Friday, August 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Liquor vend looted, two hacked to death
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 17 — Unidentified persons struck at a liquor vend in Sector 24, hacked to death two employees sleeping inside and reportedly decamped with nearly Rs 40 to 45 lakh in the wee hours this morning.

The deceased have been identified as 34-year-old Roop Lal and 28-year-old Nand Kishore, working as salesmen at the liquor shop owned by Lada Liquors. The godown of the group is also located in the same building. The owner of the group passed away last year. The firm is now being operated by his associates.

One of the bodies was taken out from the toilet in the rear of the shop, while that of the other was lying in a pool of blood on a bed in adjacent to the counter in the front. They had been hacked with a sharp-edged weapon and the brutality with which they had been done to death was evident by the blood-splattered walls. The neck of one of the deceased had been nearly hacked off. The entire floor was covered with blood.

According to Mr Tilak Raj, another employee and the complainant in the case, “I tallied the sales and left the shop with other employees at around 11 pm. At that time, the two were having their meal. That was the last I saw them,” he said in a choked voice. He has been working in the shop for the past 15 years.

“This morning, I reached the shop at about 6.30 am and was shocked to see that the door was locked from outside. Normally, the shutters in the front are downed and the back door is used by everyone to go out. I entered the shop and saw the body of Roop Lal lying on a cot in the front of the shop. I then looked around and found that the body of Nand Kishore had been dumped in the toilet. The whole scene was horrific. They had been cut with a sharp-edged weapon. Wads of currency were strewn near the safe and were covered with blood. The telephones too had been disconnected,” he narrated.

Commenting on the large amount of money in the shop, he said Rs 45 lakh was lying in the safe, which was to be paid to the Administration towards settling the monthly instalment of the shop. There were no signs of forced entry. It was surprising that the duo had let somebody inside, especially when they knew that there was such a large amount of money in the shop. Both had been working for quite some time and had been strictly instructed not to let anyone enter, no matter what happened, he added.

He informed the police, following which the entire area was sealed. Senior police officers reached the scene and conducted investigations. Police parties were also asked to scout the nearby open areas for the murder weapon or any other possible clue.

The officers were of the view that preliminary investigations point out that this could be the handiwork of an inside person, who knew the deceased so well that they opened the door for him and his accomplices. The person also knew that these were the days when the instalment was to be paid and lakhs of rupees were there in the shop.

Nearly Rs 7 to 8 lakh which left behind was mostly currency of small denomination. This established that they did not have space or means to carry all the money. Nobody seemed to hear or see anything, although some people were asleep on the first floor. The watchman is also being questioned. A case under Section 460 of the IPC has been registered.

This is the most gory, daring and biggest robbery in the history of the city. The murders have sent shock waves in the city and has the police on the mat as to how the incident has happened in one of the most well protected and peaceful sectors of the city.

Questions are also being raised as to how such a gruesome tragedy has taken place at a place which is just 150 metres from the Sector 24 police post. The area is also home to senior officers of the local Administration, Punjab and Haryana, besides High Court judges.

With no senior officer to brief the waiting mediapersons, scribes had to resort to tapping their sources to ascertain what exactly happened. The entire area had been turned into a fortress, with cops turning away all the reporters and photographers.

Those waiting since 9 am had to sweat it out till the waiting scribes were allowed to enter the premises at about 12.30 pm. By that time, tempers were running high and talk of boycotting further police functions, arrest of gangs and recoveries effected was in the air.Back


Tax on 58 life-saving drugs goes in UT
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 17 — Patients can heave a sigh of relief as the Chandigarh Administration has exempted as many as 58 life-saving drugs from sales tax. A notification to this effect has been issued by the UT Finance Department. They will no longer have to pay double the prices for some of these costly drugs.

Following this decision, the prices of life saving drugs in the city will be on a par with those of Punjab. Earlier, when 8.8 per cent sales tax was levied on these drugs, people preferred to buy them from SAS Nagar and Panchkula, where it was comparatively lower.

