Monday, July 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Villages' link with highway severed
From Our Correspondent

LALRU, July 23 — Residents of more than five villages here are being inconvenienced as the causeway and the road linking their villages to the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway were swept away by the Jharmal rivulet near Dapper village some days ago.

Sources said the natural course of the Jharmal was diverted by the Punjab Warehousing Corporation after it purchased some acres on the bed of the rivulet recently and raised its level by dumping loose soil there. The rain water washed away a stretch of the road, along with the causeway, to disconnect the link between Dapper and Chaundheri villages. This also disconnected Toganpur, Aganpur, Bhagwasi and Miyanpur villages from the main road.

Residents of the affected villages complain that in the absence of any other alternative link to the main road, they have to wade through the slush and knee-deep water in the rivulet. Moreover, the loose soil spread over the broken stretch of the road aggravates their problems. Mr Surinder Singh of Chaundheri village complains that office-goers and school students are the worst affected. Parents have to accompany their wards while crossing the rivulet.

‘‘The Jharmal used to flow on its natural course. Water level used to come down as there were no obstructions. The problem was compounded when the Punjab Warehousing Corporation diverted its course,’’ said Mr Harish Kumar.

Transportation to villages on the other side of the rivulet had stopped and the residents had to travel a long distance to purchase goods form the markets in Dapper and Lalru villages, said Mr Jasbir Singh.

Mr S.S. Sidhu, SDM, Dera Bassi, said the corporation had obtained stay orders from the District and Sessions Court in Patiala against a notice under Section 133 of the CrPC, which was issued to the concerned.

Road washed away; 40 villages cut off
From Our Correspondent

MAJRI (Kharar), July 23 — The road link of at least 40 villages in the Majri block with the outside world was cut off after a temporary causeway connecting the villages with the Kurali-Majri road was washed away during the recent heavy monsoon showers.

The villagers said each year it was the same story with the Public Works Department (B and R) doing little to solve the problem. Even the promises made by politicians of different parties to get a bridge constructed had not materialised, they lamented.

The villagers have now taken upon themselves to task of repairing the damaged causeway. The causeway joins Khizrabad with the Kurali-Siswan road. The residents and the Swaraj Foundry have filled the gap by putting soil and ash.

“The bridge is washed away during every rainy season and in fact, after every heavy downpour”, said Ravinder Kumar Rana, sarpanch of the Tajpura village. He said the buses started plying on the route after temporary repair.

The residents are demanding a bridge over the nullah. “Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, a former MP, had promised a bridge over the nullah but the present SAD-BJP government has not taken any action yet”, said Mr Jaideep Singh, an ex-member of the block samiti.

A view of the semi-repaired causeway connecting the Majri Block with the Kurali-Majri Road. The temporary repair work was done by the villagers.Back


Statute not up to mark: Tohra
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 23 — The need for autonomy and devolution of more powers to the states was once again stressed upon by the speakers on the concluding day of the seminar on Autonomy resolution as passed by the J&K Government and devolution of powers to states, organised by the Rashtriya Raksha Dal here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, held that there was scope for more amendments in the Constitution of India as far as the devolution of more powers to the states was concerned and it was the only way to take the country out of the mess it was in. He said the Constitution was not up to the mark and many agitations and other movements in the country proved it. He further said Mr Farooq Abdullah’s demand for autonomy was well within the scope of Article 370 and the matter had been blown out of proportion.

Despite the claims that the Constitution was federal in structure, the states had virtually no powers. A strong centre was no guarantee for holding the states together on major policy decisions. Quoting an example from Russia, he said though USSR’s Centre was very strong, it failed to keep the states together.

He claimed that the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, which was drafted by competent persons, advocated devolution of more powers to the states, but it was never understood by the Indian masses due to powerful government-initiated propaganda. He alleged that it was projected in a wrong way by the political parties to serve their vested interests.

Mr P.L. Handoo, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister of J&K, accused the Centre of ignoring the fact that the state was a Muslim-dominated state. He highlighted that Mr Jawaharlal Nehru wanted limited powers for the Centre and maximum powers for the states. He also alleged that the Centre was using its powers to trample upon the rights of the states.

Contrary to Mr Tohra’s views, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, local MP, was against the devolution of more powers to the states. He held that the states were already provided with enough powers and the demand for more powers was politically-motivated.

He reasoned that the Constitution was not to be blamed, but the policy-makers had failed to implement it properly. He defended Article 356, but deplored its misuse by politicians for their parties’ interests.

Mr Amar Singh Chahal, an advocate, was of the view that if the Constitution was not doing any good to the country, it should be reviewed. He also stressed the need for devolution of more powers to the states.

