Tuesday, July 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Constable subjected to third-degree torture 
by SI, three others
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, July 24 — In a freak incident, a Punjab Police Constable posted at the police post in Tangori village, near here, was tortured by a Sub-Inspector of the Punjab Police, Surjit Chand, and his three accomplices at a hotel on the Kharar-Banur road near here on Saturday night. The victim was subjected to third-degree torture before he was rescued by his colleague, Head Constable Rajinder Singh.

The victim, Gurpreet Singh, had recently been transferred to the Tangori police post, set up in the early eighties, following incidents of dacoity in the area. The police post is located adjacent to the farm house of a retired Superintendent of Police, SS Bajwa. On that fateful day, the victim had gone to the hotel, owned by Gurpreet Singh alias Kala — a relative of SI Surjit Chand. A gunman of the SI, Jagdev Singh, and a SPO, Suresh Kumar, were involved in torturing the victim.

Such was the degree of torture that after two days of the incident, the victim was finding it difficult to walk and his left arm had been broken. The victim, while narrating the incident, said at around 9.30 pm on July 22, he had gone to take his food at a dhaba, but found that two truck drivers were fighting over some issue. When he intervened to end the fight, he was forcibly taken to a room at the back of the dhaba by its owner, Gurpreet Singh. The SI, along with two accomplices, also reached the spot in a Maruti car (DL-3C-7283).

After forcing the victim to take off his clothes, the constable, Jagdev Singh, and SPO Jagdev Singh spread him at an angle of 180 degrees, before afflicting injuries on his private parts. All this while he was suspended from the roof of the room and salt was applied on his bleeding wounds.

Not limiting to it, the skin around the nails of his right arm was peeled off and salt applied on it. Then a screw driver was inserted in his right leg and wounds were left bleeding. Throughout the torture, the suspects, who were heavily drunk, kept on beating him with rods.

Though the exact cause of the torture could not be ascertained, the victim said the SI and his accomplice appeared to be angry over the location of the police post, which they said was affecting the business of the dhaba. After torturing the constable for over an hour, he was bundled in the Maruti car to be allegedly thrown into a canal. When the victim was rescued, the suspects threatened him of dire consequences if the incident was reported to the police.

Next day, the victim narrated the entire incident to the retired SP, Mr S.S. Bajwa, who took the former to the Sohana Police Station. The Superintendent of Police, SAS Nagar, Mr B.S. Randhawa, said the SI, posted at the Police Lines, Ropar, who had absconded after the incident, had been arrested along with the three other suspects. Mr Randhawa said the SI had a poor track record and was recently involved in a case of snatching at Dera Bassi.

All the four persons have been booked under Sections 323, 342, 342, 364, 506 and 34 of the IPC. During the search of the SI, an unlicensed .32 bore gun was found. He has also been booked under the Arms Act. 


Dharna against Anandgarh project
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, July 24 — Defying orders prohibiting the assembly of five or more persons, Naya Gaon and Janata Colony dwellers, led by Punjab’s ex-Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, today raised slogans in front of the Punjab Chief Minister’s house against the Anandgarh project, besides the demolition drive launched by the Punjab Urban Development Authority.

Sitting on a dharna, over 300 agitating residents also demanded Notified Area Committee status for Naya Goan on Zirakpur pattern. Criticising PUDA for declaring as illegal the structures raised after December 9, 1998, they asked for the regularisation of all such buildings. The crowd also blocked the road from Naya Goan to the City for about five minutes as a “token of protest”.

Addressing a rally at the Chandigarh-Naya Gaon barrier earlier during the day, Mrs Bhattal reiterated her party’s support to the movement and assured complete assistance. She also ridiculed Mr Parkash Singh Badal for his claim of providing justice like Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

“The Badal government,” Mrs Bhattal asserted, “has miserably failed on financial and administrative front”. She also suggested construction of Anandgarh on the vacant land adjoining Anandpur Sahib.

Accusing the Chief Minister of ignoring the problems of masses, general secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress (I), Jagmohan Singh Kang, claimed that the Badal government “would be thrown out of office in the next general election and would never return to power”.