According to information, the Administration had doubled the sales tax to 8 per cent in February, last year, following which the life-saving drugs in the city became the costliest in the northern region. While in Haryana these drugs were being sold with 7 per cent sales tax, in Delhi it was still lesser at 5 per cent. And the Punjab Government had in a notification issued a year-and-a-half back totally exempted all these life-saving drugs from sales tax, keeping in view their importance to the treatment of a patient. Now, sales tax on these drugs has also been exempted in many other states, including Haryana, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Interestingly, the administration has changed its mind over the issue of levy of sales tax on these drugs at least thrice during the past two years. Earlier, 4 per cent sales tax was being levied, but the same was increased to 8 per cent in February, last year. A further surcharge of 10 per cent was also levied on this. But now it has been completely exempted.

The Chandigarh Chemist Association had since long been demanding the exemption of sales tax on these drugs, which are crucial for a patient. Mr Prem Sagar Jain, President of the association, while hailing the administration for taking this decision, has sought that tax should also be exempted from medicines prescribed for cancer, TB and AIDS patients.

The association has in a fresh circular issued to all the chemists provided a list so that they sell these drugs at the revised rates. This includes intravenous fluids such as 5 per cent dextrose, dextrose saline, haemacel, ringer lactate and mannitol. Besides, there are eight antibiotics, namely ampicillin, C-penicillin, gentamicin, ciphlosporin and metronidazola.

Tax has also been exempted on certain medicines for controlling blood pressure such as adrenalin and dopamen and anagesics such as pentazoocine, diazepam, morphine and pathedine. Among the steroids which have been exempted are dexa methasone and beta methasone. The other drugs include aminophyllinand deriphyllin, paracetamol injections, metachlopraimide and phenargan. A few other medicines for controlling heart problems and ailments in women have also been included in the list.


Telephone services improve
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 16--Claims of the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) notwithstanding, trunk services from the city and the surrounding areas continued to remain disrupted for the fifth day today on account of software problems in the Trunk Automatic Exchange (TAX) network.

Hundreds of consumers wanting to dial their relatives and friends

in and outside the country were in for a disappointment as they could not get through the desired number even after repeated attempts. In a majority of cases, the subscribers could not get connected to the desired number and had to listen to the oft-repeated recorded message: " All lines in this route are busy, please dial after some time".

And when some of the lucky ones indeed got connected the conversation got disrupted midway repeating the same message, alleged several residents and STD booth owners. And repeated efforts to dial the number proved a futile exercise.

The problem was acute during the evening hours when the concessional tariff was in operation. A majority of the residents had to return disappointed from the STDs booths even after wasting hours at the booths.

The most-affected during the last five days had been the general public, who had not been able to contact their relatives particularly on occasions such as Rakshabandhan. "I wanted to confirm from my brother in Calcutta whether he had received the rakhis I sent but had not been able to get his number for the past three days," complained Ms Rashmi, a housewife.

Not only trunk services, services of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and fax services had been disrupted thus affecting the commercial activity. The ISPs complained that the complaints were piling up although it was not their fault. And broadcast, particularly the news broadcast, had also reportedly been affected by the fault.

Meanwhile, Mr Prithipal Singh, Principal General Manager Telecom, when contacted, claimed that the exchange was "under observation" and had been "stable" since morning. However, independent inquiries revealed that there had been only a slight improvement in the telecom services.

And with the lines almost down for the past five days, the STD owners are at the receiving end and there had a continuous decline in their business. Before the fault the daily sales at the booth was around Rs 2,000 but now it has come down to about Rs 700, said Mr Sohan Singh, an employee of an STD booth in Sector 35.

It is not merely a question of business being affected but our goodwill is going down with the each passing day and that too without our fault, alleged another STD owner.


Ajaib not eligible for Senate: PU
His 12-year period as Senator 'illegal'
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 17 — In a significant decision, Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, today rejected the candidature of Dr Ajaib Singh for the forthcoming Senate elections.

The landmark decision holds special value because Dr Ajaib Singh has been a member of the Senate with the same capability under similar capacity from the past nearly 12 years.

Against objections filed by Mr Ashok Goyal and Dr B.M. Singh, the university announced, "Dr Ajaib Singh's candidature is hit by disqualification imposed by the Panjab University under Section 16 of the Act'.

Mr Goyal in his arguments maintained that "he was declared eligible under a wrong decision of the Syndicate in 1988. He was not eligible even then. The 12-year period has been termed 'illegal'. That Mr Ajaib Singh figures in the list of non-teachers in the official document of by the university Registrar submitted in an ongoing litigation in the high court.

"The decision of the Registrar and Returning Officer is accordingly set aside and the nomination papers of Dr Ajaib Singh are rejected", the official order signed by Professor Pathak reads.

