Sunday, July 30, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Godrej-GE employees lathicharged
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, June 29 — The nine-month-old agitation by the Godrej-GE Employees Union took a serious turn when a posse of police resorted to lathi charge in front of the factory premises in Industrial Area here today. At least 15 members of the union were injured in the cane charge.

The problem started at around 12. 45 p.m when the agitating workers protested against the alleged demand of the company’s management that the workers wear their safety shoes when entering the factory. Mr GS Negi, a member of the union, said the management had given lockers to its employees to keep their shoes and uniform and as per the norm, the safety shoes had to be put on only in the work place.

When the workers protested, the police was called to cane charge the employees. While the police officials said it had orders from a court, restricting gathering of workers within 50 metres radius of the company, the workers alleged that workers sitting in a tent put up at a distance of 50 metres from the factory were also injured in the lathi charge.

The union leaders said at least six persons, Balwinder, Manoj, Rajinder, Pankaj and Prithpal, were bundled into a waiting police Gypsy and taken to the Phase 1 Police Station. The workers showed injury marks on head, arms and other parts of their body, inflicted by the cops, who were around 50 in strength.

When this correspondent went to the factory to take the official version, a Personnel Manager (HRD) of the company, standing at the gate, asked the purpose of the visit. On being told, he went back into the factory. Repeated efforts to contact the General Manager of the company, Mr SC Popli, failed to elicit any response. A police official said one of the workers had attacked a security personnel of the company with a screw driver. At least six members of the union, earlier taken into custody by the police, had been booked for an alleged trespass on the basis of a complaint lodged by the company.

Meanwhile, the dharna by the union entered its 246th day today. The union had ghaeroed the Phase 1 police station here a few weeks ago to protest against the alleged pro-management action being followed by the police in connection with their agitation.


Petrol, diesel may cost more in city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 29 — City residents will soon have to pay more for petrol and diesel as the present taxation regime is not in line with the limits set by the empowered committee of finance ministers for the implementation of uniform sales tax.

This was stated by Mr M. Ramsekhar, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Excise and Taxation Commissioner, while speaking at a workshop on sales tax, organised by the Chandigarh branch of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

Sales tax was contributing to 70 per cent of the annual revenue of the Chandigarh Administration, Mr Ramsekhar said, adding that a stricter collection regime can net in twice the sum being collected now.

At present, Chandigarh faces a problem of officers. Giving an example, he said in 1968 there were 1735 dealers with six officers overseeing the operations. Now there are 22,000 assesses but the staff has actually been reduced to five as one officer is attached exclusively for excise work. This leaves almost 4,000 assesses per officer, whereas the average should be ideally 500 assesses per officer.

The staff shortage is also affecting the audit work of sales tax assesses. But to get additional staff a sanction is required from the Government of India, he added. So much of sales tax work also requires more people dealing in sales tax laws, he said while exhorting the Chartered Accountants to take up sales tax work also.

Earlier, Mr Anil Mitra from Delhi, said that Chandigarh should made audit for sales tax compulsory. Already Delhi and Maharashtra have proposed do so while Kerala and Karnataka had imposed it some time ago. The institute also provided basic knowledge about ST to its members.

Members asked questions on sales tax that were answered by Mr Mitra and Mr Kamal Aggarwal, who also explained how to go about various steps of sales tax.

The President of the chapter, Mr S.K. Bhasin, requested the commissioner that audit of co-operative housing societies should be handled by CAs as the staff of the co-operative societies was very meagre. Later, while informally talking to the members Mr Ramsekhar asked if such a provision existed in Delhi. He was informed that a panel is listed by the Delhi government.


DC favours draw of lots for filling chambers
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 29 — Recommending the filling of vacant chambers at the Sector 17 District Courts by draw of lots, UT Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate Mr. M.Ramsekhar has also suggested the removal of unauthorised occupants after issuing notices.

In an affidavit before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Deputy Commissioner suggested that the draw of lots should be held for allotting the chambers to “eligible candidates who had applied for allotment”.

He added that the chambers, after the draw of lots, should be “filled by taking the consent of the principal or the co-allottee”. This, he claimed, would help in avoiding friction as otherwise the chamber might be allotted to advocates not getting along very well.