Local leaders, including Ms Shakuntala Devi of Janata Colony and Mr Manjeet Singh Kang, along with Vice-President of Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Nawab Singh Maulvi, and Sarpanch of Naya Gaon, Mr. H.S. Bajwa, also addressed the rally.

It may be recalled that last week PUDA had demolished a few houses in Govindnagar and Dashmesh Nagar of the area as these were allegedly constructed after December 9, 1998. Back


PSEB consumers a harassed lot 
From Kulwinder Sangha

SAS NAGAR, July 24 — Consumers of the Punjab State Electricity Board have demanded the streamlining of work connected with power bill payment so that they are not put to harassment.

Consumers said today it took far too long to pay their power bills. Long queues were often seen at payment centres.

Bills in Phase II were usually received late, adding to the rush at the payment collection centre in Phase I. This time bills issued on July 10 were received on July 20 by Phase II consumers. The last date of payment being July 25 (by cheque) and July 27 by cash. PSEB offices were closed on Saturday and Sunday which left consumers with three days to pay their bills by cheque and five days in cash. All bills above Rs 2,000 can be paid only by cheque.

Mr Surjit Arora, a resident of Phase II, said that during March consumers got only two days to make payments as bills were received late.

Consumers are compelled to pay bills on time because of the heavy surcharge imposed on late payment. They also complained that PSEB staff declined to accept currency notes of Rs 500 unless the consumer puts his signature and address on the note or in a register. Notice to this effect had also been put up above the bill payment counters.

Mr Surinder Singh, a resident of Phase V, had complained earlier that the staff refused to accept a currency note of Rs 500 which he presented as part of bill payment until he put his signature and address on it. He said he had declined to put his address on the note as it was an offence to deface currency. As he had been standing in the queue for around one and a half hours he had to bend to the instructions of the PSEB staff.

This correspondent saw that even today consumers were putting their signatures and address on Rs 500 currency notes in accordance with the notice displayed at the counters.

The consumers also complained that at the Phase I collection centre there was no drinking water arrangement or fans for those who had to wait in queues to pay their bills.

The Senior Executive Engineer said in most cases bills were distributed in time. Delay in delivering bills was possible only once in a while. A minimum of seven days had to be given to the consumer to pay his power bills.

He said directions had been given to accept Rs 500 currency notes at bill payment centres. He said the notice in this connection would be removed. Water and fan facilities would also be provided. He said long queues were witnessed at times because consumers preferred to pay their bills on last dates.Back


Electric engines ‘more efficient’
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 24 — Only 1.6 per cent of the total power generated in the country is consumed by the Railways for running electric trains. This, in turn, saves the country from importing diesel worth about Rs 3,500 crore.

These views were expressed by some of the engineers associated with the electrification of rail lines in the country. They were here in connection with the inauguration of electrification of the Ambala-Chandigarh-Kalka rail line.

The engineers maintained that electric engines were more efficient, and on an average two electric engines were as good as three diesel engines. The total cost of running electric trains was estimated at Rs 2,800 crore. Electrification, they maintained, was totally indigenous while fuels like petrol and diesel had to be imported.

The engineers said that work on the electrification of the Ludhiana-Amritsar section had already been approved and was expected to commence any time now. The other major electrification project related to routes coming from the east. While the rail line from the Allahabad side had already been electrified, the other one coming from Mughalserai via Lucknow was being electrified.

The engineers held that the Line Haul Cost (LHC) of electric trains was much lower than in the case of diesel-run trains. Justifying the electrification of the Ambala-Kalka sector, they said it was required as the purpose of running electric trains on this prestigious sector would be defeated if the engines had to be changed at Ambala on the Shatabdi and other such trains.

The Railway Ministry, they said, was considering a proposal that all future rail lines, which had connectivity with electric lines, should be electrified from the beginning itself. As such, the proposal for making the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link electric was under active consideration of the ministry. This would be economical.

The engineers refuted the charge that electric trains were accident prone. They maintained that the accident between a passenger train and the Howrah-Amritsar Express near Ambala city on the morning of July 1 was more because of human failure than because of power failure.