The President of RRD, Col Harsharan Singh (retd), read out a resolution, which was unanimously passed. The resolution urged that all issues, including the autonomy report passed by the J&K Legislative Assembly, should be resolved through dialogue, primarily with the elected Government of J&K and with other parties not involved in militancy. It also demanded the implementation of the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission. 


Two cheetah hides seized
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, July 23—Two cheetah hides were seized from a couple residing in Vasudevpura in Pinjore, here today. Acting on a tip-off in the afternoon, the police along with officials of the Wildlife Department raided the house of the accused.

The police arrested Sunder while her husband, Dariyau Singh Bawaria, managed to give a slip to the police. Police sources informed that Sunder stated that the animals had been killed in Rajasthan by laying a trap and the skin was 15 to 20 days old.

A police party headed by the SHO, Pinjore, along with Wildlife Inspector Sada Ram arrived at the residence of the couple. However, spotting the advancing police Jeep, Dariyau Singh fled towards the adjoining jungle while his wife was arrested and the two skins recovered from her possession after the police surrounded the jhuggi they were staying in.

The Chief Wildlife Warden was not available for comment. A case under Sections 39, 49 and 51 of the Wildlife Preservation Act has been registered.


5,000 original city residents await rehabilitation
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 23 — Even as thousands of migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been rehabilitated under controversial schemes at regular intervals, around 5,000 original residents of Chandigarh, who lived in villages that were uprooted to make way for posh sectors in the late 60s and 70s, are yet to be rehabilitated.

However, work at the administrative level during the past six months is like a ray of hope for these oustees as some kind of rehabilitation scheme has been promised in the coming months. After all these years, the Chandigarh Administration has now asked the villagers to provide lists of original residents. These villages were uprooted to house Sectors 31 to 47, the Industrial Area and for the expansion of the airport.

The lists were submitted six months ago and are being scrutinised by middle-level officials. The dealing officer, Ms Geetanjali Kundra, has been transferred and the issue is to come up again. Villagers say the “prime compromise reached between the villagers and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1950 should be followed.”

Around 5,000 families who lived in the erstwhile villages of Shahpur (now Sector 38), Bijwara (Sector 35), Madhrian (Sector 34), Faidan (Sector 47), Karsan (Ram Darbar), Datarpur (airport), Bair Majra (airport) and Jaipura (Industrial Area) Chuharpur and Bhaktapur-Bijwari have submitted their lists and also the required money. Several acres of Shamlat lands of the villages were acquired without any compensation, allege villagers.

Mr Angrez Singh Badheri, President of the Pind Bachao Committee, says one of the major grouses of the original villagers is that over the years, the Chandigarh Administration has been rehabilitating encroachers by way of pucca markets in lieu of unauthorised rehris and pucca houses in lieu of unauthorised jhuggis due to vote- bank politics of politicians. And these people have been encroaching upon lands the government acquired from original oustees at throwaway prices.

“Under the garb of the Land Acquisition Act we are being discriminated for being Punjabis,” says Mr Angrez Singh. Even lands have been allotted to housing societies. Even we can be treated at par and allotted lands to build houses. The original residents should be deemed as refugees to protect their vocation, residence and livelihood, he added.

Residents who were evicted in the second phase of Chandigarh’s development says they have been the worst hit. The villagers of the first phase were adequately compensated by way of residential plots and agricultural lands. Later in 1981, 22 villagers were stopped from acquisition and the residents stay as they had been staying for years. Only residents of these 11 villages have got nothing in lieu.

Thus, effectively three sets of rules prevail for villages that formed part of the master plan for Chandigarh. 


Deviations upset former technocrats

“Why are they spoiling the city ? This is the question which has been agitating former chief engineers, architects and planners of the Union Territory of Chandigarh. They feel upset over every little deviation made from the existing rules, byelaws and controls.

Mr Kulbir Singh, who remained Chief Engineer of Chandigarh for the longest tenure ever, in a letter to Sentinel has expressed his strong opposition to the proposed amendments to the building byelaws.

“The high powered building byelaws committee of the administration is reported to have recommended increase in the covered area of plots in both phases of the Industrial Area. This recommendation at the present juncture is violative of basics of good urban planning. The city is already reeling under shortage of water supply, inadequacy of electricity, congestion and traffic jams on roads, car parking difficulties, etc.

“These problems would be aggravated if the recommendations of the above type are implemented. The right course is to first augment the services adequately. Otherwise, the Chandigarh Administration will lay itself open to the charge of extreme shortsightedness,” writes Mr Kulbir Singh.