The candidature of Dr Ajaib Singh was rejected from the arts faculty a few days ago. The University Act clearly reads, "Disqualification for election: the whole time paid servants of the university, except those on the teaching side, shall be disqualified to seek elections to any elected body of the university."

The objections against the candidature were filed by Mr Goyal, Mr Pawan Valecha, Dr B.M.Singh and Mr Jagdish Rai Sharma. The Director of the Centre for Adult, Continuing Education and Extension is considered a non-teaching post.

The parties concerned were asked to be present in VC's office yesterday at 4.30 p.m. Dr Ajaib Singh was accompanied by his counsel, Mr B.S.Walia. Mr Walia wanted more time to file a reply and the hearing was adjourned till 9 p.m.

Dr Ajaib Singh's name does not figure in the list of voters published by the university for ordinary fellows, from the constituencies of university professors and the constituency of university lecturers and readers.


Roads, lights, drains, parks, water, power — 
you’ll get it all
From Kulwinder Sangha

SAS NAGAR, Aug 17 — With just two days left for the polling day on August 20 in the Municipal Council elections, canvassing by almost all candidates has become hectic.

Bright-coloured posters of all sizes have appeared in various wards not only on public property but also on walls of private houses in certain areas. Banners, too, can be found hanging across roads and elsewhere. Many voters found the use of loudspeakers mounted on rickshaws hired by contestants a source of nuisance. Apart from the most common door-to-door canvassing, contestants were going in for corner meetings.

A talk with various candidates in wards 8 to 13 indicated that the focus was once again on local issues. There were promises galore to voters, most of whom are keeping their preferences a closely guarded secret.

Mr Nand Kishore Marwaha, former municipal councillor, who is in the fray from ward 8 as an Independent, says he wants sodium vapour lamps installed in place of tubelights to improve the streetlight system, particularly on C roads. He wants the C roads to be widened by at least 4 feet on either side. He points out that PSEB transformers in his ward are not able to take the required load, often resulting in power failures. He wants to motivate the people of the area to voluntarily disclose their power loads so that transformers of the required capacity can be installed.

Mr Puran Singh Kirti, an Independent from ward 8, is against the shifting of the bus stand from phase VIII to phase VI. He says at present, the bus stand is centrally located and by shifting it to one side of the town, people will be put to inconvenience. He wants an auditorium to be constructed in the town to encourage cultural activity. Among the other issues that are of concern to him are cleanliness of parks, repair of roads and road gullies and better water and power supplies.

The other candidates from ward 8 are Mr Hem Raj, Mr Surinder Pal, Mr Ravinderjit Singh (Independents) and Mr Dalip Singh Malhi (SAD).

In ward 9, an Independent candidate, Mr Manjit Singh, says that green belts in his area are being allotted to a school and a dispensary by PUDA, which he will oppose. He says the town cannot be kept green and clean if such steps of the authorities are not opposed tooth and nail. He also demands an improvement in the water and power supply position. He condemns the state government’s decision of putting ministers “on duty” in the town to look after the interests of the SAD candidates contesting the elections from various wards.

Mr Arvinder Singh Bedi, another Independent candidate from ward 9, says that sanitation is almost non-existent in phase III A and the reason for that is mainly the jhuggi colony adjacent to the area. The area near the Public Health Department tubewell stinks. Stray animals, he says, are a common sight. He favours proper development of the ward, including an improvement in the water and power supply systems and effective drainage of rainwater. He opposes PUDA’s policy on the resumption of houses, claiming that the authorities lack any concrete policy on the matter.

The others in the fray from ward 9 are Mr Bhag Singh, Mr Raghbir Singh (both Independents) and Mr Surjit Singh Chahal (SAD).

Ward 10, which is reserved for women, is witnessing a seven-cornered contest. Those in the fray are Ms Inderjit Kaur, Ms Sukhjit Kaur, Ms Kulwant Kaur, Ms Narinder Kaur, Ms Manjit Kaur, Ms Mohinder Kaur and Ms Vijay Kumari. Here, too, the issues are local in nature.

A former Vice-President of the Municipal Council, Mr Manjit Singh, who is contesting as an Independent from ward 11, says during the past five years, various development works were carried out in his ward. He says that he is not fighting the elections only for the betterment of his ward but for making the town an important place. He promises that problems of the public that come up will be solved.

