned, even residents of Jhuggi Colony, which lies between sector 48-C and 48-B, have been enlisted for the assembly elections voters list, but we have not been included either in the voters' list of Mohali or of Chandigarh,'' he pointed out.

Commenting on the construction work done by PUDA, he said ''It is nothing new that PUDA has cheated its clients.'' He said the initial brochure supplied by this organisation contained a number of promises but not even one of these had been fulfilled. The semi-finished flats mean only a "structure" in the dictionary of PUDA. There are no power lines and water supply pipes, bathrooms have no fittings and the said "structure" is without doors and windows. Not even a single booth of general purpose has been constructed in the entire sector. The land earmarked for general purpose is a low-lying area where water gets accumulates causing damage to the adjacent houses.

Another "feature" is that a few houses have even not been connected to the sewerage line.

Mr Gill said interest rates all over India had been reduced from 18 per cent to 11 per cent but PUDA was still charging 18 per cent interest from its clients. Having acquired the land at Rs 30,000 per acre, PUDA had charged Rs 3,200 per square yard from its clients. It applied different yardstick as similar houses constructed by the same organisation in Sector 70 were allotted at cheaper rates.

Mr Prem Chand Premi, ex-president, SCWA, along with Mr B M Khanna, Mr Khem Chand Chaudhary, Mr Megh Nath Goyal and Mr Sukhdev Sharma recently met the SDM, Mohali, and expressed resentment at being denied the constitutional right to vote.


What makes City Beautiful attractive?
By Harpreet Kaur

CHANDIGARH June 28 — What makes ‘City Beautiful’ attractive? Well-planned architecture,broad and clean roads, green parks,gardens,avenues and of course, the splendid roundabouts.

The city has nearly 46 roundabouts.The most beautiful ones include Grain Market Chowk in Sector 26.Kisan Bhavan Chowk on the intersection of Sectors 22,23,35 and 36 is also good. The former has been maintained by PASCO and the latter by the Indian Express. The Horticulture Department looks after the upkeep of other roundabouts in the city.

Attraction of Matka Chowk is a Matka with water spilling over.But this junction is worth seeing only towards the end of February, when it gets bedecked.Perhaps because this is the season when tourists are in the city for enjoying the Rose Festival.Most of the roundabouts which are in good condition, are situated on the main routes.

On the other hand, some traffic circles have been subjected to utter neglect. For example, the one on the intersection of Sectors 33,34,44 and 45. Popularly known as Rerawala Chowk, it is used by the pulling cart drivers residing close by, for bathing and washing.The water tap is located inside the circle.One can also see a pit here.Being a good Samaritan,one can only say they have no choice, as they have no proper house to live in.

Similarly,the roundabout on the cross-section of roads from Sectors14,15,24 and 25 is in a dirty shape.The other on the divide of Sectors 24, 25, 37 and 38 has wild grass growing on it.There is no dearth of such unattended circles in the city. Though the primary purpose of these roundabouts is to control the traffic,their maintenance should be taken care of.

Nowadays, everyone seems to be in a hurry.They do not keep patience and while attempting to overtake the other rider, accidents take place near these traffic circles. Thus, the UT Administration has proposed to do away with some of them, which are on the crossroads, with a heavy flow of traffic. Some of the roundabouts have already been removed.Traffic lights have been installed on these intersections.For instance, Housing Board Chowk, Mani Majra, Government Press Chowk near ISBT,Sector 17, and Transport Area Chowk, Sector 26.

These schemes are planned by the traffic police in consultation with the Architecture Department. After receiving proposals from the Administration, more such plans are to be implemented. The circle on the crosscut of Sectors 22, 24, 34 and 35 figures in the list of new projects. At the same time, there are more than 14 junctions which have neither any roundabout nor traffic lights. One of these vulnerable places is the crosscut of Sectors 46, 47, 48 and 49, where one serious mishap is reported every month. The public expects the authorities to take notice of this predicament and find a solution.


Frequent power cuts irk residents
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH June 28 — Frequent and unannounced power cuts in odd hours for the past three weeks have put residents of the periphery of Chandigarh, including Dera Bassi and Lalru to great inconvenience.

Residents complain that though the Punjab Government has exempted farmers of the state from paying bills of power supply for agriculture purposes, yet the domestic supply which is the basic requirement of the routine is badly affected in the state.

Most affected of unscheduled power cuts are the residents of Manauli, Kambali, Kambala and Papri village in SAS Nagar tehsil, Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Lalru and surrounding areas of Dera Bassi tehsil, who are spending sleepless nights for the past couple of months.