For a cause: Journalists are supposed to keep a distance from their news sources and also from the subjects they handle. But sometime the issues get the better of the reporters and they get actively associated. One such case with a colleague is that of the original inhabitants of the villages that were uprooted to set up the brand new capital of Punjab. The villagers who owned land got some compensation, a pittance by the present standards, and those who did not have land or houses were left high and dry.

Some well-meaning publicmen took up the issue way back in the late sixties. They formed “pind bachao committee” with Jathedar Angrez Singh as a leading light. A former ex-serviceman, this hardy peasant from Badhedi got in touch with newsmen. There began a long association.

Newsmen like this colleague who had just begun his reporting career, took up the cudgels, writing extensively and with a great deal of concern. The first battle was won when the administration decided to retain the villages in the second phase of development. Mohali and Panchkula had to follow. But another battle with the government and in the courts took nearly three decades when finally the Supreme Court favoured them.

Now all those who were uprooted from the villages would get some land to build their dwellings. Jathedar Angrez Singh, the man who had his spinal cord injured during a battle and cannot sit down, is happy and grateful to all the reporters who have for years lent support not only by writing reports, but also by offering moral help all the way. Indeed a good cause that has finally won. In this case, justice delayed is not justice denied and all those scribes who helped, can take pride.

New building: The outgoing Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Prof M.M. Puri, had during his tenure some new projects taken up. These included the laying of the foundation stone of Alumni House by the then Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, and at the fag end of his term of the Examination Block the work on Alumni House is yet to begin.

The new Exam Block has been designed by Mr S.D. Sharma, a well-known architect. Since the new Exam Block will be surrounded by some heritage buildings, it has been designed and shaped to fit in the ambience and richness of its surrounding buildings.

One hopes that both Alumni House and Exam Block will come up during the tenure of the new Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak.

Did blood save you?: The Blood Bank Society normally asks for blood but this appeal is a different one and is addressed to people who have benefited from blood.

If you or anyone you know has received blood transfusions and are willing to share your story please contact the Blood Bank Society (3rd floor, PGI, Telephone: 747585 Ext. 631) or phone numbers 548411 or 746081, says Mrs Saroop Krishen, its Hony Secretary.

Since recipients know better than anyone else the miracle that blood performs, the stories, authentic and true, will make an impact on the public. Readers can help promote this life-saving cause by sending true stories, personal experiences or any narratives associated with blood.

Parents of thalassaemia or haemophilia patients, mothers whose children are alive because of exchange transfusion given at birth, young boys and girls living normal, active lives because their blood was exchanged at birth, accident victims, surgical cases may get in touch through letters, phone or a visit.

Vermiculture: Col K.D. Singh (retd), a reader, has in a letter to Sentinel claimed that introduction of vermiculture in Chandigarh is nothing new as the President of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal, Col Harsharan Singh Sandhu (retd), has already been practising vermiculture in the backyard of his house. With farming experience of many years, he is now in the hospitality business.

“He should be roped in for training people in vermiculture,” says Col K.D. Singh, maintaining that the task of popularising this concept should be given to NGOs than to bureaucrats alone.

Scholarships: The SAS Nagar-based Sree Ayyappa Seva Samiti has decided to invite applications from Malayalee students of Chandigarh and SAS Nagar for grant of two scholarships. According to Mr P. Muraleedharan, two scholarships will be given to most outstanding students who performed well in the matriculation examination of the Central Board of Secondary Education.

Completed application forms along with detail marks may be sent to the Secretary, Sree Ayyappa Seva Samiti, HB-126, Phase-I, SAS Nagar, latest by September 3.

Voluntary effort: It was a blood donation camp with a difference. Organised by Mr Ashok Dua, a prominent hotelier for the thalassaemia children the other day, the camp saw over 100 volunteers donate blood for the children of the lesser God, who need blood transfusion at regular intervals to prolong their short life span.

An interesting feature of the camp was that a large number of voluntary blood donors, apart from parents and relatives of the thalassaemia children, donated blood at the camp, which was sixth camp in a row. A team from the PGI conducted the camp — a purely voluntary effort sans any media hype.

Incidentally, the son of Mr Dua —Vipul Dua — is also a thalassaemic.

— Sentinel


Need to eradicate poverty, illiteracy stressed
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, July 23 — The population of the country cannot be stabilised till poverty and illiteracy are eradicated. Dr SK Sandhu, President of the local branch of the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), said this at a function organised to celebrate the 51st Foundation Day of the FPAI here today.

She said under the new National Population Policy, the stress would be on eradicating poverty, illiteracy and health-related problems. Some villages were being adopted under the scheme. The FPAI was also adopting professional institutions to spread among youth the message of population control and other issues afflicting mankind. She stressed on the need to of provide high status to women.

