Friday, September 1, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘Don't use Army for internal security’
Manpower shortage in ITBP: Kaul
Tribune News Service

BHANU(Ramgarh), Aug 31 — “The Home Ministry should be allowed to deploy the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) battalions in Kashmir so that the Army can be relieved of its internal security duties,” says Mr Gautam Kaul, Director General of the Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP).

He said the Army had been involved in counter-insurgency operations in the valley for long, which had affected the training schedules, besides putting the Army under pressure. He said, in the past 11 years in the state, the Army had suffered heavy losses, though presently, it had an upper hand against terrorists.

“The need of the hour is to train the Army for a proxy war because no country in future will be able to afford the expenditure of a full-fledged offensive,” he said.

The DG inaugurated a new state-of-the-art gymnasium for the ITBP personnel here today. Built at a cost of Rs 60 lakh, the gymnasium will fulfill one of the long-standing demands of the force. It will help in providing better facilities for the training of athletes.

About the level of stress among paramilitary forces in the country, he said India had yet to realise that stress was just like any other disease that was not only curable, but also preventable. “There has been no serious effort to recognise this health aspect. Personnel who become disabled due to stress should also be able to claim a compensation,” he added.

“Most of the advanced countries have trained personnel attached to each unit who counsel the personnel at the first sign of stress. They keep in contact with the men to know their frustrations and other problems,” he said.

About changes in the ITBP, Mr Kaul said the training period of a jawan had been increased from 36 weeks to 52 weeks. He said this course was more comprehensive than before, so that the force had ultimate soldiers who were fully-equipped to meet any challenge.

“We don’t want half-baked personnel who are likely to face problems in carrying out their duties,” he said.

On the issue of creating greater sensitisation in the force, the DG said all young gazetted officers would be attached to the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa for one week, so that they could understand the concept of kar sewa and use it in the course of duty.

Mr Kaul said the force would also obtain nine satellite telephones from the Ministry of Telecommunications for personnel at high altitudes and the other such places. He said, for this purpose, the STD rates, too, had been reduced to one fourth of the present charges.

Besides the ITBP personnel, these telephones would also be available to the residents of such areas at the same cost. The ministry has also approved a proposal to man rural exchanges where the ITBP men are posted. He said the first set of such telephones would be installed at Leh in a ceremony to be attended by the Minister for Telecommunications.

On the issue of manpower shortage, he said there was a need to raise at least five more battalions of the ITBP. He said a proposal in this regard was already being considered by the ministry concerned.

Mr Kaul said the ITBP would set up four fully-computerised firing ranges at Leh, Bhanu, Karera and Mahidarda. He said land for this purpose had already been acquired from the respective state governments.

The ITBP had also purchased a land near Mussourie to set up a school of guerrilla warfare and combat, he said.

The Director General of the Indo-Tibet Border Police, Mr Gautam Kaul, inaugurates a gymnasium in the Basic Training Centre of the ITBP at Bhanu Camp, Panchkula district, on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Pankaj Sharma


40-hour week for PU teachers?
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 31 — In a significant step Panjab University has urged its teaching departments to work out a teaching schedule that ensures availability of teachers for 40 hours per week to the students.

The step has been taken in view of the University Grants Commission’s recommendations forwarded to universities for an enhanced teaching schedule .The circular of the Dean University Instruction says that the UGC expects university teachers ‘to devote at least 16 hours per week for teaching in case of lecturers and senior lecturers and 14 hours in case of readers and professors’.

Teachers are also expected to be available in the department for at least five hours daily and put in a total of 40 hours per week. Meetings of faculties have been called to identify components of academic work, other than classroom teaching, which could be quantified as work hours.

The university has asked departments to quantify their proposals, keeping in view the academic activities of the department during the past five years, and projections of academic activity programmes for the coming two years. Final proposals have been sought by the DUI office before September 4.

Prof I.M. Govil, member of the special committee, said the final course of action was yet to be decided. What should be the weightage given to research work and guidance in research work also needs to be weighed.

Prof B.S. Brar, Chairman of the Political Science Department, said that there was a need to differentiate between college teaching and university teaching. Enhanced classroom work in universities cuts into research work at higher levels.

Professor Brar said that research was a very important component of university curricula. Delivering classroom lectures only, would bring down the level of teaching to the college level which needed to be guarded against. The final recommendations, however, are awaited.

