Thursday, August 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Toxic effluents play havoc with villagers' lives
Decline in crop and milk yield; stink all pervasive 
From Bipin Bhardwaj

DERA BASSI, Aug 9 — Toxic effluents flowing in the Sukhna choe, which falls in the Ghaggar river, is playing havoc with the lives of villagers residing along the banks of the river downstream.

Crops and vegetation are being damaged, milk yield has dropped and the residents complain of health problems like skin rashes and burns. Underground water is highly polluted making it unsuitable for human as well as bovine consumption. Incidents of cattle dying after drinking the highly toxic water are common in these villages.

The problem is compounded with the dumping of industrial waste and the sewer discharge of Chandigarh and Panchkula. All these are presently channelised into Sukhna choe and are adding to the problem.

A common sight is large frothy balls formed by the toxic effluents all along the choe and another rain-fed choe from Panchkula. The stink is all pervasive at many places.

The Sukhna choe, which has the dubious distinction of being the second worst polluted tributary of the Ghaggar river after the Jharmal rivulet, has been posing a severe threat to crop, cattle and human life. The worst affected stretch is from Colony Number - 4 in Chandigarh to Bhankharpur village where it empties into the Ghaggar.

Reports and laboratory tests show that the pollutants have filtered down adversely affecting ground water. The water of more than 50 tubewells in this area have been spewing white froth which smells foul and is an indication of water pollution in this belt.

The polluted water has not only damaged the crops sown in different cycles but also reduced the yield. to almost half. Polluted water drawn by the tubewells in this area has left dark brown marks on the walls of the tanks made for the storage purpose.

Moreover, the plants of various crops and other vegetation have dried up at the spots where the froth collects.

Besides skin and respiratory related diseases to the human beings, consumption of the polluted water by the milch cattle has reduced their life span and declined the yield of milk for the past a couple of years in this area, reveal medical experts.

According to veterinary surgeons, "by drinking this water, there has been an alarming rise in the cases of abortions and premature deliveries of cattle in the past two years. Water-borne diseases, worm infestation, anorexia and upper respiratory problems are also adding to the toll. It may be recalled that 22 sheep died and 20 fell sick after consuming polluted effluents of an industrial unit situated near Lalru in March.

Residents of the area complaints that besides the discharge of sewer and industrial wastes from Chandigarh and Panchkula some nearby industrial units are also discharging their effluents into the rivulet throwing the norms to air.

The contaminated water has also posed a threat to the health of the residents of this area, as a number of water-borne diseases are spreading in the entire stretch.

Mr Surinder Singh, a heart patient farmer of Nagla village, said "I used to drink water drawn by the tubewell in lunch after working in fields four years ago. Unaware of the water pollution, I regularly consumed water which damaged my heart. To be alive, I spent lakhs of rupees to go for a by-pass surgery. Now being disabled it not possible for me to woke hard. But who to blame ?" he lamented. "The production of rice and wheat has dropped almost to half. Earlier, I used to yield over 30 quintals of rice and wheat from an acre but due to the polluted under ground water the yield has come down to about 17 quintals," claimed Mr Pritam Singh, another farmer.

The residents of this area said a few years ago one acre yielded more than 150 bags of potatoes compared to today’s 80 to 90 bags. The same was the case with maize and other vegetables.

"The wells, more than 250 feet deep, provide good drinking water. Being poor, we cannot spend much money to bore deep wells and are forced to consume contaminated water," laments Mr Vijay Aggarwal, a resident of Mubarikpur village.

Residents of the area have demanded that concrete steps should be taken by the Government of Punjab and adjoining state governments to make the rivers and their tributaries pollution-free so that the human and animal lives and the environ ment besides crops be saved.

The authorities of the Punjab Pollution Control Board were not available for comments.


Convent schools ignore national anthem
By Nishikant Dwivedi

CHANDIGARH, Aug 9 — The four convent schools in the city have not included the singing of national anthem in their morning assembly schedule.

The four schools — Carmel Convent, Sacred Heart, St. Anne and St. Johns High School — have not been reportedly doing so in routine morning assembly. At St. Anne, the anthem is, however, sung after the classes come to an end.

The students are made to say their prayers, read out news headlines, express the thought of the day, besides a few other activities but no time is spared for the anthem.

When asked about the allegations regarding convent schools not giving due respect to the national anthem, Father Thomas of the King Cathedral in Sector 19 countered, “Its baseless. No one can question the patriotism of Christians”.

Brother C. D. Abreu, Principal of St. John’s High School, Sector 26 said, “We do not feel like having the national anthem daily”. He further added, “We want variety in our morning assembly and national anthem is like any other thing”.