“A major hindrance in the success of the family planning methods is the migratory population. Each time we start a family planning programme in a slum area, the beneficiaries have migrated to some other area, defeating the entire exercise. Their children have not gone to school due to factors like language problem and overage,” said Dr Sandhu.

Mr Kuljeet Singh Bedi, President of the Mohali Lions Club, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said the collaboration of non-government organisations in spreading the cause of the FPAI was must. He assured all help from the Lions Club in welfare activities of the FPAI.

Others who spoke were Dr RK Dutta, Vice-President of the FPAI, Mr JS Arora, Honorary Secretary, Mr Harwant Singh, Honorary Treasurer, and Ms Manjeet Sodhi, a volunteer of the FPAI. Later, staff of the FPAI staged plays on Reproductive Child Health and family planning. A skit on the poor status of girl the child and work being done by welfare organisations went down well with the audience.Back


Living in hell-like conditions
From Nishikant Dwivedi

CHANDIGARH, July 23 — The roads running through Naya Gaon disappear into streets of cobbled stones with potholes as you move towards this village, five km from Chandigarh. It is worse for the commuters during the rains as water in the pits makes the journey “impossible”.

The roads were never good. They have worsened by the heavy downpour. Waterlogging and the garbage has made the area filthy. “The roadside garbage has always been a problem, but the rain has made life here almost impossible,” said Sukhi.

The katcha nullah which runs on either side of the roads have become a source of foul smell. One can mosquitoes breeding in them. One cannot escape the mud splashed while walking on the roads. Everyday someone or the other slips walking down the streets. The waterlogged roads are liked by only one section of the population — the children returning from schools.

One of the major reasons behind the waterlogging is that there is no sewerage system. “ The rain water has no escape and even if the roads are in a good condition, the rain will wash it away,” said Karma. According to the shopkeepers, the standing water has damaged their business. “During heavy rains the water enters the shops,” told Mr Surinder Jolly, a member of the Market Welfare Association,Naya Gaon.

The village was to come under the now scrapped New Chandigarh, the dream project of Beant Singh." The government has no plan for the village,” told Mr Madan Mishra of Adarsh Nagar Colony. According to him, the road in front of his house is not metalled and every two months they have to put at least a truckload of soil.

An old resident of the village says the village sarpanch is also to be blamed for the present bad condition of the road. He has accused him of never doing anything for the village. “The allegations are not true as I am doing my level best to put the roads in better conditions,” told Mr H.S. Bajwa, the sarpanch. According to him he has met the DC of Ropar and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab many times to improve the lot of the village.

He says, “We are ready to pay development charge for the construction of roads and laying down of sewerage system.” He claimed that they had reached an agreement with the government for Rs 40 per square yard as development charge.

“But the government is sitting on the agreement”, accuse Mr Bajwa. He further divulged that Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, MP Ropar, gave Rs. 50,000 for the streets and sewerage. system. Villagers accuse him that he is not using the money. “The amount is too meagre to construct roads,” declared Mr Bajwa. He quickly added, “once the rainy season goes, I will start using it.”


Residents allege discrimination
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 23 — The Joint Welfare Association of the residents of Sector 44-A has alleged discrimination by nodal officers in issuing notices to the residents for the removal of encroachments.

The President of the association, Mr Jagmohan Singh Johal, alleged that nodal officers, appointed with a view to check encroachments, were issuing notices at random for minor encroachments. The major encroachments like the ones in children’s parks were being ignored by the nodal officers, he added.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) was not paying any heed to the improvement of the deteriorating civic amenities like roads, water supply, sanitation and streetlights. He urged the UT Administrator to dismiss the civic body as it had failed to provide civic amenities to the residents. He warned that the residents would stop the payment of various bills, such as water, power, and telephone, if the civic amenities were not provided in a month’s time.Back


Uncertainty over Sodhi Ram’s re-arrest 
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, July 23 — With Panjab University officials stating here today that they had not yet received any information on whether the CBI wanted to re- arrest Mr Sodhi Ram, the status of the paper leakage case remains quite uncertain.

It may be mentioned here that the 60th day of Mr Sodhi Ram’s judicial remand is ending on August 2 and the Special Judge, CBI, and Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Lakhbir Singh, had on, July 21, extended the judicial remand of Mr Sodhi Ram and four others accused in the case till August 2.

Sources said that the CBI had already requested the PU authorities for giving their consent on the re- arrest of the accused. PU officials, when contacted, however, maintained that they had not received any such information from the CBI.