Unannounced power cuts and low voltage have also affected adversely the functioning of various small and large-scale industrial units in Chandigarh’s peripheral area. Industrialists complain that power breakdown has hampered their business to a great extent for the last one month.

Mr Ravinder Singh, a resident of Dera Bassi, complains that the decision of the state government to provide power for eight hours for agriculture purpose free of cost has drastically affected the domestic power supply.

‘‘I have made both alternatives — generator as well as free electricity connection — so that in case one fails, the other could be pressed to job’’, said Mr Param Singh, a resident of Lohgarh village, near Zirakpur.

Residents of the area complain that unannounced cuts in domestic supply have a cause of concern for them. They have to pass sleepless nights and bear mosquitoes and flies throughout.

Moreover, water supply is also being affected adversely due to power failure and low voltage.


Should jeans be banned?

THE recent decision of a Ludhiana college to ban the wearing of jeans and skirts by its students has created uproar among them. Considering jeans to be one of the most comfortable dresses, they are challenging the validity and rationale of such a decision. Learned readers may remember that a girls’ college in Kanpur took similar decision three months ago. About a dozen irritated students of that college defied the order, stormed the office of the Principal, roughed her up and beat the student leader on whose behest the orders were issued. However, the students of the Ludhiana college were more sophisticated and respectful, and did not indulge into such actions. But is jeans such a bad apparel as to attract a fatwa against its use?

Since decades, jeans has been one of the most popular dresses of the younger generation. It is no more considered a ‘western dress’ since almost all the countries of the world have adopted it as a casual wear. Son it has become a ‘universal dress’. As such, the propagators of Indian dresses should not flare up when a girl wears jeans. Among the two traditional dresses of our country — sari and salwar kameez — the latter is equally comfortable, no doubt, but can we curtail the right of a girl to wear the dress of her choice? We can definitely put a moral code that the dress should not be obscene. Afterall we are Indians, and we cannot allow our sisters and daughters to roam in markets in bikinis, transparent clothes, and scanty dresses. But jeans look sophisticated. Any day, this dress is less provocative than saris worn with mini-blouses having low-cut necks. That is the preference of some fashion-conscious women belonging to elite of society. (Leave aside the wet clinging saris worn by them while dancing in ‘rain’ during the theme parties in vogue these days).

“Jeans constitutes the most comfortable dress for those who wish to lead an active life”, says Ramandeep, a model. “These days, life has become so busy, and time so short, that one cannot afford to lug around in cumbersome dresses”, she adds. “Of course we should honour Indian values and desist from harmful western influence; but if a dress helps us in achieving our goal in a better way, and we look sophisticated too. I don’t think there is any harm in wearing that dress”, opines Aditi Sharma, a marketing executive.

Jeans’ ancestor — a pair of canvas trousers — was sold by Levi Strauss in the year 1850 for six dollars. It was so enthusiastically welcomed due to its durability that Levi was flooded with orders. Soon the whole of his stock exhausted. He could not get the same material again and substituted it with a coarse brown cloth called Sege de Nimes, while preparing trousers for his next lot. This difficult name was soon shortened to easier name ‘denim’. Films have been known to cast a spell on people, especially the youth. Thus, wearing of jeans became a rage after James Dean wore them in East of Eden. Marlon Brando’s blockbuster The Wild Ones further established it as a rough & tough wear. It has been occupying an unrivalled place as ‘fashionable casual wear’ for the last couple of decades after an ad campaign by Calvin Klein. Looking into the popularity of jeans, major companies like Wrangler, Pepe, Lee Cooper, and Number One joined the foray to compete Lee in their bid to earn from this profitable market.

By the way, curtailing a person from wearing a dress, which is not obscene, amounts to infringement of his or her personal liberty and can be challenged in a court of law. — Thakur Paramjit



Govt’s decision on octroi decried
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 28 — Ex-servicemen today decried the Punjab Government’s decision to collect octroi from notified military areas as additional excise, education cess and development cess.

At a meeting attended by the representatives of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal, Ex-servicemen’s League and ex-servicemen of Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Panchkula, it was felt that money so collected was being utilised by the Punjab Government, instead of spending it on the welfare of serving and retired defence personnel. It was decided to present a memorandum to the Punjab Chief Minister in this regard.

It was also decided to take up the issue of handing over of the Defence Services Officers Institute to the Army authorities and ex-servicemen. The decision over the issue has been pending for a long time. It was decided to request the Chief Minister to intervene and mitigate the inconvenience being caused to ex-servicemen.

Meanwhile, Lieut-Gen B.S. Randhawa (retd), spokesman of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal, has warned the Punjab Government against its move of registering cases against BKU activists. General Randhawa said the government had failed to protect the interests of the common man. Opposing the hike in power tariff, he said the PSEB should take proper measures to prevent pilferage of power and to reduce transmission losses.