When contacted, the Principal of Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, answered, “I have just taken over and am not aware of what is happening in other schools”.

Former Principal of the school, Sister Lucetta, when questioned recently, had said: “I do not believe in students singing the anthem daily as they stop giving due respect to it”.

But what about daily prayers. “If one prays to God even without giving the due respect, the Almighty listens to him”, said Father Thomas.

According to him, “Prayer and national anthem cannot be compared. Do you think that by making the students sing national anthem daily you can make them patriotic?”

Regarding the singing of the anthem being a tradition, he said, “There is no law which makes it binding and it is the discretion of the individual institute”.

When some students were asked to sing the anthem, the results were surprising. Only a few students were able to sing it properly.

The Principal of Sector 8 DAV school, Mr Ravinder Talwar, was shocked to hear that the schools were not holding the national anthem. He questioned: “Aren’t they part of the country”.

The President of the Association of Independent Schools and Principal of Shivalik Public School, Mr D. S Bedi was not aware of this practice. He said, “Country comes first. During the forthcoming meeting of the Association, I will table a resolution for making the national anthem compulsory in the morning assemblies”.

The President of the Chandigarh Unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Surat Negi said, “Our organisation has forced those schools who do not hold national anthem daily to make it part of their assembly”. He warned that an agitation would soon be launched if the schools do not start it immediately.

What does the Constitution say about the national anthem? According to the Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Surinder Kumar, “Article 51 A of our Constitution says that our fundamental duties include paying respect to the national flag and the national anthem’’.


Civic poll: 64 more file nominations
From Kulwinder Sangha

SAS NAGAR, Aug 9 — Scenes marked by the bursting of crackers, sloganeering and the beating of drums were witnessed outside the Municipal Council office here today as more persons filed their nominations for the civic elections slated for August 20. Some prospective candidates turned up with a large number of supporters to file their papers.

Despite the enthusiasm of some candidates and their supporters, a sense of fear lurked in the minds of many contestants that the poll may once again be put off in view of a case regarding the delimitation of wards of the civic body pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The poll has already been put off twice earlier for various reasons.

No nomination paper had been filed by any candidate on August 7. By the evening today 64 persons had filed their nominations bringing the total to 68 as only four persons filled their nomination forms yesterday.

All former Municipal Councillors except three — Mr Harinder Pal Singh Billa (former president), Ms Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha and Ms Sita Devi Sharma — were till today reported to be contesting the elections.

Candidates and their supporters swarmed the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO), Mr Jai Pal Singh, at the council office today as he checked the filled nomination forms. Still there were errors in the poll rolls which supporters of candidates had not cared to get rectified and problems arose when forms were being presented.

Mr H.S. Bhullar, executive member of the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha, said a meeting was held yesterday at the residence of

Mr Tara Singh Ladhal, a Punjab minister, where it was decided that the BJP would contest nine seats and the SAD 18. There are 27 seats in the council.

It is learnt that the BJP is likely to contest the poll on the party symbol, while the SAD had yet not decided whether it will allow candidates to use its symbol. Even the Congress candidates are contesting the elections as Independents from all 27 wards. It is reported that in certain wards two to three persons of the same party are interested in contesting the elections which has made it difficult for the parties to allot their symbols.

Mr Hardeep Singh, SGPC member and supporter of SHSAD chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, said party would put up 14 or 15 candidates, but they would contest as Independents. “We don’t have a registered party symbol and that is why they will be in the fray as Independents”.

He was hopeful that the poll would be held as scheduled because the SAD-BJP government had “exhausted all ways to postpone elections”.

Mrs Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, General Secretary, PPCC, said the court should take an early decision in the matter. The election process had started but people were still not sure as to whether the elections would really be held or not, she added.

The ERO said that all arrangements for the elections had been made and they would be held as scheduled.

Tomorrow was the last day for filing nominations. On August 11 the nominations forms would be scrutinised and August 12 had been fixed for withdrawals.


Forest Department and HUDA at loggerheads
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Aug 9 — Having paid award money twice to the actual owners of a piece of land in Sector 1, the Forest Department and HUDA have locked horns over the issue of its possession and a solution is not in sight with both unwilling to give up their claim.

The land in question, over one acre, is in the eye of the storm especially because of its prime location with the Forest Department and HUDA wanting to cash in on its vantage position. While HUDA acquired the land for developing it commercially by construction of booths which was even initiated, the Forest Department wanted to make a nursery at the same place.

It is learnt that the land was first acquired in March 1965 by the Forest Department after payment of award money. However, the officials failed to get it mutated in the name of the department and the name of the original owners continued to figure on the revenue records of the department concerned.