He also stated that “principal allottee or co-allottee had no right to assign his slot or any vacant slot in the chamber to anybody including his children at his own level as per the terms of allotment”.

Going into the background of the problem, he stated that several chambers had been occupied by advocates without authorisation, “perhaps with the active connivance of the original allottees”.

He added that 108 chambers were allotted in 1986 “but with the passage of time the number of legal practitioners enrolled with the District Bar Association increased manifold while several original allottees left the practice or passed away”.

Expansion of the lawyer’s complex to solve the problem of accommodation, he added, was not possible “as the foundation of the building could not take any further load”.

Regarding the encroachment of the passageway, he elaborated that “several lawyers were squatting in the corridors in the District Courts building, obstructing the movement of people, causing annoyance as well as hazard from the safety point of view”. 


Protests outside factory premises
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, July 29 — Scenes of strong protests against the Punjab Government and the management of Punwire were witnessed here today outside the Phase 7 premises of the factory when a provisional liquidator was taking charge of the assets of the company. The liquidator has been appointed on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana Court.

The liquidator, escorted by security personnel, sealed the assets of the company at the Phase 7 of the Industrial Area. Yesterday, the company’s assets in Phase 6 had been sealed.

Members of the Punwire Employees Union charged the police for threatening the employees when the process of taking charge of the company’s assets was in progress. While the police officials said the certain employees had prevented the staff of the company from handing over the charge of the assets, the employees denied this.

Meanwhile, three more cases of cheating and fraud were today registered against officials of Punwire. According to information available, the cases have been registered on the complaint of Mr Shakti Tewari, an official of Punwire Mobile Communication Ltd. In the first case, it has been stated that Nidhi Verma and Ved Parkash caused loss to the company to the tune of Rs 5.63 crore. In the second and third cases registered against Gurpal Singh, Ved Parkash, DK Singla, it has been stated that the officials inflated the cost of paging project.


New technology to solve water problem
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, July 29 — People of this region will not have to face water shortage following the introduction of a new technique of sinking tubewells where the water table has fallen to more than 700 feet.

Now, it will not only be possible to draw water from more than 2,000 feet, but also harvest rain water by recharging the ground water level. The tubewell dug by this technique will not only draw more water but also provide drinking water. Moreover, a stainless steel water filter will prevent encrusting, prolonging the life of the tubewell from 25 to 30 years.

One of the first of its kind in the region, a tubewell installed on a trial basis by Mr Gurnam Singh, a renowned tubewell engineer of a Chandigarh-based company, was inaugurated by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance and Planning Minister of Punjab, here yesterday.

Mr Singh claimed that the tubewell has been sunk as an experiment for finding out the depth of the water table, besides determining the depth from which pollution-free drinking water could be drawn. “My main purpose was to provide good and unpolluted drinking water to the residents of this area, where the tubewells sunk by the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation have either dried up or are pumping water which is unfit for drinking’’, he claimed.

Mr Gurdarshan Singh, his son, pointed out that the cost would vary from Rs 12 lakh to Rs 20 lakh depending on the depth of the tubewell. “We have sunk a tubewell at a depth of 1, 230 feet at a cost of Rs 12 lakh. We also have a proposal to sink a tubewell at 3,000 feet”, he added.

Moreover, the rain water can be utilised for drinking purposes after recharging it, following the latest technique of drilling tubewells. The designing of the tubewell is done with the help of an Electronic Well- Logger which demarcates accurately the potential granular zones, confirming the quality and quantity of available ground water, he revealed.

The company has installed more than 2, 600 deep tubewells in different areas of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal.


Kali awaits roof for her temple
By Nishikant Dwivedi

CHANDIGARH, July 29 — Devotees coming to pay their obeisance a Kali Mata temple near Dhanas are surprised to find it roofless. Built by migrants from Chennai in UT’s forest belt, the temple has a saffron cloth protecting the Mata’s idol for the past 34 years.

“Rainy season is the worst. In the absence of a roof it becomes very difficult to carry on with regular offerings”, says sewadar of Periya Nazhagi Ammal Temple, Mr Kalongi.