Associations refute sexual harassment charge
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 28 — The issue of alleged sexual harassment of women employees in the PCL, levelled by the PCL Employees Union, today took a new turn with the PCL Executive Welfare Association and the Association of Diploma Engineers refuting the allegations. They charged the union of creating the issue only after six of their leaders were dismissed from service.

Addressing a press conference in Phase 2 here, representatives of the two associations said the false allegations of sexual harassment in the company was bringing bad name to the company and they wanted the company should function normally in the interest of the employees. They offered to mediate between the agitating employees and the management if the former changed its leaders. Mr J.P. Singh, General Secretary of the Association of Diploma Engineers, said they had also urged the management to solve the matter.

Asked if they were offering to mediate in communication with the management of the company, they said the issue was bringing a bad name to the company and it was not in their interest. Ms Harminder Kaur, a manager in the company, said the specific allegations of harassment of some women employees could not be proved during the course of inquiry conducted into the matter. She said the company was in existence for the past 18 years, but never before had such an allegation been levelled.

The members of the associations charged the striking leaders of seeking support of political persons in spearheading their agitation, which in turn was spoiling the environment in the company. Specifically mentioning name of Mr Karanbir Kang, a close confidant of the Punjab Chief Minister, they said he had taken a delegation of the striking employees to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ropar. A delegation of the Association of Diploma Engineers and PCL Executive Welfare Association went to Kharar to meet Mr Kang. They said the company had to function as it had orders worth Rs 250 crore in hand.


16 kg of poppy husk seized

CHANDIGARH June 28 — The police has arrested a Gwalior resident and recovered 16 kg of poppy husk from his possession.

According to police sources, the accused, Munna Dixit, was stopped at the Sector 17 ISBT and the narcotic was recovered from his baggage. He works as a driver of a Madhya Pradesh Transport Corporation. A case under Section 15 of the NDPS Act has been registered against him.

Woman’s charge

A Sector 25 resident complained to the police that a resident of the same locality had made an attempt to outrage her modesty.

According to police sources, the woman said the accused, Karamjit, stopped her near the Kumhar Mandir, threatened her and tried to outrage her modesty. The accused has been arrested and a case under Section 354 \ 506, IPC, has been registered.

Pistol found

A labourer, Madan Lal, reported that he found a US-make pistol lying on the top floor of a showroom. The shop is presently under construction. A case under Section 25/54/59 of the Arms Act has been registered.

Scooterist killed

An unknown scooterist, who was hit and injured by an unknown vehicle late last night near the CTU workshop in Sector 25, died on the spot. A case under Section 279/304-A, IPC, has been registered.

Two held

The police has arrested two persons — Nikka and Raj Kumar — and recovered 100 pouches and 12 bottles of whisky from their possession. Cases under Section 61/1/14 of the Excise Act have been registered.

Bike stolen

Dr Neeraj Gopi Nath, a resident of the old doctors’ hostel, complained that his motor cycle, KL 7B 7718, had been stolen from the PGI parking. A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.



Police claim on FIR belied
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR June 28 — Claims by the local police to register First Information Report (FIR) in genuine cases notwithstanding, two victims of a case of assault at a house in Phase 6 here late last night belies the claims of the police.

One of the victims, who was injured in the head by the assailants, was admitted to the Civil Hospital in Phase 6 here. According to the information available, four youths — Chanan, Ramandeep, Amarvir and Jatinder — who were armed with lathis, barged into the house of Parvinder Singh and Prithpal Singh — who were fast asleep — in Phase 6 here. The assailants, reported to be in an inebriated state, bashed up the two.

On hearing the noise, a neighbour called up the police. The four assailants and one of the victims, Prithpal Singh, were taken to the Phase 1 police station. The victim was allegedly made to sit at the police station for the night. Sources in police said one of the youths claimed to be connected to a senior politician of Punjab. While a family member of the victim stated that the police was not registering a case, the police at the Phase 1 police station said a compromise was being reached at between the two parties.


IGP orders inquiry
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH June 28 — An inquiry has been ordered into the alleged implication of a person in a case here today. The inquiry was ordered after the complainant met the UT IGP, Mr S.K. Singh.

According to police sources, Rishi Pal Gupta said he had accompanied his friend, Ram Birj, to the Sector 39 police station as the latter had been summoned in connection with a quarrel with someone. He alleged that he was also booked under Sections 107 and 151, CrPC, along with Ram Birj.

He named two SIs who had allegedly done this at the bidding of the other party, who was also present in the police station at the time of the incident.

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