Another candidate contesting from ward 11 is a SAD nominee, Mr Paramjit Singh Kahlon. He wants a proper drainage system in his ward because rainwater often enters houses, causing a lot of inconvenience to the occupants. He says a swimming pool site has been earmarked in the area and he will pursue the case so that it is developed at the earliest. He also opposes the shifting of the bus stand from phase VIII to phase VI. He wants to get all parks developed, get more dustbins for the area and ensure adequate facilities at the post office in the ward.

Twelve candidates are contesting from ward 11. They include Mr Amarjit Singh, Mr Sukhwant Sandhu, Mr Santosh Singh, Mr Gian Chand, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Daljit Singh, Mr Paramjit Singh Saini, Mr Birdivinder Singh, Ms Balwinder Kaur and Lal Chand (all Independents).

Mr Surjeet Singh, an Independent from ward 12, says his main focus will be on improving civic amenities like the supply of water and power. Besides, he will strive to develop parks, get stormwater gullies cleaned, press the authorities to provide more playgrounds for children and fight the menace of pollution.

Another contestant from the same ward is a former municipal councillor, Mr Amrik Singh Bhatti (Independent). He says he is against the shifting of the main bus stand from its present central location. He opposes the privatisation of octroi collection and is against any rise in the water and sewerage charges. He claims to have done a lot of beneficial work for the ward during his previous term as councillor and promises to remove the shortcomings if elected once again.

There are four contestants in all from this ward, the others being Mr Saudagar Singh and Mr Karnail Singh, both Independents.

Ward 13, again reserved for women, is witnessing a five-cornered contest. Ms Deep Kaur (Independent) says she will get the government primary school in ward 13 upgraded to the level of a middle school, demand the posting of two more doctors in the government dispensary in the area, seek an independent water connection for the HE quarters and press for the restoration of houses whose allotment has been cancelled by PUDA.

The other contestants from ward 13 are Ms Jyoti Rai, Ms Naresh Kumari, Ms Baljit Kaur (all Independents) and Ms Veena Verma (BJP).

Meanwhile, Mr Arvinder Singh Bedi, a contestant from ward 9, has complained to the police that a number of poll banners belonging to him were torn up by some miscreants. On Monday, Mr Avtar Singh Walia, a candidate from ward 6, had alleged that some of his banners were also torn up.



Police seizes cassette in Rani Balbir case
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Aug 17 — The Patiala police has claimed to have recovered an audio cassette, according to which Rani Balbir Kaur. Professor in the Department of Indian Theatre, allegedly demanded money from a person wanting to go to the United States as part of her troupe.

The Patiala police had registered a case against Rani Balbir Kaur last week on the complaint of Mr Jagjivan Singh, in which the latter had claimed that Rani Balbir demanded Rs 12 lakh for return of his and his wife’s passports after they were granted a visa by the United State’s embassy for going abroad as part of her troupe. Rani Balbir and her assistant Neel Kamal had been arrested subsequently and remanded in judicial custody. They were let off on bail two days back.

Addressing a press conference here, the Superintendent of Police (city), Mr Gurpreet Singh Gill, said the cassette proved the contention of the police that Rani Balbir had demanded money to return passports of her troupe members after they were granted visas. Giving a detailed version, he said Rani Balbir had been arrested after following the due procedure and that the Chandigarh police had been taken into confidence in the matter. He said action in the case had been taken after submission of affidavits.

The police officer also presented two torn pages from passports of the complainant and his wife, Ms Inderjit Kaur. He said Rani Balbir had admitted, when questioned by him after her arrest, that the passports had been torn while in the custody of her family. He said subsequently the passport leaves had also been retrieved by the police.

He said two more complaints had been received against Rani Balbir from two other troupe members, Mr Preetinder Singh and Mr Sandeep Passi. He said both the complainants had submitted that Rani Balbir had taken Rs 50,000 and Rs 40,000, respectively, from them and had also demanded Rs 6 lakh each from them after they were successful in getting visas for a visit to the United States as part of her troupe.

Meanwhile, though the case investigating officer, Mr Tarsem Lal, did not know any details of the main complainant. The Superintendent of Police admitted that the main complainant was his relative. When questioned whether it was appropriate for him to be in the forefront when this was the case, he said he was not the supervisory officer in the case and that the case was being supervised by a Deputy Superintendent of Police.