A senior student, reflecting on the circular, said that even if the university gave instructions for availability of teachers in the department for some more hours, it would be a positive signal for the field. Their longer presence in the departments would certainly attract more students.

A senior faculty member said that the time spent at seminars,conferences and workshops also needed to be counted as work hours.Back


Court fee to be refunded
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 31 — At long last, litigants approaching the Lok Adalats will heave a sigh of relief, now that the entire court fee on pursuing a case (which may go into lakhs) will have to be refunded as per the notification issued here on August 28 by the Chandigarh Administration.

The administration has made this provision by effecting an amendment to the Chandigarh Legal Services Authority Rules, 1997. The notification was passed here by the administration in consultation with the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

It may be mentioned here that the notification has been passed subsequent to various efforts made by the State Legal Services Authority, UT, which pursued the matter in the interest of speedy and inexpensive justice to the litigants. The refund, which will have to be made from now on, has to be made to the Collector (Deputy Commissioner), UT, on a certificate issued by the Lok Adalat, stating that a compromise for the settlement of the case was arrived at by it.

This notification may well lead to an increase in the number of cases being heard by the Lok Adalat, further popularising the concept of a ''peoples' court''. It would also help build confidence among the public which had to earlier spent lakhs of rupees as court fee, depending upon whether a case was a suit for recovery, damages or one of specific performance.

The Court Fee Act, which came into force in 1870, makes no provision for a refund. In various judgments different high courts have reiterated the need to make amendments in the existing law. In one such judgment in 1950, the Madras High Court had held: "In order to encourage the litigants to reduce litigation by not indulging in unnecessary litigation, the desirability of amending the law by making provision for the return of court fee, as an inducement for withdrawing cases and compromising them outside court, is pointed out."


Overloading continues to endanger lives
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 31 — While an alarming number of vehicles keep hitting the city roads everyday, overloading of vehicles also continues to threaten the safety of road users. Although the problem has been here for long now, it needs to be examined again. This is because about five days ago, a primary-class student of the local St Stephen’s School fractured his arm, while another sustained serious injuries when two autorickshaws carrying school children collided in SAS Nagar.

The cause of this accident was similar to that of many others before this — both vehicles were overloaded. While one of these was carrying nine school children, the other was carrying 12, in violation of the laws. According to the law, no motor vehicle should be loaded in a manner that could endanger the safety of passengers. While the child who fractured his arm has still not been able to join the school again, his parents, like most city residents, fear that such incident may happen again.

The issue is critical in view of the rising number of accidents involving vehicles carrying school children. Traffic policemen say that in half of such incidents, the accident is due to overloaded vehicles that overturn on the road.

Sanctioned capacity of rickshaws

Subsection 1 of Byelaw 21 of the Chandigarh Cycle Rickshaw (Regulation and Control) Byelaws, 1960, says that, “Not more than two passengers shall be carried in a rickshaw. While two children under the age of 12 will be counted as one person, children under the age of three shall not be counted.” This section also prescribes the load to be carried by a rickshaw. In case of violation, a person of the rank of an ASI or any other officer authorised by the Estate Officer has the power to impound the vehicle. The clause regarding the release of the vehicle was added later in the Byelaws Amendments of 1997. Under Clause 29-A, any impounded rickshaw will be released by the Estate Officer after charging a compounding fee of not less than Rs 200.

Autorickshaws are public service vehicles (PSVs) according to Section 2 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. It says, “Public service vehicle is any motor vehicle used or adapted to be used for the carriage of passengers for hire or reward.” Therefore, as PSVs, autorickshaws ply after permits for it are issued by the Regional Transport Authority (RTA), which can also cancel these permits.

The application for any such permit (under Subsection 2 of Section 76 of the MVA) should mention particulars of the type and seating capacity of the vehicle. Under the law, no autorickshaw can carry more than three passengers or more than five children.

These conditions are, however, not followed and autorickshaws generally carry 10 to 12 children at a time, with their bags hanging outside the vehicle. The law says that nothing should hang outside the body of the vehicle. Under such conditions, drivers of the vehicles can be challaned, but traffic policemen say that this is not a permanent solution.