Two and half years ago the temple management started constructing a permanent structure. They were able to erect seven pillars and a beam. “But just as we were going to lay the roof we were stopped by the forest officials”, alleges langar organiser of the temple, Mr Kedarnath, .

Deputy Conservator of Forests and Wildlife Warden, Mr H.S. Sohal, however, justifies, “the temple is in forest land and we will not allow any construction under any circumstances”. He adds: “The area is a declared reserve forest and nobody has any right over it”.

The managing committee of the temple which is a registered body, claims to have a large number of devotees. “Every Sunday, we hold a langar of Kari-Chawal,” asserts president, A. Murugasan, “and at least 200 -250 people come to seek Mata’s blessings. We do not want any confrontation with the forest people but one can understand the importance of a roof”.

This is not all. The committee members allege that the forest officials repeatedly remove the sign boards bearing the temple’s name, thus causing inconvenience to the devotees.

The migrant labourers have about 350 families in the city and they say the Mata is their mother deity. “We worship her as our Badi Maa”, claims one of the devotee.

According to the committee members the temple was built here in 1966. “ Earlier the temple and even the Mata’s idol was made in clay, but later in 1994 we made the Mata’s idol and the floor beneath her in cement”, says Mr P. Pandu, vice president of the committee. The temple came to be located here when, in 1964, migrant labourers from Tamil Nadu were shifted to the area where the Panjab University stands today. “We were again shifted to other parts of the city but the temple remained here”, says Mr Kalongi.

A temporary road leads through the forest to the temple. In the main temple the Kali Mata idol standing on concrete ground is protected from rain and sun by a makeshift roof of saffron cloth. “We erected the pillars and the beam, but we are afraid of putting a roof because it can irritate forest officials and they will take no time to demolish the temple”, says Mr Kedarnath. 


Frisking of army men flayed
Tribune News Servi

CHANDIGARH, July 29 — The Rashtriya Raksha Dal has strongly denounced the action of the Special Protection Group (SPG) in frisking Army personnel who were on duty at the celebrations held to honour those who had laid down their lives in the operation. A leading national daily had carried a photograph of a SPG official frisking a uniformed jawan on July 27.

Col (retd) Harsharan Singh, president of the party, said this action amounted to casting aspersions on the loyalty of the army personnel. “Is the army officer, under whose command the men were, not competent enough to place reliable persons on sensitive duty? Is the police force more loyal to the Prime Minister than the army? Is the Defence Minister safe when he interacts with heavily armed army personnel during his visits to the field areas? Was the function held to honour the man in olive green or to insult him?” he questioned.

“It seems that since Kargil has been righted, it was time to insult him. Is it any wonder that with such an approach and publicly demonstrated distrust of the soldier, he is still being paid as per the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission on the icy heights of Kargil, while all others are enjoying the benefits of the Fifth Commission,” he pointed out.

It is a sad comment on the state of affairs that soldiers are facing public humiliation at the hands of those persons who are prone to go on strike at the drop of a hat, yet their loyalty to the government is suspect, Colonel Harshran added. 


Was it a suicide?
From Nishikant Dwivedi

KHARAR, July 29 — It was an evening like any other. Karamjit Kaur did the cooking, washed utensils, had a chat with her family and finally went to her bed. Next day, bodies of Karamjit and her lover Avtar Singh, tied together with a cloth, were recovered from the village well. Tired of opposition of their affair, the two had blindfolded each other before making the final exit from world after entering into a suicide pact.

What actually happened on that fateful night is anybody’s guess. The story doing the rounds is: the two were not meeting each other for quite some time but were certainly in touch on the phone. They took the dreadful decision on the phone.

That night, at about 2 a.m., Karamjit silently left her bed to meet her paramour at the well, a small distance away from her place. The two tied a cloth around their waist before blindfolding each other with a strip torn from Avtar’s shirt. The duo then jumped into the well.

At around three in the morning, when Karamjit’s father Balwinder Singh woke up, he found his daughter missing. He contacted the village sarpanch. Being aware of Karamjit’s involvement with Avtar, the sarpanch went to the latter’s house. Avtar, too, was missing.

