Friday, July 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Administration suggests changes in advisory panel
More representation advocated for councillors
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 27 —The Chandigarh Administration has proposed certain changes in constitution of the Home Minister’s Advisory Committee suggesting more representation to the elected councillors than proposed in the ministry’s guidelines some years ago.

The constitution of the committee has been pending for a long time mainly because of the delay in the constitution of the union territory’s first-ever Zila Parishad. Now when the Zila Parishad has been constituted and election of its Chairman and Vice-Chairman held, the question of proportionate representation to the elected representatives of the people has come in the way.

The constitution of the Ward Committees, too, has been hanging fire for a long time now. The chances of these committees coming up in near future are remote.

The Union Home Ministry had circulated some guidelines for the constitution of the Home Minister’s Advisory Committees in the union territories. Since the guidelines were meant for all union territories, the Chandigarh Administration realised that certain guidelines were not applicable because of technical problems. For example, the city was without a Zila Parishad until the beginning of this month.

Similarly, the Zila Parishad represents only 10 per cent of the electorate against 90 per cent electorate represented by the Municipal Corporation. But the guidelines wanted five representations from the Zila Parishad on the committee against two for the Municipal Corporation. The guidelines also want the Chairman of the Municipal Corporation — a non-existent position in Chandigarh — to be nominated on the committee. Similarly, the local MP and a woman representative were among other recommended for nomination on the 15-member committee.

Sources reveal that the administration has now proposed that besides five councillors, the Mayor should also be nominated on the committee. This way, the administration wants that six of the nominated members should be the councillors thus reducing the representation to the Zila Parishad members in proportion of the electorate represented by them.

Once the new format is approved, the committee would be reconstituted, the sources said.

The Wards Committee, however, continues to be mired in controversies. At one stage, when Mr Kewal Krishan Addiwal was the Mayor, the committees were all set to be notified. At that stage, it was agreed that each Ward Committee would have eight nominated members.

Subsequently, when Mrs Shanta Abhilashi took over, it was decided that the Wards Committees would have 15 members each. Of these seven would be nominated by the corporation or the Mayor and the remaining eight by the administration. Subsequently, the Mayor insisted that all 15 nominations would by done by the civic body.

The Administration, however, maintained that each Ward Committee has to be a representative body and not a body representing people of one political shade. As such, the deadlock continues and the constitution of the Ward Committees is held up.Back


Electric trolley buses planned
Five routes short-listed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 27 — The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) in collaboration with the Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) has short-listed five major routes areas in the city where electric trolley bus system will operate.

This was disclosed by Mr D.K. Sinha, General Manager of BHEL, while giving a presentation about the system to senior UT officials, including the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), here today.

Giving details about the route, Mr Sinha said that Dhillon Cinema Chowk to Panjab University ( 14 km), Dhillon Cinema to Government Nursery (13 Km) , Old ISBT to New ISBT, Sector 43 (8.8 km), Sukhna lake to ISBT ( 11.5 km), proposed depot to Transport Chowk (4.4 km), have been identified.

This does not mean that trolleys can run only between these destinations but several routes will be planned within these areas to service a large number of destinations.

The bus will be like any normal bus with pneumatic tyres and would ply on normal existing roads like other vehicles. This would draw power from overhead contact wire. Unlike a railway engine the bus has a system of clip on to keeping contact with power of the overhanging wire. The entire project would require something like 3 mega watt of power.

The bus also enjoys good horizontal movement thus can run anywhere on the road and not stick to a fixed track as in case of electric railway engines, a source said while explaining the system. Meanwhile, during the presentation, Mr Sinha said the system is totally flexible to meet the changing needs of traffic diversions. Globally there are 30,000 such electric bus systems running. Initially for the Chandigarh project, a few buses having a capacity of 100 passengers would be imported with phased indigenisation through technology transfer and BHEL proposes to complete the project in two years, after it gets a go ahead from the administration.

General Jacob said the administration would examine the pros and cons of the proposal keeping in view its cost and benefit to the people as compared with alternate systems of transport. He asked BHEL to give a presentation on introduction of battery-operated buses on ancillary routes. The administrator said all possible options to finance the 100 crore project would be studied by the administration if it decides to go ahead. 


Trench-digging to be a thing of past
MC introducing trenchless technology
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 27 — Road cuts and trench-digging for laying underground cables and pipes will be a thing of the past in the city. This follows the proposal of the local Municipal Corporation (MC) to introduce trenchless technology (TT) in the city.