A traffic policeman said, “These vehicles again hit the roads after drivers get their licences back.” Sources in the Traffic Police Department say that the solution lies in the cancellation or suspension of the permits of such drivers by the RTA. Subsection 1 of Section 86 of the MVA says that the “RTA may cancel or suspended the permit on breach of any condition mentioned in the permit.”

Section 190 is about the usage condition of any vehicle. It says, “Any person who allows any such vehicle that violates standards prescribed in relation to road safety to be driven in any public place, shall be punishable for the first offence with a fine of Rs 1,000 and for the second or a subsequent offence, with a fine of Rs 2,000.”

While autorickshaw drivers are violating the law, rickshawpullers are no less. Most rickshaws are seen carrying passengers beyond the capacity allowed under Byelaw 21 of the Chandigarh Cycle Rickshaw (Regulation and Control) Byelaws, 1960.Back


Scramble on for key posts in MC
From Kulwinder Sangha

SAS NAGAR, Aug 31 — With the elections to the local Municipal Council having been completed, political parties and individual councillors are now directing their attention to various permutations and combinations to grab the reins of power in the civic body.

The 27 newly elected municipal councillors have now to elect the President, the senior Vice-President and the Vice-President of the council which has a yearly budget of nearly Rs 20 crore. The Kharar MLA, under the rules, also has the voting right.

Although, till now no political party has openly declared the name of its candidate for the presidential post. There are apprehensions among councillors that ruling SAD politicians may indulge in house-trading to put its candidate in the saddle. Certain Congress-backed councillors say that the ruling party in the state is bound to use every strategem up its sleeve to capture power. They say that in the Nangal civic body, even though Congress-backed councillors had a majority, the person who became the President was a SAD-supported councillor.

The ruling SAD-BJP combine in the state had won merely three seats (two went to the SAD) in the council poll here. The other winners had contested as Independents backed by parties like the Congress and the SHSAD.

There is every possibility, say councillors, that the SAD may not allow elections to these three posts till it finds suitable candidates and that could extend up to three months, the maximum period during which the posts are required to be filled under the law.

A number of councillors are reported to be aspiring for the post of President, including Mr Kulwant Singh, a former Senior Vice-President, Mr Manjit Singh, former Vice-President, Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, a former Senior Vice-President, Mr Amrik Singh Tehsildar, Mr N.K. Marwaha, Mr Sham Bansal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari and Mr Isher Singh Langh.

Ms Manmohan Kaur, who won the poll as a SAD candidate, said the position today was such that out of the 27 councillors, 20 wanted to become the President.

Mr S.S. Barnala, a councillor backing Mr Kulwant Singh, claimed today that his group had the backing of 15 councillors, whom he named. This group, he further claimed, was backed by certain councillors who enjoyed the support of the SHSAD and Congress factions.

However, it is believed that a few councillors supported by the SHSAD favoured Mr Manjit Singh as the President. Mr Manjit Singh is also said to have the support of a Congress faction.

Ms Indu Sehgal, another councillor, who enjoys Congress support, said she wanted that the new President should be a person who had a clean image and was genuinely interested in the town’s development.

Ruling SAD leaders are now focusing on the Sunam assembly byelection which is scheduled for September 29.


Bridge in the doldrums
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Aug 31 — With the river-bed level having gone down, the bridge atop the Saketri river bed seems unattended to with the foundation lying exposed, an indication of imminent collapse. The Public Works Department (B and R), however, said, the bridge was not on the brink of disaster and that they had already initiated damage-control measures.

While illegal mining was stated as the root cause of the trouble, the department attributes it to the closing of a couple of spans of the bridge owing to construction on either side of the bridge. Residents in the vicinity add that a lot of mining went on previously, next to the bridge at night even though it was not allowed even when a river bed was auctioned.

“The construction of buildings had eaten into two of the four spans. With the blockade, the increased water flow was diverted to the two functional spans and water was forced to change course. This exposed the foundation of the bridge and caused trouble,” the official in charge of the bridge, Mr N.K. Garg, said.

Further, he added that the department was aware of the problem which could lead to a collapse. “As of now, there was no such danger since damage-control steps had already been initiated. We started working on the foundation ever since it came to our notice. As early as May our team put boulders into the river bed as the beginning of the exercise. Now, we would continue the process once the rains stop,” he said.