A manhunt was launched. But it was only in the morning that someone informed the aggrieved families about the presence of two pairs of bathroom slippers near the well.

Two village boys were asked to go down into the well in search of the bodies. They found the lifeless lovers entrenched in the mud below, head over heels.

The police was called and the bodies were removed before being sent for the post-mortem. The report by the Roopnagar Civil Hospital said the two had died due to “asphyxia by drowning”.

Interestingly, the sucide note left by Karamjit stated that the extreme step was taken out of guilt and she had no right to live as she had tarnished the reputation of her family.

Unanswered questions

Did the duo commit suicide or was a victim of some foul play? The suicide note of Karamjit is dated July 27 while the bodies were recovered a day before. The sarpanch said the two might have decided to prepone the decision. According to some villagers, it was unlikely that she would write a note in advance.

Karamjit’s note stated that she was committing suicide as she had tarnished the family’s reputation. Had this been the case, would she have jumped into the well along with her lover? the villagers question. They add that there was no immediate reason for the two to take the extreme step. The parents agree to it.



Puppies get a new lease of life
By Monica Sharma

CHANDIGARH, July 29 — But for the sympathy and kind heartedness of a girl, four maggot infested puppies would have perished since their mother had lost all interest in looking after these.

Ms Akanksha Saxena, a dog lover, was moved when she saw the new-born puppies in such a horrible condition and could not resist helping these.

The residents of the area also ignored these. A female puppy was yelping. According to others, this was going on despite a veterinarian living nearby. The reason he gave was that he did not have the proper equipment and gloves to attend to the canines.

One day, when Ms Akanksha went to visit her friend, she chanced upon the puppy crying. She picked up the puppy and took it to a vet. The puppy was infested with maggots, worms and lice. After cleaning it up, she fed it with milk with the help of a syringe.

The other day, she also got the remaining puppies to her place, which were also treated and fed in the same fashion. The fifteen-day-olds were quite weak. Because the wounds of one of the puppies, its tail had to cut off. Ms Akankasha, with the help of Rajeev, a dog trainer, cared for the puppies. She applied ointment and cream on the wounds gave the puppies proper diet. In the initial days, she fed these herself.

Her mother was against keeping the puppies at home since they had a stray bitch. She said,’’ It was the sorry state of the pups that moved me. But seeing the dedication with which Akanksha served the puppies, I agreed to keep the puppies till somebody adopts them.’’ Two puppies have been adopted.


Workshop on water supply
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 29 — A two day workshop on rural water supply and sanitation concluded here today with a consensus emerging to evolve an action plan to combat the severe problem of depletion of ground water in Punjab.

A spokesman of the state Public Health Department said that the department should involve voluntary organisations, non government organisations and panchayats to bring awareness among the masses about the proper utilisation of available water and to improve the deteriorating sanitation conditions in the state.

The spokesman further said that the districts of Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Moga and Sangrur were utilising their available water potential from 100 per cent to 275 per cent, resulting in annual decline of one metre in the ground water level.

It was also pointed out that against the national average of 37 per cent Punjab was utilising 98 per cent of its ground water resources.


Gyan Jyoti scheme
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 29 — The Sector 32 branch of the State Bank of Patiala has launched a scheme to extend financial assistance to needy and deserving students pursuing higher studies. The scheme called Gyan Jyoti will advance a sum of Rs 1 lakh to school and college students in India and Rs 8 lakh or 90 per cent of the cost of studies whichever is less would be extended for technical and professional students in India and abroad. The loan amount can be paid back in 36 to 60 instalments.


Society’s plea
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 29 — The Residents’ Welfare Society, Sector 46, has urged the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) to re-write the house number plates in Sector 46-A. The number plates have become illegible and the visitors find it difficult to locate houses. The association also urged the authorities to repair the road cut opposite the community centre. 


Milk plant staff celebrate vanamahotsava
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, July 29 — The local milk plant, whose operations, as per the quality policy, are stated to be eco-friendly, today translated the slogan “One man, one tree” into practice by celebrating vanamahotsava in a big way on its premises.