Interestingly, the same piece of land was once again acquired by HUDA in 1973 for commercial purposes and a part of it handed over to the Tourism Department. Later, when HUDA began construction of booths in accordance with its plans, the Forest Department stepped in and construction work was suspended.

Since then officials of the two departments have been engaged in a battle of sorts. In a meeting held in 1997, it was decided that the Forest Department would hand over the possession of the land to the Tourism Department which will maintain it as green belt. In lieu of this the Forest Department would be allotted land in Rohtak or Faridabad. However, the arrangement did not work out and yet another meeting was held.

The Forest Department decided to revert back to the earlier position on the matter and retain the land. Meanwhile, as soon as HUDA got wind of the change in stance, they appealed for a review of the decision in their interest and the matter was taken up at the level of the Chief Minister. Here, it was decided that the Forest Department would hand over the land to HUDA and they would allot an alternative site to the Forest Department for developing a nursery.

One year hence, HUDA is harbouring the grouse that in spite of repeated reminders to the Forest Department and proposals of transfer of equivalent land in the green belt have failed to elicit any response from the authorities concerned.

Meanwhile, the Forest Department rues that this decision of allocation of equivalent piece of land was taken without seeking their approval in the matter and that they will not let go of the land only to oblige HUDA unless a decision to this effect is taken at the level of the Commissioners managing the two departments.

Also, sources in both departments added that they are well armed with documents of acquisition of land and money lost by way of award, waiting for talks to begin. While HUDA officials opine that construction of booths at the site would mean big money for them and not worth wasting the land on a nursery, Forest officials say that the proposed nursery would be a lucrative option at the site since anywhere else it would not be in the public eye and would not get the returns they are expecting while stating that no proposals for the same have reached them so far.


CBI asks for in-camera Senate meeting
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 9 — The CBI in a letter to Panjab University has asked for in-camera recording of proceedings of the university Senate on August 13. This means that media will remain out of the discussion area.

This is happening for the first time in the history of the university in the session dedicated to discussions on giving permission to the CBI for prosecution of Mr Sodhi Ram, former Controller of Examinations, embroiled in the ongoing paper-leakage case.

Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, told mediapersons today that the CBI had asked for in-camera proceedings of the Senate for permission for prosecution of Mr Sodhi Ram. The VC said he differed slightly with the CBI communication because the agency had not kept in touch with the Senate right from the day Mr Sodhi Ram was arrested except for the communication for in-camera proceedings.

He said the university had also invited officials from the investigation agency to attend the Senate meeting.

Professor Pathak expressed definite plan of action for 'overhauling the crumbling the examination system' in the university. "The university will make efforts to pick up three-four officials to head certain centres to be identified with the system directly which increases the responsibility ", he said.

The university was thinking of making the system of evaluation for postgraduate courses a round-table one for speedy results. In the existing system, they received the papers individually. At places the examiners were showing lack of pace while the non-teaching officials delayed the result tabulation in certain cases , he said.

One big confusion doing rounds in the academic circles is the importance of Bachelor of Computer Application courses Professor Pathak said. 'Information Technology' angle needed to be studied more carefully because of confusion. A crucial meeting of the coordination committee consisting Vice-Chancellors of Punjab is stated for August 18.

When questioned about a very small list of scholarship holders, he said that it was surprising that the university did not receive any applications in several scholarships. One reasons could be very small funds being given as scholarships. A committee will study the case to recommend new sums.

When questioned about the status of superannuated personnel who had been shown the doors of the university, it was told that except the Chief Security Officers the remaining had quit.


CTCC protests against massacre
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 9 — The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) today organised a rally in protest against killings of Amarnath pilgrims and policies of the Chandigarh Administration in Sector 17 here.

Congress activists assembled outside the office of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) in the morning and condemned barbaric incidents in Jammu and Kashmir and demanded a judicial probe into the killings. Various "anti-poor" policies of the Administration and the MCC came in for severe criticism.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion were Mr B.B. Bahl, president of the CTCC, Ms Lalit Joshi Bhardwaj, Mahila Congress chief, Mr Ram Pal Sharma, INTUC chief, Mr Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, Mr Sandeep Singh and Mr Devinder Singh Babla.

Later, they marched in procession to the DC office to submit a memorandum and "gheraoed" it when they found that the DC was not in the office, a press note claimed. After prolonged persuasion of Mr Pirthi Chand, SDM (C), the memorandum was submitted to him.