Mr Gill admitted that he had questioned Rani Balbir after she was brought to Patiala. When questioned whether the antecedents of the complainants were also being verified, he said this could be done during investigation, but added that it was an open and shut case as incriminating evidence had been recovered from Rani Balbir. He said Rani Balbir’s daughter Komal was also a co-accused in the case and had been charged under Section 120(B). She is presently absconding.


Students still lapping up second-hand books
By Kiran Deep

CHANDIGARH, Aug 17 — There might be attraction in glamour, but modesty is still all powerful. The observation comes true when one visits the various book shops selling second-hand books in the city. These shop owners in Sectors 15, 16, 24 and 17 and Attawa chowk are doing a roaring business.

What makes these shops and stalls tick in the present era of fast communication where a lot of world literature is available on-line is the fact that they not only store rare books (like Geetanjali) and make available all conceivable course books to students but also sell the books almost half the market price. They cash in on the student strength of the city which happens to be one of the major centres of education in the country. The shops, which have almost any book on any topic, are actually acting as motivators for the youth, especially the book lovers.

There are various old book stalls in the city, the most famous being in Sector 15 (just opposite Gate no. 2 of Panjab University). Other shops are located in Sectors 16, 17 and 24 and Attawa.

When the Tribune talked to a cross-section of students and asked them as to what drew them to such stalls, most answered that the stalls offered a lot of scope of bargain, apart from the fact that they stored rare collection of books and magazines.

Amit Singh, a former Panjab University student, said: "You name any book and they have it. I had been a student of the university for six years and I was so used to coming to these stall that once a week I had to take a round of this place to see what new they had to offer. Whenever I had free time, I would come here and start searching for books. I would often come across some good books which I had never spotted earlier."

Setul Verma, software professional and a book lover, said that he was fond of books right from his childhood and was inspired by his father to keep a good collection of books. "My father was a teacher in the university and had a huge collection of books. A few years back I bought a second-hand Readers' Digest magazine from here and reading the same changed my vision extensively. Since then I have been coming here."

Ranjan Kumar, a lecturer in Physics Department of Panjab University, also spoke highly of such shops. "Books are very good friends and I love their company. I began reading general books to pass time because gradually reading books turned into a hobby. I get the best deal from these stalls which charge very less and offer a lot. So I come here."

Atul Yadav, who has just completed his mass communication degree from Panjab University, is also a regular visitor to these shops, and so is Sandeep Singh, a Rohtak resident, who found these shops very helpful while he was preparing for his IAS examination. "I could not afford Brilliant notes, but got the same from these stalls at almost half the rates,'' he said.

People from far-off places like Himachal Pradesh also come here to buy books.

"We buy these books at one-third rates from students and sell the same at half rates. Most magazines are bought from Delhi," informed Sanjay Kumar Kanjia, who has been running one such stall in the Sector 15 second-hand book shop market for the past 12 years.

Another shop owner, Vikram, who started with making just about 50 paise profit daily, is a satisfied man today. now he makes about Rs 100, depending on the number of customers. "I have been here for the past 20 years or so. It is a good business and our popularity stems from the great variety of books we store, including comics, school textbooks, and engineering, medical and IAS entrance material," he said.


Administration sleeps as polythene ban expires
By Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 17 — Discarded polythene bags are choking the sewers and finding their way to the stomachs of hapless cattle. They have also found their way into intestines of whales in deep dark oceans.

Polythene bags are slowly turning into a nightmare for us and degrading our environment. These bags are all around us in the city. And they will survive much longer than any one of us.

The status of polythene bags in the union territory is virtually at a standstill as a central notification on the use of recycled polythene is yet to be implemented. The draft notification issued on January 12 , 1999, has lapsed due to technical reasons. The notification proposed to ban the use of polythene carry bags in Sector 17, to protect the health of people and animals and improve the environment of the city.

The draft notification had also invited mandatory objections. Accordingly, it had received some objections which said the ban should be imposed in the entire city and not in one sector only.

In India, over 10,000 units manufacture plastic bags and their number is going up every year by as much as 35 per cent.

The traders in Sector 17 had resolved not to use plastic bags unless the customer demands for one. A section of traders also started using jute and recycled paper bags. Stickers and posters proclaiming, “We do not use polythene bags,” came up. But the plan fizzled out and polythene bags continue to be very much in use.