PU Vice-Chancellor K.N. Pathak today said that he had not got any such communication from the CBI office, “nor does he know about it because he assumed charge only yesterday.” Meanwhile, the Registrar of PU, Mr Paramjit Singh, said that no files or papers in this regard had yet been received by him.Back


Three theft cases reported in city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 23 — As many as three thefts were reported from the city in the past two days.

Mr Mohammad Sabeer, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony in Sector 26, alleged that gold and silver jewellery and two wrist watches were stolen from his residence yesterday, afternoon while he was away from his home.

Mr Ranjit Singh, a resident of Sector 16 here, alleged that his mobile phone was stolen from his jeep on the night of July 21. In another case, a moped (CH01-N-1558), belonging to Mr Sunil Sachdeva, was stolen from Panchayat Bhavan parking.

Separate cases have been registered in all the cases.

Smack seized: The police arrested Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Sector 38, from the crossing of Sector 38 and 40 and seized over 5 gm of smack from his possession on Saturday.

A case has been registered.

Two hurt: Mr Rahul, who along with his father, Mr Arun Kumar, was going in a Maruti car was injured when their car was hit by a Santro car at the traffic lights of Sectors 17-18 on the Friday night. Mr Rahul has been admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32. The driver of the Santro car fled from the scene.

In another incident, an unknown cyclist was hit by a Tata Sumo near the Sector 28 petrol station on Friday night. He has been admitted to the PGI.

The driver of the Sumo fled in his vehicle. A case has been registered.

Pick-pocket held: Vijay Mahto, a resident of Murarganj village in Patna district, was arrested while picking the pocket of Mr Angrej Singh, a resident of Maloya Colony, from the Grain Market area in Sector 26. The stolen purse containing Rs 510 was recovered from him.

A case has been registered.

Collision: Ms Ganga Devi of Sector 31 reported that she was travelling in her car when she was hit by another car, driven by Sector 46 resident Navpreet Singh. The accused has been arrested and booked under Section 279 of the IPC.

Assaulted: Mr Budhi Ram reported that he was assaulted by Billu and Dheera, residents of Maloya colony, as a result of which his front teeth broke. A case under Sections 325 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.


Women bash up housewife: Mr T.S. Anand, a resident of Sector 70, has lodged a complaint with the police that three women in their late thirties entered his house and bashed up his wife, Ms Jyoti Anand, on Wednesday. They damaged a computer and broke a windowpane before escaping.

Mr Anand said the police had not registered a case against the women in spite of being given the details.


Case registered: A case under Sections 148, 149, 323, 506 of the IPC has been registered against four residents of the city following a brawl on the dividing road of Sectors 7 and 8. A resident of Sector 2 Ravinder Singh, and two others from Sector 9, Shalu and Sonu, were involved in a clash which began outside a disco in Manimajra.Back


Vegetable prices rise
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 23 — The prices of commonly-used vegetables have witnessed a slight increase in the past fortnight.

Perhaps the highest-priced vegetable was ginger, which was being sold at Rs 50-60 per kg at Azad Market in Sector 20. While the price of peas ranged from Rs 25 to Rs 30 per kg, that of onion hovered around Rs 6-8, depending upon the quality, according to a random survey of the retail vegetable markets today.

The price of tomatoes was quoted at Rs 18-22 per kg. Similarly, potatoes were priced between Rs 3-5 (desi variety) and Rs 6-8 (pahari variety) The price of cauliflower was quoted at Rs 10 to 12 per kg and that of cabbage varied from Rs 15 to Rs 20. The price of brinjal ranged from Rs 16 to Rs 20. On the other hand, cucumber was priced at Rs 12 to 15 a kg. The price of lemon, however, has fallen. Priced at over Rs 40 per kg last month , it is now selling at Rs 25-30 per kg in different markets.

While the prices of capsicum ranged between Rs 30 to Rs 35 a kg, that of bitter gourd was Rs 12-15 per kg.


‘Refund cases not in panel’s purview’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 23 — The refund cases are outside the purview of the Customs and the Central Excise Settlement Commission, Mr D.S. Solanki, commission Chairman, clarified at a meeting organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Haryana Nivas here yesterday.

Calling upon entrepreneurs to come forward for settling the disputes relating to customs and central excise duties, Mr Solanki informed that it provided a channel in which the indirect tax disputes could be settled expeditiously in a spirit of reconciliation.

Certain cases, however, would not be entertained by the commission. These included the tax liability below Rs 2 lakh, disputes relating to classification of goods and those covered under the Narcotics Drug Control Act.

Terming the setting up of the commission as an important step, Mr Sanjay Bhatia hoped that the disputes would be settled in a spirit of reconciliation, with minimum litigation.

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