With the civic body banning the digging of the trenches and road cuts, it would now be necessary for the firms and government agencies wishing to lay underground cables to lay cables through the TT. Till now, various agencies, including the DoT and private telecom companies, were using conventional methods which destroyed the roads, walkways, footpaths besides defacing the landscape of the city. Apart from causing hindrance to the free flow of traffic and inconvenience to the citizens, it put the MCC to a great loss.

Sources told The Tribune that the new “micro-tunneling” technique —a unit of which cost anything between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1.25 crore— without disturbing the super structure can bore 2 inch to 12 inch diametre tunnels and also install ducts, pipelines and create infrastructure for communication, water and gas pipelines.

It may be mentioned here that “careless” digging by Essar Communications Limited (ECL) had led to thousands of telephones lying dead in several parts of the city for days together recently. In fact, the dug-up trenches and road cuts, which virtually become death-traps, particularly during the Monsoon season, had been a regular feature in the city.

Apparently alarmed at the serious consequences of the dug-up parts, the Finance and Contract Committee (FCC) asked the Engineering Department to study all aspects of the problems and come up with the solution. The department has now decided send technical details to the FCC.

The MC Chief Engineer, Mr Puranjit Singh, while confirming the ban on the road cuts, informed that ECL would now use this technology for the laying of underground cables. The civic body was even considering laying of ducts for firms if it was economical, he added.

Sources said with the Internet service providers (ISPs) and basic telephone operators approaching the civic body for laying underground cables, the new technology will prove a boon for the city. Besides minimising inconvenience to the general public it would maintain the landscape of City Beautiful.


Employees thwart bid to lock factory
From Kulwinder Sangha

SAS NAGAR, July 27 — An attempt to lock up the premises of Punjab Power Packs Ltd here today by officials of the Punjab State Electronics Development and Production Corporation backfired as employees had entered the unit much before the official time.

Employees said that they had got to know that the corporation was planning such a move. As a result a number of employees reached the factory premises around 5.30 a.m. today and sat outside the unit. At about 8 a.m. they entered the premises.

They further said that at 8.10 a.m. officials of the corporation arrived and saw that employees had already entered the unit. The security at the gate was then questioned as to why he had allowed the workers to enter before the factory time.

The agitated workers said that officials had planned to put up a notice and then illegally lock the factory but the employees did not allow them to do that.

A copy of the notice handed to this correspondent by the employees read like this: “The Board of Directors of the company have decided to close down the operational activities of the factory at B-98, Eltop Complex, Phase VIII, SAS Nagar, with effect from 31 July, 2000. Consequently, the premises of the factory would be closed to each officer/official/worker of the company from the opening of the factory hours on July 27, 2000. Each officer/official/workman may collect their legal dues from the entry gate of the factory from 0900 hrs till 1700 hrs on July 27, 2000.” The notice had been signed by authorised signatory for Punjab Power Packs Ltd.

The president of the Punjab Power Packs Workers Union, Mr Dharamjit Singh, demanded that the employees of this unit should be adjusted in other related departments before locking up the company. He said the Punjab Chief Minister and the Finance Minister repeatedly issued statements that no industrial unit would be closed down till its employees were adjusted elsewhere. Why was the corporation going against the statement of the Chief Minister, he asked.

It is learnt that seven officers of the unit had been given their dues today but 48 workers had refused to accept the offer as they alleged that the corporation was making only part of the payment due to them. Their pending bonus and LTC amount was not being added. Moreover, they alleged, that no benefit for the remaining years of service was being given to them.

Officials of the company were not available for comments.



HC appoints provisional liquidator for Punwire
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 27 — Appointing a provisional liquidator, Mr Justice J.S. Khehar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered that he would forthwith take charge of the assets and affairs of Punjab Wireless Systems Limited (Punwire).

Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice Khehar observed: “The liabilities of the company are mounting from year to year. The losses in the past two years have jumped up to Rs 200 crore and the admitted debt is Rs 300 crore. Besides, the wages to the tune of Rs 13 to Rs 14 crore are payable to its employees”. He also observed: “None of the creditor has been paid for the past two years. Even the employees of the company have not been paid for over a year”.

In his 11-page order, Justice Khehar observed: “In my view, there is absolutely no possibility for the revival of the company. In the view of the facts, it is just and proper to appoint a provisional liquidator, who can take the present assets of the company into his custody so that its assets do not wither away merely with the passage of time, there being no effective management in control of the company”. He also observed: “It is obvious that there is no revival scheme at present. The company is only hoping that its case will be registered with the BIFR. In that eventuality, it will get a temporary reprieve from its debts”.