These plastic bags are light. They are cheap. One kg contains about 900 such bags. So it makes good economic sense to use them.

The fact is that polythene happens to be the cause for 16 per cent of the chlorine in the atmosphere. The more dangerous variety of these bags is the down cycled fifth grade plastic. And most of the bags are made of this variety.

Moreover, polyethylene, used in the manufacture of these bags, enters our food and is also harmful to our soil fertility and consequently to the plants. Disposing them by burning releases poisonous gases and harmful chemicals into the atmosphere which can pose a host of health problems.

Incidentally, when these plastic bags clog our sewers, another breeding place for mosquitoes and flies is created. Which is why the Central Government had issued a similar notification, with a difference that the plastic bags made of the recycled plastic for carrying and packing foodstuff be banned. The notification said that the thickness of these recycled polythene bags should not be less than 25 microns and that of the virgin plastic not less than 20 microns. The Central Government notification also said the carry bags should not be pigmented.

As far as Chandigarh is concerned, the Administration notification had banned the use of plastic bags in the Sector 17 alone and the Central Government notification had allowed the use of recycled polybags, but with certain conditions and quality. However, these bags continue to be in use all over, flouting all directions about the thickness and quality.

The Central Government decisions also could not be implemented because of lack of infrastructure to check whether these bags met with specifications laid down in the notification.


Crorepati mania is for sure
Confident? Lock kar do
By Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 17— While the media sells dreams, thousands come forward to lap them up. Nothing can be a better indicator of this tendency of the common man than the roaring success of the Star TV serial Kaun Banega Crorepati where human urges are tickled to gain commercial advantage.

Even after a month of telecast, the KBC mania continues to grip the city, as also the entire country. And as Amitabh Bachchan gets busy locking the computer on the answer which comes wrapped up in lakhs, the adrenaline of those in the city who are watching money at play, keeps rising, making clear that the KBC fever is here to stay.

Despite allegations against the Big B that his style was monotonous with his "sure, confident and lock kar dein" words, the programme continues to be on the top of the popularity chart. City residents are also seriously gripped by the crorepati mania.

Come nine in the evening, on the telecast days, they are all hooked on to their TV sets irrespective of their age and profession. Businessmen, office goers, housewives, working women and students leave everything to get glued to the screen. The comparatively silent roads during this hour are an indicator to the popularity of the serial.

The serial continues to be a hot topic of discussion in parties held in the city.

A doctor in a party quoted an incident about a young patient he was attending to. The doctor told the young boy that he would be all right within two days only to be questioned, "Are you sure doctor ?" He asserted, "Yes" only to realise after he was bombarded with "confident" and "lock kar dein" that he was actually treating a Kaun Banega Crorepati fan.

Ms Alka Gupta, a housewife, says that her husband who is working as a manager of a company was never home before 11 pm. "But now, well before 9o’ clock, he is home. All the credit goes to the serial,’’ says Ms Gupta.

The clientele of local PCO owners has noticed a spurt since the telecast of this serial. But they are not fortunate enough to do the brisk business. "The rate of connectivity to the telephone numbers, given by the producers at different cities, is very low. The customers keep trying for hours together but they hardly get the number", says a PCO owner.

Ms Vandana Arora, an IAF officer’s wife, says that her younger son doesn't take his dinner during the telecast hour and he has to be served before nine. Chandni Handa, a student of Manav Mangal School in Panchkula, says that she starts studying after coming from school so that her parents do not object to her watching the TV. "Moreover, I tell them that this serial helps me gain general knowledge. Then why should they object to it?" she says.


Petrol price hike criticised
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 17—The decision of the Chandigarh Administration to hike the prices of petrol has come in for severe criticism from various quarters.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, while flaying the decision to hike the sales tax from 12 per cent to 20 per cent, said the hike would adversely affect the purchasing power of the common man.

The Chandigarh UT Subordinate Services Federation said the hike would upset the budgets of the salaried class and add to inflation.

The Chandigarh Nationalist Congress Party condemned it, saying that it was not right to hike the prices twice a year.

Mr Chaman Lal Sharma, Mr Tejbans Singh Jauhar and Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, President, Secretary and General Secretary of the Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha, respectively, today expressed their deep concern over the increase in the prices of petrol following revision of sales tax.