The department officials added that it was also essential to open up the blocked spans. For the purpose, the department was considering the idea of acquiring the adjoining land, but the Haryana Urban Development Authority had already taken an initiative on acquisition proceedings, the idea was dropped.“Since the matter concerned two state departments, it would be resolved once the acquisition proceedings had been completed,” Mr Garg informs.


1-room post office faces problems
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, Aug 31 — The local post office has been functioning from a rented one-room accommodation in a congested street in the market for the past many years. Inadequate space, staff and ugly condition of the room further aggravate the problems.

Serving an area having over 20,000 population, including one class IV employee, the Zirakpur post office is functioning with three employees, including one Post Master and two Assistant Post Masters.

The post office has neither any store to preserve the old documents nor any toilet for the staff members. Moreover, roof of the room starts dripping even after a light shower, often damaging the official records.

The authorities got the room white-washed in 1994 and since then there has been no improvement in the upkeep of the records and other infrastructure of the post office.

Haphazard parking of vehicles before the counter and a stinking drain right in front of the post office further put the consumers to a great inconvenience.

Mr Sunehari Lal, a shopkeeper, complained that the post office has been opened in a neglected street. There is one postman for this haphazardly grown huge area. “Some times the residents receive their letter late and have to suffer”.

Departmental authorities, however, said that taking into consideration the consumers and staff convenience, the office will be shifted to another spacious building soon. Back


Lions Club chief installed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 31 — Mr Sushil Kapoor was installed as president of the Lions Club Chandigarh Greater here last evening. This is his second term as President.

While tracing the history of the club from 1977, Mr Sushil Kapoor, said his priorities for the year 2000-01 would be to lay special emphasis on “sight first” by holding two eye operation camps. He would also open a reading room for the aged, hold two blood donation camps, arrange for mass marriages of about 10 poor girls, hold a sports meet for school students, distribute blankets among the poor during winter and also to hold annual lions mela and raffle for fund collection for its various projects.

The club would continue to run its free medical dispensary at Karsan every Thursday and the two free sewing classes at the Vocational Training Centre, Sector 30. Apart from completing the VTC building, the club has plan to building an eye hospital at Karsan. Mr Alok Nigam, Chief Administrator, HSAMB, was the chief guest of the evening. 


Rains above normal this season
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 31 — Though rainfall in the month of August has been just 13.5 cm — almost 18 cm less than the average for the month — the aggregate of rain during the ongoing monsoon season is still ahead of the normal average.

Under normal circumstances the city should have received 73 cm of rain, but till today the figure stands at 83 cm, a good 10 cm above the normal for the season from June 1 to August 31. The monsoon season is calculated from June 1 to September 30. This year, the rain in August has been in sharp contrast to conditions in 1998 when the city received 46 cm rain.

The heavy rains during the months of June and July are balancing out the figures of less rain during this month. During these two months it had rained the highest ever in the past five years. The city had received a whopping 69 cm of rain in 61 days of June and July. With a record 26.2 cm of rain occurring, between 8.30 a.m. on July 17 and 8.30 a.m. on July 18.

The Director of the local Meteorological Office, Mr S.C. Bhan, says less rain during August is nothing but a year to year variation and no particular reason can be assigned for this.

By the end of July the rain was 26 cm above normal average for that period. In June the rainfall was 25 cm, in July it was 44 cm and in August it has been the lowest at 13.5 cm.

On humidity, the office said the humid conditions would prevail for almost three more weeks.

Rainfall from June 1 to August 31 during the past ten years

Year                          rainfall in cm

2000                           83

1999                           69

1998                           100

1997                           68

1996                           96 

1995                           97

1994                           117

1993                           65

1992                           51

1991                           63

Normal rain is 73 cm for these three months.


Prayag Shukl shares his verse
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 31 — The Department of Indian Theatre, Panjab University, today saw some serious deliberation over issues close to life. Holding the dias was none other than Prayag Shukl, a noted Hindi poet, art and film critic, who is currently editor of Rang Prasang, journal of the National School of Drama.

Prayag Shukl, who was invited by the Indian Theatre Department to share his concerns with other actors, spoke with passion about the existing art and culture scenario in the country. He shared the experiences of his days as an art critic for The Times of India and said that the profession was treated as sacred during those days. He talked on "My times and my poetry" and went on to look back on his days as an art critic. He lamented the fact that these days hardly any newspaper carried a column exclusively devoted to art. "Also, there are hardly any art critics qualified to do the job. The result is that nowadays anyone writes on anything," he said.