Mr Justice Khehar concluded: “The claim made by the applicant for the appointment of a provisional liquidator is accepted. The official liquidator is appointed as provisional liquidator and he shall forthwith take charge of the assets and affairs of the company”. In his application for the winding up of the company, H.S. Oberoi and Associates had stated that Punwire was unable to discharge the debt. Counsel for the association had added that even after the issuance of statutory notice, not a penny was paid to the creditors.Back


Make police humane: Subramanian
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 27 — “It is quality and not quantity that can make the police humane,” says Dr S. Subramanian, a former Director-General of both the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the National Security Guard (NSG), maintaining that normal policing has suffered because of “disorder” in the country.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Subramanian, who is the founder chairman of the Hyderabad-based Association for Advancement of Police and Security Forces, says that India was deficient in police force. For a population of a billion, the total strength of the police forces, including the paramilitary forces, is only 1.25 million which is perhaps the lowest in the world.

He agrees that normal policing or civil policing has suffered.

Dr Subramanian is here in connection with a three-day workshop on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws for police and prison officers. The workshop is being conducted at the Sector 26 Institute of Correctional Administration and his association is its co-sponsor.

“What we need is quality and not quantity. What happens in the country is that whenever a public man goes to a police station, he meets a constable or a Head Constable. He does not get service or justice.”

“This situation can be remedied not by strengthening of the constabulary but by the officers’ cadre. The concept of qualitative policing has to come. The role of the police has changed. Instead of service to people, the emphasis has been on establishment protection. For example, in the Union Capital, there are 8,000 policemen on static security duty,” Dr Subramanian says.

Arguing in favour of training at the induction level, he says times have changed. “Before anyone can join, let him undergo a two-year diploma course in law, ethics, human relations, human rights and other such areas before he is inducted into the force. Pre-induction training must be made mandatory. Only then better quality people with a high degree of motivation can be found.”

Dr Subramanian says that he has been a strong supporter of the “demilitarisation” of the police besides reduction in numbers but improving quality of service.

“In my view, a police station should be like a good missionary hospital where the public gets sympathy, empathy and compassion. Visitors to police stations are peace-loving citizens as criminals would normally stay away from the police stations.

“A policeman should never use violence against citizens. The perception has to change from enforcement to enablement. The police has to enable people to live in peace. It is preventing crime which is important. Detection of crime is a negative aspect,” he adds.

Talking about the use of information technology in the police, he says Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the states which are far ahead of others in modernising their police forces and making them high-tech.

Some other states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, which have been concentrating on numbers , may lag far behind.

The rules have to be changed to make room for professionals to join the police force, he adds.

Dr Subramanian says the association has also started a novel project. It runs vocational courses for children of policemen and police officers who laid down their lives while discharging their duties. They are trained to become drivers. Two batches of 30 students each have already been trained while the third batch has started, he adds.Back


Rehabilitate stray animals: Maneka
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 27 — Union Minister for Social Justice and empowerment Maneka Gandhi has emphasised the need of educating people about the care of animals and more and more funds need to be raised for the rescue and rehabilitation of stray animals.

She stated this while talking to newsmen at Hotel Mountview here today. The minister was in the city in connection with the fund raising exhibition “A candle in the dark”, the proceeds of which will go towards the running of the 24-hour ambulance service, Jeev Rakshak Seva, Animal Hospital, Basera, free mobile veterinary camps at slums and villages, free sterilisation and vaccination against rabies of dogs and other projects.

The fund raising exhibition is being organised by Chandigarh chapter of the People for Animals (PFA) at Hotel Mountview and it will be open to public for two days from July 29.

While the Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, Lt-Gen JFR Jacob, will be the chief guest, Mrs Maneka Gandhi, chairperson of the PFA, will be the guest of honour.

The exclusive designs of the candles have been prepared by renowned film actress, Dimple Kapadia and her company Farwaway Tree. Besides this, special T-shirts and books will also be on display in the exhibition. 


Mixed response to HUDA drive
By A Correspondent

PANCHKULA, July 27 —The just concluded drive to remove encroachments in residential areas of the city has resulted in many hopes and despairs. Some people are happy while others are shattered.

The main purpose of the drive was to broaden the roads and to make footpath area for the people who walk on foot. The drive is over and the land is now freed. But the negative outcome of the drive has been the impact on open spaces outsides and adjacent to homes. Once well manicured lawns are now a place for animals to roam.