Instead, they said the use of electric trains had helped the Railways minimise the number of accidents. Electrification, they held, also helped in the upgradation of not only the signal system but also the telecommunication network.

They did not agree that after the electrification of the Delhi-Ambala-Chandigarh rail section, the journey time had increased. For example, the Shatabdi Express, which used to take three hours before electrification, now took three hours 10 minutes to cover the distance between Chandigarh and New Delhi.

This increase in time, they said, was because of engineering speed restrictions. The line at certain places had developed fractures and as such electric engines could not run at the optimum speed.

After the Ludhiana-Amritsar section, also in the pipeline for electrification was the Nangal-Una section, they added.Back


Shatabdi travellers inconvenienced
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 24 — The visit of the Union Railway Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee, also created problems for passengers on board the Shatabdi Express (train number 2011) coming here from Delhi this morning and also for those travelling on board the same train on its reverse journey towards Delhi in the afternoon.

The first three bogies and the engine were berthed outside the platform as eager Railway officials wanting to please their minister made the minister’s coach stop right in front of the main entrance. Thus the front portion of the train was berthed ahead of the platform.

This created problems from the old, the infirm and women passengers travelling with small children as they had to get off at the tracks. The height between the bogie and tracks is around 3 feet. The argument of the authorities was that since the train was interconnected, passengers could pass through the first three bogies and enter the fourth to alight at the platform. A woman alighting from the train at the tracks said she had paid Rs 440 for her ticket and had to get down at the tracks.

Actually the train stopped at platform number 1 from where the minister was to go to the other side via the foot overbridge. The officials also wanted to stop the coach closest to the overbridge. Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal was also travelling by the same train.

In the afternoon when the same train was to depart for Delhi, it was delayed by 15 minutes as the minister and her entourage struggled to board the trains due to an extended programme while the paying passengers waited.

Sources said the authorities could have very well attached the ministers coach in the front. 


Second entry to railway station to 
benefit Panchkulaites
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 24 — The second entry to the Chandigarh railway station from the Panchkula side, inaugurated by the Union Railway Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee, here this morning, will provide for a shorter, faster, hassle-free and direct access to residents of Panchkula reaching the railway station. The distance will be reduced by almost three km, besides providing for a less congested route between the township and the Chandigarh station.

Till now, Panchkula residents — more than 3,000 travelling on the trains every month — had to come on the busy Chandigarh — Shimla road, travel westward and then enter the railway station road in Chandigarh. Now the road stretch from the Sector 17 and 18 dividing road in Panchkula to the railway station will be only 615 m.

Similarly, the opening of the 69-km rail track between Ambala and Kalka will help in speeding up the trains. At present, 11 pairs of passengers trains, excluding the summer specials and the goods trains, run on the section daily. The railways intends to put all trains on the electric locos in phased manner. Already the Delhi Chandigarh — Delhi Shatabdi is on electric loco. Next in line are the Kalka — Howrah Mail, the Kalka — Delhi Shatabdi and the Kalka — Delhi Himalayan Queen. Three passengers trains will also be on electric locos.

Power supply for operating the trains will be drawn from the traction substation commissioned at Ghaggar. Work on the project, that has cost more than Rs 30 crore, started in May 1998. The work on the second entry started two years ago. It has a 9.5 metre wide approach road and a circulating area of 6500 square metres. The station building is of 132 square metres and provide for 3 booking counters. A foot overbridge connects the second entry with the main platform.

Meanwhile, speaking at the function today, the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, said local buses between Panchkula and the second entry would start running from today. He also demanded that a booking office be opened in Panchkula, either at the bus stand or in one of the markets. At present, Panchkula residents have go to either the Chandigarh bus stand or the railway station to book tickets. The Union Railway Minister said the second entry from Panchkula would be developed as a model station.Back


CAPE project revives village pond
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 24 — The Children’s Alliance for Protection of the Environment (CAPE), a unit of the Environment Society of India, has revived a village pond after nearly half a century of neglect .