A large number of milk producers from villages and plant employees took part in the function, planting one sapling each. The function began with the plant Chairman, Mr Baldev Singh Chakkal, the Managing Director, Mr Man Mohan Munjal, and an employee planting a sapling each. There were 15 to 20 varieties of plants, including bamboo, teak, neem, palm and amla.

Ten plants were given to each milk producers’ cooperative society for planting at the village level. There are about 800 cooperative societies under the local milk plant. Those societies, which were not represented at today’s function, will be supplied with plants at their respective locations by the procurement staff. Mr Chakkal said a campaign would be launched through the milk producers’ societies in villages to check atmospheric pollution.


YWCA observes Vikas Parv
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 29 — The Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) of Chandigarh observed ‘Vikas Parv 2000’ here today. The programme on the theme,” training and skill development” was organised in association with the Central Social Welfare Board, here today.

The aim of the workshop was to impart skills to the girls and women from the lower social and economic sections of the society so that they could become economically independent.


Lawyers inconvenienced in the absence of canteen
From Kiran Deep

CHANDIGARH, July 29 — Canteens at the Sector 17 District Courts are not catering the requirements of advocates any more. These were closed a few days ago as the contract was not revised. In their absence, the makeshift canteens near the entrance are flourishing.

In the absence of the canteens, the advocates are having a tough time. “There is no place from where we can order tea and something to eat,” says an advocate practising there. Another advocate having a chamber inside the complex says, “We have canteens just outside the building. Even a dhaba and a milk bar are there outside but we have little time to spare to go out and have tea”.

The problems encountered by the advocates do not end here. There is always a struggle for space to park vehicles. In the absence of adequate parking space, lawyers and litigants park their vehicles in the middle of the road. Dustbins are rarely visible. As a result, plastic cups are strewn all around. There are the bees flying all around. Advocates having chambers near the gate have no alternative and they remain there, always facing the danger of bee sting.

The chambers’ problem also continues. There are nearly 1500 registered advocates and every year, many more join the profession. Many advocates have chambers in the open corridors with just a bench and two chairs. Noise pollution is another problem. In the local court, a petition was filed against the Chandigarh Administration against noise pollution. The complainant, Mr Arunjeev Singh Walia, while visiting the court rooms of different courts, felt that the lawyer arguing the case could not be heard due to noise pollution.


1 killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 29 — A city resident succumbed to his injuries after being hit by a bus.

According to police sources, Sector 27 resident Nitin Tyagi was hit by a CTU bus, CH-OI-G-8184, near the poultry farm roundabout in the Industrial area. He was rushed to the GMCH, Sector 32 and the PGI with serious injuries but died. The accused has been arrested and booked under Sections 279, 304- A of the IPC.

Chain snatched
Sector 22 resident Manjula Thakur has reported that two unknown scooter-borne boys aged around 18-19 years snatched her gold chain near the Arya Samaj Mandir in the same sector and sped away.

A case under Sections 356, 379 of the IPC has been registered .

Poppy husk seized
The police has arrested Shyam Sarup, a resident of Bareilly, UP, on the charges of possessing 20 kg of poppy husk. He was stopped after alighting from a bus at the ISBT. He has been booked under Section 15 of the NDPS Act.

Whisky seized
The police has arrested Raja, a resident of Bapu Dham colony, on the charges of possessing 100 pouches of whisky. He has been booked under Sections 61/1/14 of the Excise Act.

Five arrested
The police has arrested five persons from various places in the city on the charges of gambling. While Ashok Kumar, Partap Singh, Raju and Rajesh Kumar were arrested from the Sector 22 taxi stand, Mewa Lal was arrested from a coal store in Sector 7. Cases under Section 13 -a/3/67 of the Gambling Act have been registered against them.

Eve-teaser held
The police has arrested Mohinder Singh, a resident of colony number 4, on the charges of eve teasing, from the Industrial area. He has been booked under Section 294 of the IPC.

Theft case
Mr Rao Dass, a resident of Ram Darbar, has reported that someone had stolen his Tata Sumo, CH-OI-Q-8517, from his residence. A case under Section 379 of the IPC, has been registered.


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