The poet, who has a number of novels to his credit, later spoke to the gathering about his poetry, which, he said, was a reflection of his feelings. ''My poetry is all about the deteriorating social conditions and my reactions to the same," he said.

He also rued lack of awareness about literature. "Our youth know nothing about literary giants like Raghbir Sahay and Sharmeshwar Dayal. The reason is that no efforts are being made to secure our roots."

He also read out about 25 poems to the audience, which included faculty members of the Hindi, Punjabi and English Departments. Local theatre artistes had also gathered to hear him. Shukl's view was, however, contested by Mr S.P. Gautam who said that a lot of commendable work was being done in the field of Hindi literature and people were also reading the same.


NGO group for tax education
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Aug 31 — An NGO group of retired senior officers of the Income Tax Department of the ranks of Commissioner and Chief Commissioner has been constituted under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, in Haryana at the initiative of Mr J.S. Ahluwalia, Chief Commissioner of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Mr G.S. Basanti will be the President and Mr B.K. Diwan Secretary of the group. The members of the governing body include Mr S.C. Prashar, Mr G.P. Singh, Mr Ram Rattan, Mr Sain Das, Mr S.S. Bhatia and Mr J.L. Negi.

The group will function as an agency for interacting with the officers of the Income Tax Department and the public at large. The group will hold seminars, conferences, for spreading the message of tax compliance. It will also provide free legal aid to the public.Back


Injured duck saved
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 31 — A seriously injured white duck belonging to the Children Alliance for Protection of Environment (CAPE) was saved following timely action by the Environment Society of India.

The duck was injured after it was hit by a boat in the Sukhna Lake. Strong winds pushed the unconscious bird towards the Lake Club.

A worker of the club, who spotted the injured duck, informed the President of the Environment Society of India, Mr S.K.Sharma. Mr Sharma took the duck to the Mani Majra Veterinary Hospital and later to the clinic for animals run by the People for Animals in Sector 10.

The duck has since then recovered and is back in the lake.


Ludhiana resident held with pistol
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 31 — The police has arrested a Ludhiana resident on the charge of possessing a pistol and live cartridges.

According to police sources, a naka party stopped a car (PB-10-AC-8376) near the Sector 42-43 dividing road and searched the vehicle which yielded a 9-mm pistol, three magazines and eight live cartridges. The occupant of the car, Inderjit Singh, was arrested.

A case under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested two persons on the charge of possessing 96 quarters and 40 pouches of whisky.

While Ashok Kumar was arrested with 40 pouches of whisky from near colony No 5, Kishan Lal of Bapu Dham colony was arrested from near the CTU workshop.

Assault charge: Gharauan-resident Harinder Singh reported that he was assaulted and injured by Harjit Singh of Kharar along with his accomplices. While Harjit Singh has been arrested, the others have absconded.

A case under Sections 147, 149, 323, 324 and 506 of the IPC has been registered. 


 Punwire official arrested
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Aug 31 — An official of the Punjab Wireless Systems (Punwire) accused of misappropriation of funds was arrested by the local police today.

Addressing a press conference here, the DSP, Mr S.S. Gill, said R.K. Gupta was arrested from Chandigarh by a team headed by the Phase I SHO, Mr Rajinder Singh Sohal. The accused is a resident of Sector 43, Chandigarh. There were nine cases relating to the embezzlement of funds registered against him and he had been granted bail in one of them. Gupta had been working as the Manager (accounts) with Punwire.

Mr Gill said special teams had been constituted by the Ropar police to arrest Punwire officials who had been accused of cheating and misappropriation of funds. The number of cases registered with the police showed that Punwire staff had embezzled funds to the tune of Rs 54 crore.

Two other officials of Punwire, N.K. Rawal, former Manager (materials) and Shiv Kumar, former cashier, had been arrested by the local police on August 27. The two had been remanded in judicial custody till September 12.

The DSP said police had also initiated action to get Gurpal Singh, former MD of Punwire, extradited from the USA where he is supposed to be living at present. He had been declared a proclaimed offender by a court on August 8.

Special teams had also been sent to various places to arrest Ved Prakash, former Executive Director of Punwire. 

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