The pond, which once served as lifeline for both Hamirgarh and Kanchanpur villages, before their entire land was acquired for the Chandigarh’s Capital Project, had been virtually choked to extinction. Located between Technical Teachers Training Institute and Guru Gobind Singh College, it took almost three months for CAPE volunteers to restore the pond to its original shape and size.

As many as 180 trucks of silt, including debris, garbage and other solid waste, were removed mechanically from the site. In the process, CAPE volunteers came across more than a dozen snakes. These were subsequently shifted to the nearby forest area.

Today, Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary, Science, Technology and Environment, accompanied by Mr N.S. Tiwana of the Punjab State Institute of Science and Technology, visited the pond and offered to adopt the entire project, besides extending all technical support to it.

According to Mr S.K. Sharma, President, Environment Society of India, Hamirgarh and Kanchangarh, were de-populated in 1952. After SGGS College and TTTI came up, the pond was gradually filled up with garbage, debris and other waste.

He said that a conservation action plan was mooted, which got immediate green signal from the Chief Engineer of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, Mr Puranjit Singh. Before undertaking the mechanical desiltation, steel fencing was raised to identify the pond area.

On the World Earth Day in April, the actual work started. Major participation came from students of St Kabir School (Sector 26) and Moti Ram Arya School (Sector 27).

Tests conducted on samples of water taken from the nearly extinct pond revealed that the quality of water had deteriorated considerably. Weeds and other vegetative growth had choked the pond.

Some aquatic plants have already been planted along the banks of the pond. Some species of fish will be released into the pond soon. Fifteen ducks of three different species are also being released into the pond.

“Our endeavour is to make this pond a major attraction for children interested in wildlife, flora and fauna. This would make up for the closure of Mini Zoo adjoining Punjab Raj Bhavan,” he added.


Sober confessions of an alcoholic
By Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 24 — My name is Sanjeev.Coming from a well-to-do family, I was given all the facilities and comforts I wanted. We lived in Kenya and I drove to school in my own car. However, before I proceed any further, I think it is important to divulge here that I have been an alcoholic. And my story has been that of being to hell and back.

In Kenya, we had more of a beer culture than maybe hard liquor. I remember, when I observed the guests at my parents parties at home, I found that after drinking everyone looked very happy, very boisterous. Possibly this misconception led me to start licking the bottle tops when I was just 11.

Sometime in 1982, my family shifted to India and I got enrolled in a local college here. On my first night in the hostel, a couple of students offered me a glass of Rum in a steel glass. It was my first hard drink, so I had a black out. I also managed to abuse the warden that night.

In the morning, I was issued a strong word of caution which sobered me up. I did not drink for the next five years.

I passed out with a technical degree and took up a job. My family respected me and I had reached an age when I was part of the decision making process.

In the meantime, I also got engaged to the girl I had loved for the past nine years. Possibly this heady combination of success and getting everything too early, too easily in life prompted me to enjoy my self without restraint. I started drinking at social functions, once in a while. It increased to twice or thrice a week. And before I knew it, I had began to enjoy my drinks.

Initially my drinking partners were my marketing colleagues. Later, I started drinking alone. It came as a surprise to my wife who thought that she knew me inside out.

We started having quarrels at home. Later, as I took to excessive drinking, I became abusive and began neglecting my family.

I also stopped honouring my financial commitments. My father tried talking sense into me. So, I shifted away from my father’s house, on the pretext that I could not tolerate his interference in my personal life. The truth was I could manipulate my wife but not my father.

My wife suffered more than anybody else. She pleaded with me to stop, but I was convinced that she was henpecking me, unable to appreciate my happiness. In short, I could not tolerate anybody who wanted me to stop drinking.

Eventually, I reached a stage when I had to drink to start working. I started doing things of which I now feel ashamed. Subsequently, I was blacklisted from family functions. My office had already stopped giving me responsible jobs.

Our neighbours prompted my wife to call my father-in-law. He tried his best to reason with me. Anyway, later he handed me the divorce papers, and took my wife with him. I was convinced that it was blackmail. Of course, my in laws were trying to save us and our marriage.