The memorandum, while flaying decision of the BJP-led government to withdraw subsidy on Khadi products, wanted that the income tax limit should be raised to Rs 1.20 lakh. The policies, intending to ruin the small scale, village and cottage industries, were also criticised in the memorandum.

While demanding the regularisation of the services of the ad hoc and work-charged employees, it demanded the simplification of the procedure of converting the leasehold property into freehold, besides regularisation of the need-based changes in the tenements and the Chandigarh Housing Board dwelling units.

Coming down heavily on what the memorandum called "mud-slinging" by the BJP councillors, it opposed various taxes imposed by the corporation. It demanded the immediate implementation of the recommendations of the committee which recommended basic amenities to over 2,000 houses built outside "lal dora" in UT villages.

Demanding the setting up of a committee under a specialist to suggest amendments in the building by-laws, the memorandum wanted that Chandigarh should be declared a "slum-free" zone and adequate civic amenities provided in the labour colonies.

Meanwhile, a section of the Youth Congress, led by a former chief of the local unit of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) chief, Mr Vijay Pal Singh "Dimpy", organised a parallel dharna near Matka Chowk to protest against the killings. Mr C.P. Mittal, a former secretary of the IYC, and Mr Devinder Singh "Babbu", president of the Punjab unit of the IYC, were prominent among those present.

Though Mr Dimpy claimed that the dharna was organised on the directive of the IYC, Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, president of the local unit of the IYC, denied that it was a Youth Congress show.



Happiness lies in simplicity

HAPPINESS has different meanings for different people. The secret of happiness lies in the simplicity of life. In today’s world, torn by conflicts, doubts, tensions and worries we ourselves do not have an idea about: why we want to remain happy? What is happiness? Does it lie in wealth, affluence, fame or power?

In its pursuit to gain power, wealth and fame, man has forgotten the principles of humanity. Today’s world is a materialistic world. Man is overbusy and has no time to spare, especially for leisure. Every one is worried for one’s own material well-being. To achieve anything in life, money is not the only factor. Wealth can give us joy but only temporarily. Someone might have all the money but still cry for joy.

Again, happiness differs in degrees and it is relative. It is a state of mind and a realisation. You need to realise what would make you and everybody around you happy. It takes very little or perhaps nothing for each of us to share some moments of happiness with others. One must know the correct values of life and possess a strong character. We must give positive ideas as negative thoughts weaken us. One must also be optimistic. What is important is the peace of mind.

Money and other materialistic things are important for a good living. But the correct use of money is more important. One is never satisfied with what one has.

Success does not mean wealth. An unselfish man is the most successful one. But generally we all have an element of selfishness in us. Whenever we do something for others, we expect something in return.

In pursuit of materialism, man is making valuable sacrifices. It is all worth nothing and we must realise before it gets too late. We all should dedicate ourselves to the task of ensuring a peaceful and lovely world, free of tension, jealousy, politics, cruelty, hatred and make it a wonderful place to live in. It is the act of love which brings happiness to all.

— Ambika Kumar



Retired employees of government-aided 
schools meet CM
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 9 — A deputation of retired employees of government aided schools today met the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The deputationists requested for a provision of pension for those employees who retired from aided schools before February 5, 1987.

Mr Manohar Lal Chopra, General Secretary of the Punjab State-Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union, said in a statement here that the Chief Minister had directed the authorities concerned of the Punjab Education Department to examine the demand and to put up a detailed case to the Finance Department. He said that at meeting with the Chief Minister, Finance Minister, Captain Kanwaljit Singh, Education Minister, Tota Singh and Local Bodies Minister, Balramji Dass Tandon were also present.



One held for rape of minor
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 9 — The police has arrested a resident of Sector 45 on the charge of raping a minor.

According to police sources, Naushad lured a 14-year-old girl, living in hutments near the Shahpur roundabout to his cycle repair shed and raped her. She narrated the entire episode to her parents, following which the accused was arrested. A case under Sections 376, 342 of the IPC, has been registered.

Arrested: The police has arrested a resident of Haryana Mian Singh, for plying a truck on a fake registration number. The number used, HR-39-2560, is already allotted to another vehicle. A case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of the IPC, has been registered.

Girl abducted: Sector 32 resident K.P. Singh reported that his daughter had been abducted by Deepak Kumar, a resident of the same locality. A case under Sections 363, 366 of the IPC has been registered.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested Kulbir Singh, a resident of Rudraprayag, and recovered 24 bottles of whisky. A case under Section 61/1/14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Car stolen: A resident of Sector 12 in Panchkula J.S. Chauhan reported that his car, CH-01K-2586, had been stolen from the parking lot in Sector 17. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.