Mr V.K. Kapoor, President of the Residents Welfare Association, is concerned about the state of Panchkula. He says: “The government has totally destroyed the dream of the people to give Panchkula national recognition for its well maintenance and greenery. The government must consider all the pros and cons before the implementation of such policies, or alternatively run some policies to avoid growth of congress grass. The government must take steps to avoid all these problems before it is too late.”

Mr Pawan Madaan, a resident of Sector 9, believes the government has ruined the beauty of the whole city. The growth of the unwanted plants in the whole area has taken the place of the ornamental plants. In these plants there are some lethal plants which are leading to various allergies. The wild growth of these plants can also be the hiding place for thieves, he says.

Mr Pawan Khurana, a resident of sector 17, says: “We invested so much in parks and their maintenance. But now the condition of the park has deteriorated. After the drive none of us will make any voluntary efforts to clean the city. All beautification is replaced by cowdung and congress grass”.

Mrs Neera Bindra, a housewife, is concerned about her surroundings. She believes that the government must have adopted some systematic plan to go about the whole drive. “The government has removed the encroached land but now animals have become encroachers. HUDA has generalised the whole drive and has troubled even those who are not concerned.” 


Paramedical staff hold rally
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 27 — Members of the Punjab Paramedical Health Employees Union staged a rally in support of their long-pending demands in front of the state health directorate here today.

The protesters, who had arrived from various parts of the state, raised slogans against the state government for not accepting their just demands although memorandums had been submitted to the concerned authorities on numerous occasions. A large number of the agitators were women.

Their main demands are withdrawal of fixed travel allowance, rent free facilities, reducing the pay scale of staff nurse from Rs 5,800 to Rs 5,000.


Two held for kidnapping
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 27 — The police has arrested two persons on the charge of kidnapping a Bapu Dham Colony resident here this noon.

According to police sources, Sanjeev Kaushal and Anil Kumar, residents of Sectors 35 and 20, respectively, kidnapped Suresh Kumar after beating him in the presence of onlookers at his place of work at about 11 am. They later bundled him into their van and took him to various places in the city.

Some persons who had taken down the number of the van (CHOIW-0579), alerted the police and the vehicle was stopped by personnel manning a naka in Sector 34.

The complainant reportedly had been making obscene telephone calls to the female members of the family of Sanjeev for the past many days. Sanjeev managed to get the number of the STD booth from where the complainant used to make the calls, by installing a caller line identification kit and finally caught up with Suresh.

Instead of informing the police, he took along Anil and kidnapped Suresh. While further investigations are on, a case under Sections 365 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against them.

Poisoned: Ms Bimla Mehta of Kaithal reported that her son, Swantantar Kumar, had allegedly been poisoned by his in-laws. She claimed that he was visiting his in-laws in Kishangarh village and suddenly fell ill. He was taken to a hospital in Panchkula and after his condition worsened, he was shifted to the PGI, where he passed away.

She moved a petition in the court of the CJM, who directed the police to register a case. A case under Sections 302, 506 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered.

Assaulted: Mr Subash Chander Katyal of Sector 37 reported that Ram Lal and Rajeev Sood, accompanied by about 10 persons, assaulted him at his office in Sector 38. As a result of the attack, his arm was fractured. A case under Sections 147, 149, 307 and 325 of the IPC has been registered.

Scooter stolen: Mr Raj Mal of Sector 40 reported that his scooter (CHOIZ-8701) had been stolen from the basement of the Punjab Mini-Secretariat. A case under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Modesty outrage bid: A Panchkula resident reported that Mukesh, alias Rajni, and three others assaulted her and attempted to outrage her modesty. Mukesh has been arrested, but his accomplices managed to flee. A case under Sections 354, 323 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.

Remand extended: The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Sant Parkash, has extended the judicial remand of Sunita Bhatia till August 8, who is an accused in the infamous Sangeeta case. The CIA Branch of the Chandigarh Police had arrested Sunita under Sections 313, 494 and 376 of the IPC on July 10.

According to the complaint filed by Sangeeta, she was forced into flesh trade by Sunita, who was allegedly running a brothel from her house in Sector 44. The main accused, the husband of both Sunita and Sangeeta, Vipin Bhatia, is still absconding.


Woman dead: Suman, a 20-year-old married woman, was found dead in her house near Hanuman Temple here this afternoon. According to sources, the victim was found dead in her bedroom at about 2 pm by her brother-in-law, Mr Ganesh Gautam, who was staying with the family. He came to know about the death of Suman when he returned from an industrial unit where he was employed.

Mr Gautam told the police that Suman's husband, Mr Shiv Sham, had gone to another industrial unit for work. But the sources said the husband had not attended duty for the past three days. The body has been sent for a postmortem examination to the Civil Hospital at Rajpura.