Left on my own, I went back to my father’s house. My father took me to the Drug Deaddiction Centre at the PGI. The doctors there prompted me to give up alcohol. I tried, even became religious, but my guilt and fears did not let me come out of the vicious circle.

My father then took me to the meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.). I was forced by my family to attend the meetings regularly. The actual healing began when the realisation dawned that I was not capable of managing my life and alcohol together. It was then that I started seeking help seriously and opened up to suggestions.

At A.A. we took one day at a time. Besides, the realisation that god has saved me, despite myself, was the most humbling experience of my life. I started in earnest on road to recovery and sobriety.

Today, I am divorced and I live with my father. But I have been sober now for five years, thanks to the great movement that A.A.is. I have recovered from my fears and insecurities. Now I try to help others. Actually this is the base of the success of this programme. An alcoholic who no longer drinks has an exceptional faculty for reaching out to and helping an uncontrolled drinker.

In its simplest form, A.A. operates when a recovered alcoholic passes along the story of his or her own drinking problem, shares the support, he or she has found in A.A. and invites the newcomer to join informal fellowship.

In Chandigarh, there are six to seven groups and 150 people who are part of this movement. If you are an alcoholic, come and see me. If you don’t find me, there will be some other Sanjeev, waiting to hold your hand. And together we will walk on your road to a sober and better life. 


Rotary Club plans computer centre
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, July 24 — New office-bearers of the Rotary Club and Inner Wheel Club have taken over charge. While Mr Ramakant Bhardwaj has been installed President, Dr Shobhit Ghai is Secretary of the Rotary Club, and Mrs Damayanti Aggarwal has been installed new President of Inner Wheel Club.

Speaking at the function, Mr Bhardwaj gave an outline of the programme being undertaken by the club. On welfare projects to be carried out during the current year, he said that the club would start a computer training centre, provide vocational training for women of weaker sections of society, educate rag pickers and open a community centre and common worship place at Abeypur besides a bus shelter in the Industrial Area.

Mrs Aggarwal highlighted the activities of the club in the past year while stating that the club would continue to contribute to the welfare of society and come to the rescue of the affected in case of calamities.

The chief guest, Mr Pranav Pandya, from Shantikunj in Haridwar, in his address to the members stressed on the need to create optimism among the people.

Appreciating the welfare works of the two clubs, the guest of honour, Ms Kala Ramchandran, Superintendent of Police, said that at a time when people look up to the government for their demands, the clubs were busy in organising welfare schemes and benefitting the deprived. “This is a novel way of lending a helping hand to the needy as also reaching out the Government by shouldering some of their responsibility, she added. She was made honorary member of the Inner Wheel Club on the occasion.”

Later, new members were inducted into the two clubs separately and introduced to the gathering. Earlier the chief guest lit the lamp followed by a guru vandana by his disciples. Also 12 Rotarians were honoured for their meritorious services.


Regularised structures may violate PUDA rules
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, July 24 — The Punjab Government is in a quandary over the fate of thousands of structures, which came up within the limits of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat during its tenure, after the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed its notification. The structures regularised by the erstwhile Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat could now stand in violation of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority’s (PUDA) rules.

Seeking legal opinion on the status of structures, which have come up in seven villages — Zirakpur, Lohgarh, Bishangarh, Bishanpura, Himmatgarh, Dhakauli and Bartana, merged to form the civic body, the PUDA has sent the matter to the Legal Remembrance (LR) Cell, Punjab. But any “drastic” action against the structures, is unlikely to be taken by PUDA.

Earlier, the Department of Housing and Urban Development had issued a notification under Section 11 of the Punjab New Capital Periphery (Control) Act, 1952, directing that the land in the said notified area committee limits could be used for residential, commercial and institutional purposes.

Mr K.S.B. Sidhu, Chief Administrator of PUDA, has made it clear that since it was an important policy matter and the authorities were seeking legal opinion of the L R, Punjab, PUDA will act as per the opinions of the cell. He further said that no demolition drive would be carried out till the status of the constructions was clear. Only those structures would be considered valid which came up during the time the previous Nagar Panchayat. He further added that residents seeking no objection certificates for power connections and other purposes can approach the office of the Additional Chief Administrator of PUDA at SAS Nagar. PUDA will not take any drastic step till the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, takes a final decision on the Nagar Panchayat issue.