In a joint statement issued here, they said the hike would burden an average resident of the city. They maintained that this hike was avoidable as the petroleum companies supplying petrol here from various depots elsewhere in the region could transfer goods here without payment of any CST against “F-form”.

They said that by using transfer of goods, the oil companies need not wait for their notional petrol depots to come up in the city. They wondered oil companies were not using the existing provisions of the law under transfer of goods scheme. This would provide immediate relief to the people, they said. They also doubt that companies may be benefiting their dealers in Punjab and Haryana.

They appealed to the Administrator to apply pressure on all the petroleum companies to immediately start transferring goods on “F-form” basis so that this unnecessary burden was reduced at once and petrol became competitive as compared to Haryana and Punjab.



Vanmahotsav celebrated
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Aug 17 — About 20 saplings of the medicinal variety were planted at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33 here today. Mr Satbir Singh Kadhiyan, Speaker Vidhan Sabha, Haryana, planted the saplings on the occasion of the celebration of Vanmahotsav and inauguration of two rooms which were built with the contribution of Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

During his address to the students, he stressed the need for a uniform and practical mode of education in India. A cultural programme comprising patriotic songs, group songs and giddha was presented by students.

The function was sponsored by Punjab National Bank by contributing 15 plant protectors and four fans for the school. The chief guest, Mr Satbir Singh Kadhiyan, donated Rs 5,100 for the library


Chetna manch lodges protest
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug17 — The Janwadi Chetna Manch, Chandigarh has sent a telegram to the President of India, protesting against the ABVP’s reaction to Dr. B. H. Kalyankar’s lecture delivered in a seminar.

The manch feels that it is not an isolated incident of hooliganism and this act should be seen as part of chain of attacks made by fascist organisations on artists and intellectuals, a press note said.


Sweepers Union activists clash
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 17 — Two factions of the Sweepers Union today clashed on the premises of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC).

According to information available, the incident occurred when a former President of the union, Mr Udesh Kumar, along with his supporters, was assisting the civic body employees, who were disbursing arrears amounting to about Rs 5 lakh to the sanitation staff. This was reportedly not liked by the President, Mr Zile Singh, and his supporters.

The two factions exchanged hot words and clashed. Later, a compromise was reached on the intervention of the police, sources added.


Woman attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 17 — A resident of Colony number 4 tried to commit suicide here today.

According to police sources, Sunita alias Bugli set herself afire after dousing herself with kerosene. She was rushed to the hospital with serious burn injuries. A case under Section 309 of the IPC has been registered.

Woman assaulted: The police arrested three persons on the charges of assaulting a woman of Dadu Majra Colony. Sources said Ms Swaran Kaur reported that she was assaulted in a gurdwara by Pritam Singh of the same colony and four of his accomplices.

While Pritam Singh, Gurmukh Singh and Balwant Singh have been arrested, others are still at large. A case under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 324, 506 and 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Vehicles damaged: Mr Deepak Kohli of Sector 15 reported that Davinder Walia, Rishi Pal, Kanchan Sharma and Pritam Singh, all residents of the same sector, quarreled with him and damaged his car, scooter and household articles.

A case under Sections 341, 323 and 427 of the IPC has been registered.

Scooter stolen: Mr Natha Singh Deol of Sector 41 reported that his scooter (PB-27-4242) was stolen from his house. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.



Non-serious students and teachers

Students on the Panjab University campus are agitated that their fees has been hiked. They want the fees to be pegged at rates that were fixed in the 1960s. This means that a student pays something like the cost of three bottles of cold drink for the privilege of attending classes in the university for one month. No wonder they treat university education with the respect due to a bottle of coca-cola.

Many teachers have demanded that in order to bring seriousness in the university system it is important that the fees be increased to realistic levels, not necessarily asking the students to bear the entire cost of education. Then alone would it be possible for the university to get out of the situation in which non-serious students dominate the education system and become the allies of non-serious teachers.

M. Rajivlochan

Pedestrian crossings

The Chandigarh Administration has done well by putting up grills along the median on Madhya Marg. But there is a snag. At places gaps have been left for pedestrians to cross over. This can sometimes be dangerous. The administration should put bold “pedestrian crossing” sign posts and zebra crossing signs on the road.

Jyotsna Khanna

Encroachments ignored

We wish to draw the attention of Municipal Corporation authorities to the encroachment on public land by certain persons working in the MC office. We appreciate the anti-encroachment drive of the MC, but while on the one hand the MC officials are demolishing the houses of others, on the other, encroachments by their own people are being ignored.