Man reported missing
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 9 — Mr Inderjeet Singh, Joint Director, Local Funds and Accounts, Punjab, is missing since Saturday.

According to his son, Harvinder Singh, his 53-year-old father left for Kharar to collect rent from their tenants.

“We have rented out our house since we have government accommodation in Sector 22”. That was the last we saw of him. He neither reached Kharar nor returned home, he added.

We have checked with all our relatives and efforts by his colleagues to trace him at various gurdwaras have proved futile. The police has also been informed, he said.


Arrested for molesting girl
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Aug 9 — The local police has arrested Varinder Kumar, a shopkeeper of Phase 7, on the charges of kidnapping and outraging the modesty of a 14-year-old school girl.

According to sources, Varinder Kumar, along with Dilbir Singh, kidnapped the girl near the traffic lights of Phases 3-7, who was on her bicycle, in Maruti Esteem car. They alleged took the girl to a shop in Phase 7, where she was allegedly molested.

The medical examination of the girl has been conducted and a case registered.


Pollution Control Board clears 2 large projects
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 9 — The Haryana Pollution Control Board today announced that it had given clearance to two large projects worth Rs 10,000 crore being set up in the state.

One of the projects was a power plant being set up by the Indian Oil Corporation jointly with Marubeni Corporation of Japan. This project, with an estimated investment of Rs 2,585 crore, would have a capacity of 415 MW and produce 2365 million units of electricity. The power plant would be using petroleum coke, which was produced in the Panipat refinery, as its fuel and it would not depend on coal to be brought from collieries outside the state. For setting up the project-environment friendly technology was being used, an HPCB communiqué said.

The other project related to the expansion of the Indian Oil refinery at Panipat and the setting up of a petrochemical complex. The expansion plan would entail an additional investment of Rs 3,365 crore to increase the capacity of the refinery to 12 MMTPA. This project would employ nearly 400 persons and it was likely to be in production by mid-2002. The expansion would contribute to the state coffers Rs 350 crore in the form of sales tax and Rs 200 crore further as excise duty.

The petrochemical project would be using naptha from the Panipat refinery and it would entail direct investment of Rs 4,228 crore. From this the state exchequer would benefit to the tune of Rs 300 crore from sales tax and excise duty and it would create job opportunities for 530 persons.


Traders hold protest against ST-38
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Aug 9 — Traders of the city got together and organised a rally to express their unity on withdrawal of ST-38, here today, though shops remained open following a decision by the Beopar Mandal and the Vyapar Sangh.

Members of the Beopar Mandal led by the President, Mr Kuldeep Chitkara, raised slogans against the implementation of the decision and demanded immediate withdrawal irrespective of the relaxations given to the traders. Later, a memorandum was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Monga.

The demands include withdrawal of transit form and establishment taxes, no sales tax on halwais and bakeries. At a meeting of the association held last evening, it was resolved that the ST-38 could not be accepted since there was every possibility of misuse and misappropriation of the blank form duly signed by the dealer.

Moreover, they reason that in most trades, purchasing parties are different and deals are matured through agents while the dealers maybe operating from remote areas especially in cases of marbles mines which may delay business transactions, Mr Chitkara said.

The rally organised today comprised presidents of the various market associations only. The Senior Vice-President, Mr B.B. Kochhar, said that this was only the beginning and they were willing to close down the establishments and organise rallies if the government did not given in to their demands

Though the two associations of traders, the Beopar Mandal and the Vyapar Sangh, had supported the bandh call, they had called it off following relaxations announced by the Chief Minister. While the Vyapar Sangh had expressed satisfaction with the relaxations offered, the mandal had decided to organise a rally.

Ambala: Traders of the city observe bandh here on Wednesday in support of the call given by the Haryana Beopar Mandal and some other political parties.

The traders took out a procession at Ambala cantonment. According to the Deputy Commissioner, Ambala, the bandh remained peaceful in the district.

At Ambala City wholesale cloth market, Saraffa Bazaar, Railway Road, Kotwali Bazaar and Shukalkund Bazaar remained closed completely along with chemist shops and halwai shops. In Sabji Mandi the effect of bandh was very normal.

However, at Ambala cantonment, Sadar Bazaar, Rai Market, Kasera Bazaar and Bajaja Bazar, Kabadi Bazaar and Gur Bazaar remained closed. Some of the chemist shops were opened along with industrial units.

Mr Arun Garg, president of the district unit of the mandal, claimed that the bandh was successful. On the other hand INLD leaders namely Mr Jasbir Malor (MLA Naggal), Mr Rameshwar Dass and Mr Surjit Singh Sonta said in a statement that the bandh was not successful. 

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 |