When asked whether the Punjab New Capital Periphery (Control) Act, 1952, would stand after the formation of a Nagar Panchayat or not , He said, ‘‘It does not mean that the Act is no more enforced in the area after the formation of the Nagar Panchayat’’.

Official, however, said that the colony residents who had got licenses and NOCs for the purpose of construction and electricity connections, were safe.

The Punjab State Electricity Board Authorities (PSEB) at Zirakpur, have discontinued releasing electricity connections to the consumers after quashing of the Nagar Panchayat.

‘‘Though the subdivision has not received any direction from the Board in this regard yet, no electricity connection is being issued to the consumers without having NOCs from PUDA’’, revealed Mr R.R. Garg, Executive Engineer of Zirakpur subdivision office.

However, the process of making revenue registries at the tehsil office at Dera Bassi are still going on. ‘‘We have not received any order in writing from the government about discontinuing the making of registries for the land pieces which were merged to form the civic body,’’ said Mr S.S. Sidhu, SDM, Dera Bassi.

A visit to the area revealed that construction in the area has picked up momentum since the Court has quashed the notification declaring the area, a Nagar Panchayat.


Unending agony for this canine
By Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 24 — The first blow to this hapless creature was dealt by nature which snatched two of its pups from it. Later, it was the alleged callousness of the human hand which caused her unending pain.

Mamta, a brown-black bitch was found by this correspondent in the Sector 32 market in August 1999. It was carrying its small dead pup. The month-old pup had been knocked down by some motorist driving this sensitive creature to a state of depression.

Though, after a report in the Chandigarh Tribune, it was tended to by some animal lovers, but the journey of pain did not stop here. It was admitted to the Sector 38 hospital-cum-rehabilitation centre run by an animal rights organisation, where it allegedly lost its second pup and was “unsucessfully” operated upon under the organisation’s animal birth-control programme.

Even after a year, wounds on its belly due to improper stitching during the operation refuse to heal.

Mr Raaj Maan, resident of Sector 35 and animal lover, who has adopted this bitch, alleged that officials at the Sector 38 centre had failed to treat it properly. “I sent it to Ludhiana for treatment, where I was told that it had to be operated upon again,” said Ms Maan, wife of Mr Raaj.

Dr Y.P.S. Mehta, head of the hospital, said he had advised Ms Maan to sent the bitch to the hospital for treatment and had even sent a vehicle to pick it up from the residence of Ms Maan, but it had not been sent.Back


‘Don’t tinker with roundabouts’

AS we all know, Chandigarh is developing and growing, at quite a rapid pace. So it becomes necessary to make efforts to maintain the basic character of the city. Other than the architectural character and the sector-wise layout that endears this city to most people is the feeling of openness, the feeling of space. Compared to the cramped congestion of most other cities, it is the wide roads, the large roundabouts, the gardens, the trees and flowers, the wide-open spaces, and last but not least, the cleanliness, that make up much of the basic character of Chandigarh. Unfortunately, it is this basic character that is being eroded, steadily. The installation of traffic lights in place of some other roundabouts may be a necessary evil. It is essential. however, to retain as many of the roundabouts as possible. They lend the city much of its beauty, and even if traffic around some of them slows down to a crawl during peak hours, they are still far more better than traffic lights. With traffic lights, only 25 per cent of the traffic is moving at any one time, with three sides of the intersection at a standstill. With assistance from a couple of traffic policemen during rush hours the congestion at most of the roundabouts can be controlled to a large extent. We definitely should not go on a roundabout-exterminating spree.