The anti-encroachment drive of the MC has not touched the encroachments in Sector 45-C and 45-D, although they have visited Sector 45-A and Burail. The reason seems to be that a number of persons working in the MC office, are living in Sector 45-C and 45-D.

Almost every ground floor resident has encroached on public land, not only on the front but also on the rear of the house. Even the electricity poles have been included in the encroached area. One can imagine the extent to which the roads in this sector have been narrowed. We are facing a problem to park our vehicles.

We would like the top MC officials to visit this area to see the situation for themselves.

Four residents of Sector 45-C

Kundi” connections

Kundi connection is theft of electricity by unauthorised persons. To check this menace, all defaulters should be prosecuted under the relevant law. Moreover, theft on such large scale cannot be possible without the connivance of the electricity department staff. Such employees should be identified and given exemplary punishment. The disciplinary authority should be insulated from the coercion of trade unions by enacting suitable laws.

In the present circumstances the authorities find themselves in a helpless situation. A solution also lies in privatising electricity distribution.

L.K. Sharma

Speed limits

The proposal to impose speed limits at Panchkula is a step in the right direction. It will curb reckless driving and thus reduce the number of accidents. For the proposed speed limits, the roads have been categorised in three groups, with different speed limits, depending upon the intensity of traffic. Such fine-turning is not only unnecessary but is also confusing to the public, and will give the Traffic Police scope to harass the drivers.

It will be more convenient to have two speed limits, one for light vehicles and one for medium and heavy vehicles. Similarly at Chandigarh there are different speed limits for different roads. It will be desirable if the Chandigarh Administration also rationalises the system and make it convenient for the public to follow the speed restrictions.

D.P. Piplani

Coaching classes

The Education Department of Chandigarh Administration deserves praise for its decision to make coaching for competitive examinations such as IIT, AIIMS, PMT, PMT, CET etc part of the school curriculum. This will curb the practice of coaching through private academies, which are minting money. This will also prevent commercialisation of education and help poor and deserving students who cannot afford to go to these coaching academies. The parents will be relieved of mental and financial agony, which they have to undergo to provide coaching to their wards.

Sanjay Khurana

Anandgarh project

The proposed Anandgarh project will add to the burgeoning problems of the City Beautiful. There will be an additional burden on the city’s hospitals, educational and other institutions. As in the case of Mohali and Panchkula, the residents of Anandgarh will also make use of the city’s resources and amenities. Students will throng schools and colleges in Chandigarh and seek admission to various professional courses. The increased vehicular traffic will add to pollution and create more problems for the traffic police. While I support the idea behind the project, I suggest that it should be located somewhere between Kiratpur Sahib and Anandpur Sahib.

Dwarka Dass

Shaheed Udham Singh

I congratulate Mr J. S. Bedi for a detailed piece on the great martyr, Shaheed Udham Singh (Chandigarh Tribune, July 31), and laud your paper for paying a befitting tribute to the martyr on the eve of his 60th martyrdom day. The younger generation will learn about the sacrifice made by Udham Singh, in avenging the ruthless killing of hundreds of peaceful and unarmed Punjabis at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919.

The Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial Bhavan Society applied to the Chandigarh Administration on August 19, 1982, for a plot to construct a memorial to the great martyr. It is learnt that the Administration has offered a plot to the society at the rate of Rs 2,900 per sq yard whereas it had sold 4,389 sq yards land on Dakshin Marg in Sector 31 to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at the rate of Rs 500 per sq yard in 1993 (The Tribune, March 14, 1993). Why this discrimination?

Narinder Singh

Petrol stations

A majority of consumers at Panchkula complain about the short measurement of petrol and diesel at petrol stations in the district. They have also been complaining about adulterated petrol being sold to them at these outlets. There is no check on such malpractices by the owners of petrol stations that cause harassment to the consumers.

The Weights and Measures Department has also not paid any attention to the milk being supplied to the residents in packets which do not carry the date of packing or the price.

The Panchkula Consumers Forum urges the department to carry out regular checks and save the consumer from being victimised by such unscrupulous elements.

We suggest that the department should inform us about the raids or challans in such cases for publication in the magazines brought out by us for the benefit of the consumers and the government.

Jagdish Saini,
General Secretary, Panchkula Consumers’ Forum

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