2 Jhansi residents arrested
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, July 27— The police has arrested two Jhansi residents on the charges of defrauding a local resident here today. They were sent in police custody for a day and interrogation is on.

According to police sources, Ram Lal and Babu Lal visited Kot village resident Balbir Chand and showed him some gold coins which they claimed they wanted to sell at lower rates. When he showed his desire to buy they said they would come back the next day.

They turned up the following day and sold him five coins for Rs 1,000. When he took them to a jeweller for determining their purity, he was shocked to know that they were made of an alloy and not gold.

The information was passed on to the police and a case registered in this regard. Later, they were nabbed while trying to trick some other residents in the same fashion.

During interrogation the two revealed that they had 16 fake gold chains which they intended to sell and that they had tricked people at the bus stand and railway station in Chandigarh besides having done the same at the Delhi bus stand. The police has also recovered Rs 1000 paid by Balbir Singh.


8 firms short-listed for ‘wired city’ project
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 27 — A total of eight companies — all of them major players in the telecom and information technology sector — have been shortlisted by a team of the Chandigarh Administration for its futuristic ‘’wired city ‘’ project which entails providing of top class connectivity to city residents.

Out of these eight companies, a consortium of 4 or 5 will be picked up to collectively provide an optical fibre cable (OFC) backbone for the network. These eight have been selected after screening of ‘’expressions of interest’’ submitted by 40 companies. In the past 15 days a technical committee had been seeing detailed presentations made by the 40 companies. Each company was allocated time in advance.

Senior government officials will now hold discussion with these eight companies before finalising the list. The list of eight companies will be pruned down by a team of senior officials once the Secretary, Information Technology-cum-Finance Secretary, Mr Rakesh Singh, joins back duty on August 3.

Sources, while giving out details of the list — that is yet to be rated according to any preferences or merits — said the shortlisted companies are RPG, a Chennai-based telecommunication giant; Larsen and Tubro, another Chennai-based IT major; Zee, a popular television channel broadcaster; BPL, that operates a cellular service in a prime telecom circle, besides being into telecom hardware; and Bharti Telecom, which is into basic telephony and into telecom hardware.

Hathway, is another company on the list, has a network in the southern and western states. Also on the list is HFCL, which already has licence to provide basic telephones in Chandigarh, and the eighth company on the list is Spectra Net that is providing an optical fibre cable backbone in Gurgaon and Delhi.

Sources added that the Administration will prefer a consortium of 4 to 5 companies to avoid any monopoly of a single company. Among the finer aspects of the contract will be that digging up of city berms will be carried out only once as spare ducts will be put in place in one go. Anyone wanting to use the ducts later will pay up to the consortium. There will be no road cuts as the companies will be asked to use trenchless technology which entails horizontal boring to go under the road.

As per the Government of India’s instructions, the companies wiring up the city for information technology network will get free right of way. This means they have to pay no royalty or fee to the local Municipal Corporation.

To start with every two sectors will have one node from where the last mile till the subscribers homes will be covered by coaxial cables. For this the companies can also tie up with local cable operators to provide Internet connectivity through television sets. 


Corporation to recover loan money of 1.13 crore
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 27 — An amount of Rs 1.13 crore is due to be recovered by the Chandigarh Scheduled Caste, Backward Class and Minorities Financial and Development Corporation from its loanees. This sum is the total of various loans the corporation has given.

The corporation acts as a channelising agency for the National Minorities Finance and Development Corporation. As per information, the total demand for loans since 1979 till June 30 this year has been Rs 3.5 crore. Out of this, a recovery of Rs 2.38 crore, amounting to 67.80 per cent of the total loans, has been made. However, a shortfall of an amount as big as Rs 1.13 crore is a clear indicative of laxity on part of the corporation in the recovery of loans. Since the loan is available at extremely low rates of 6 to 8 per cent, there are many takers for the loans.

The official version claims that the amount recovered till date is being maintained at a safe 70 per cent.” This is much more than what the agencies in Punjab and Haryana have been able to recover”. Officials also claim that most of the pending loans fall under the category of the loans for commercial vehicles.” We always face a problem in this section as vehicles can meet with an accident. Moreover, at the time of the recovery, the owner could be out of station.”

Though officials admit that they can never recover 100 per cent. “However, the sureties are given by the government employees. As soon as there is a default, we issue a notice to the defaulter. The second step is to try to recover the money from the guarantor. Thereafter, the complaint is sent to the Sub Divisional Magistrate, who subsequently issues arrest warrants.”Back



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