Some of the roundabouts laid out and maintained by Pasco Automobiles, and others, do look strikingly beautiful particularly the one at the sectors 7, 26 27, 28 crossing. However, now many others are coming up on the same pattern and it is getting monotonous. If you have seen one you have seen them all. It was a sad day for the city when CITCO, in its wisdom, decided to follow the trend and artificialise the exquisitely (and naturally) beautiful roundabout at the crossing of sectors 16 17, 22 and 23. That roundabout was a landmark of the city, with an expanse of grass, bordered with flowers and topped in the middle with a tree. To my mind, that was the loveliest roundabout of the city. But now it is just another artificial, brick-lined, run-of-the-mill island. To top it all, they have even built a wall around the tree. This provides a lesson in how not to go about trying to improve something that is already very good. It has become worse, after a large expenditure.

There was another large roundabout that used to be distinctive, because, each year during the season, it used to have loads and loads of petunias of different hues. During February and March the roundabout on Jan Marg and Madhya Marg has its own distinct beauty, because of the flowers laid out by the horticulture department. Now the fountain in the centre looks good when functioning, otherwise it just looks like an upside down matka. Hence it has come to be known as matka chowk.

In fact, it would be marvellous to make each roundabout distinctive, by the simple process of planting different flowers. Thus, if one had only petunias, another could have only calendulas, yet another only candytuft and so on. Seasonal flowers could be planted at least three times in the year. This artificial beautification is an indication that we prefer artificial things. Try as we may, we are still a long, long way from creating anything rivaling the exquisite beauty that mother nature manages to create effortlessly.

— Sarabjit Singh


Boy arrested for stealing cash
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 24 — The police has arrested a boy on the charges of stealing a bag containing Rs 15,000 from a person in the market of Sector 22.

According to police sources, Kamal Dev, a resident of Mohali, had gone with a friend to withdraw money. When they came out of the bank and were about to start their scooter, they were approached by Govinda, accompanied by a friend, who pointed to Kamal’s shirt saying there was something on it.

When Kamal placed the money-bag on the scooter to ascertain what was on his shirt, the duo picked up the bag and ran away. The matter was reported to the police. Sometime later, some cops saw two boys quarelling and approached them. They tried to run away but Govinda was nabbed after a short chase. His friend managed to escape. After initial interrogation, he confessed to the crime. A case has been registered while efforts are on to arrest his accomplice.

Woman robbed: Sector 38 resident, Susheela Arora, a housewife, reported that she was conned by a man and his woman accomplice, of four gold bangles, a chain and earrings near the Government Model School in the same sector. She said she was approached by a man who asked for directions to Sector 27. When she expressed her inability, a woman came up behind her and put something in her eyes. She lost consciousness and when she came about, her ornaments were missing. The matter was reported to the police and further investigations are on.

Smack seized: The police has arrested Gujri and Kali, residents of Dadu Majra colony on the charges of possessing 44 gm of smack. A case under Section 21 of the NDPS Act has been registered against them.

ISBT attendant held: The police has arrested Gopal Krishen, an attendant at the ISBT parking lot, and Jaswinder Singh, a resident of Badheri village, on the charges of snatching a purse belonging to Kajheri resident, Sandeep Singh. The purse contained Rs 105 in cash. They were caught red handed and were booked under Sections 356, 379, 411, IPC.

Minor abducted: Palsora resident, Parkash Masih, reported that his minor daughter has been abducted by Ranbir Singh, a resident of the same colony. A case under 363, 366, IPC, has been registered.

Liquor seized: Mauli Jagran resident, Rajesh, was arrested by the police for selling liquor illegally. 400 pouches of liquor were recovered from his possession. A case under Section 61 (1) (14) of the Excise Act was registered against him but he managed to escape.


Scooterist dies: A scooterist, ZA Khan, died after being hit by a canter near Phase I on Monday evening. A case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered.



Steps to curb illicit trade in butterflies
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 24 — The Zoological Survey of India, (ZSI), has issued instructions to the heads of its 16 regional stations to keep a strict watch on the persons engaged in the illegal collection of butterflies. The ZSI has issued the instructions on the directions of the Ministry of Environment.

According to the Director, ZSI, Dr JRF Alfred, there is a great demand of Indian butterflies , moths and pupae in foreign countries. There are many websites also that are helping persons in this illicit trade. It has been established by the ZSI that butterflies, particularly those belonging to families Pappilionidae and Saturnidae, are more in demand. The Director has asked the regional in charges to inform him regularly about the matter.

“The butterflies belonging to these two families are in demand because of their medicinal value. Although it is not an established fact, scientists believe it to be a good reason.” said Dr H.S. Mehta, Deputy Director, High Altitude Station of ZSI, Solan.

He said, “We usually keep visiting the collection grounds from where these butterflies are collected by entomologists. If we observe somebody collecting butterflies under suspicious circumstances we can report to the local authorities. We can also inform our director for the same.”

He said much trade was going on from Eastern Himalayas where these butterflies are in abundance. He said that their team could only come across the persons indulged in trade per chance.

“Once we were collecting butterflies in Ladakh region way back in 1997, where we came across certain people engaged in this trade. We were actually informed by WWF people and the traders were nabbed by the authorities,” said Dr Mehta.

The fact that butterflies were being smuggled out of India was established after thousands of these were confiscated at Bombay airport. Those specimens were from Himachal Pradesh and some foreigners were carrying these with them. They were questioned by the authorities and prosecuted. A professor from HP reportedly gave the information about the racket, said Dr Mehta.Back


Zinc factory: a bane for villagers
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, July 24 — A factory dealing with the production of zinc at Maheshpur has become a major cause of concern for the villagers as well as shop owners functioning in its vicinity. They regularly complained of a burning sensation in the eyes when work begins followed by unbearable stench.

Moreover, drums of chemicals have blocked the passage and have restricted movement in the area. Employees perform the task of powdering the solid zinc chunks right in the middle of the passage, cutting down movement even further.

A shopkeeper nearby says, “This is a chronic problem and all pleas to stop production work in the village have fallen on deaf ears. The fumes of the production process have made life almost unbearable for us.”

A villager, Ram Singh, complains, “We are tired of holding talks with the owner. Nothing has resulted so far. The matter was put before the panchayat also. The panchayat assured that it would be closed down soon. We are waiting for action, though ample assurances have been given already.’’

The villagers inform that all toxic waste from the factory is discharged into the sewers and is taking a toll on their health. Inhaling fumes from the waste has resulted in ill-health of a number of children, making them vulnerable to viral fever, they add.

A shopkeeper contends further, “We went to the extent of complaining to the police about the trouble. A preliminary enquiry was conducted and a compromise was worked out, without any results. The factory has been a bane for us for nearly two years.’’

The owner, Mr Vipin Gupta, says, “I am shifting out of the village very soon. I am aware that my factory has put the villagers and shopkeepers to a lot of inconvenience but suitable accommodation was not available earlier. I have also assured the village panchayat to give me time till the end of August. Meanwhile, work is in progress at a plot that I have bought in Dera Bassi.’’


Flour millers seek uniform sales tax
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, July 24 — The Panchkula Press Club organised a “Meet-the-Press” programme with participants from the North Zone Flour Milling industry and the city chapter of the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Secretary of the Flour Milling industry, Mr Vinod Kapoor, said that they were covered under the category of small-scale industries since 1970 and the policies and attitude of the government had gone from bad to worse. Moreover, with the increase in competition, the savings had been reduced considerably.

“The increased sales tax and the high cost of electricity are weighing heavy on the minds of members of our association. While the farmer is not taxed for his produce, we are supposed to pay tax on whatever we buy which amounts to injustice,” he said.

He demanded that a uniform sales tax must be implemented throughout the country and that while they do not require subsidy at all, there is a need to change the policies.

The General Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce and industry, Mr Rajneesh Garg, stated that the industrial area of the city was in a bad state and no efforts were being made to give an impetus to the industry. Further, he added that the state of the labourers was even worse.

“Initially, we had been promised regular electric supply, good roads and a clean environment. None of these promises have been fulfilled and what is more, patchwork has been carried out to fill the pot holes which have become a chronic problem,” he said.

Earlier, the president of the club, Mr P.P. Verma, said that though seminars and talks had been organised from time to time, this was the first time that such a programme had been held. He added that the club would provide various associations a chance to air their grievances.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |