Friday, October 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


40,000 telephones don't ring at all
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 19 — Over 40,000 telephone subscribers of Panchkula and Mani Majra remained cut off from the rest of the world since this evening reportedly after "careless" digging by a Delhi-based firm in Sector 9 here, which damaged the concrete duct carrying optical fibre cables (OFC).

Subscribers wanting to connect to the city and Delhi were at the receiving end as repeated attempts failed to yield any results with the taped message "All lines to this routes are busy, please dial after some time".

According to information, the problem arose following the damage to the concrete duct carrying cables with live traffic to the Panchkula Telecom District by the HFCL, which has been given right of way by the Chandigarh Administration to lay the OFC network in the city for the prestigious wired city network project.

Officials of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) at the site came down heavily on what they called "unprofessional" working of the company and its personnel. Besides inconvenience to the thousands of the customers, the revenue loss to the BSNL authorities would be to the tune of over Rs 15 lakh by tomorrow morning and it could go up to Rs 1 crore by tomorrow night," alleged Mr Rakesh Kapoor, GM (Telephones).

Accusing the HFCL authorities of "violating" the right of way of the BSNL, Mr Kapoor said that there must be transparency in the respecting each other's right of way. He also warned that the BSNL would move the court for stay on further "careless" digging.

Meanwhile, Mr B.B. Gaur, vice-president of the HFCL, termed the damage as "unfortunate" adding that the cables were inadvertently cut. The personnel of the firm were on the job and the link would be restored by tomorrow morning, he assured.

Mr Davinder Kumar, DGM of the firm, said that it was due to "professional rivalry" that the BSNL was blowing the issue out of proportion.

In a complaint to the Sector 3 police station, the BSNL authorities alleged that digging had been carried out without coordination with the BSNL. It demanded action against the firm so that such type of situation was not repeated. The police is investigating and no case had been registered till late tonight.


Insipid debate marks last phase of poll 
By Sanjeev Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 29 — A rather average quality of debate marked the last phase of the elections to the student council campaign which concluded at Panjab University today with an "open-house debate".

The two main groups in the fray —the PUSU-ABVP-HSA and the SOPU-SFI — are locked in a straight fight. Allegations and counter-allegations occupied major part of the speeches. The rush this time at the Students Centre far outdid the earlier two occasions since the elections resumed in 1997.

The function was coordinated by Dr Anil Raina, Department of English. A total of 10 persons were selected to speak on the occasion.

Chand Singh Madaan said his front's choice for a presidential candidate, Bhupinder Singh 'Bhuppi', had shown during the academic session his commitment for student causes with demonstrations against anti-student moves like fee-hike. There were several other instances when the front had proved its responsibility through demonstrations and discussions several of which benefited students.

Akhil Kumar Goyal, former general secretary of SOPU, said that contrary to allegations of the rivals regarding non-performing on key issues, SOPU had managed a fee refund once.

In a well-narrated speech Munish Anand, a former president of the council, highlighted achievements of council during the PUSU tenure. He said new facilities were added in hostels and on the other hand the opposition organised an international festival where there were less than half a dozen teams. He said the opposition also claimed its commitment on non-violence, but a cursory look of records of the previous three years showed top SOPU activists named in the FIRs.

Jaswinder Singh Khunkhun Kalan, Punjabi Vidyarthi Jathebandi, said that the elections were welcome but the campus lacked a sense of awareness about rights and responsibility coupled with the process. Surat Negi, the ABVP, also spoke on the same lines. Pooja Goyal and Ruchi Ray also addressed the gathering.

One strong voice on the occasion was of former president Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa. He said Bhupinder Beniwal was among those who founded SOPU identifying the problems and necessities in the university. The allegations of the opposition about SOPU members being in police custody mostly related to a time span of a week before or after the elections.

Bhupinder Beniwal said that SOPU in three years had shown performance what the rivals could not show in two decades. The allegations reflect poorly on the intended spirit of contestants, he added.

However, Beniwal's lecture saw walking away of the rival group supporters because he happened to be the last speaker. 


Security beefed up

Apprehending the presence of outsiders on the Panjab University campus during the elections to students' body tomorrow, the Chandigarh police launched a massive search operation in wee hours to round them up. A posse of 250 personnel has been deployed at "strategic points" in the campus for maintaining law and order.

Outsiders, according to sources, have not only been canvassing, but have also been influencing the students. Raids to round them up yesterday night had, however, proved futile.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (Central) Sagar Preet Hooda when contacted, confirmed raids on the hostels for apprehending persons staying illegally.

Regarding the security arrangements, the ASP said 10 police personnel were being deployed at 20 polling centers. This, he added, was in addition to the usual force, besides reserve force directly under him. He added that police control room vehicles were also being deployed at the university gates to "take care of any untoward incident".

Earlier during the day, the ASP met the university authorities, besides the students and the candidates. The contestants were warned against making any attempts to disturb the polling process.


Use of lethal fire crackers banned
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Oct 19 — The storage, selling and use of dangerous crackers like havais, and rockets have been banned and Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed in the district till October 27 following orders issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Monga, here today.

The orders add that all crackers which explode at a height of four to five metres have also been banned. Also, it states that no person will be allowed to sell crackers without a licence and authorised fireworks dealers have also been assigned specific areas to put up their stalls.

The specified places for storage and selling of fire crackers includes the open space in Sector 14, open space in Sector 16, parade ground in Sector 5 and the open space near Janendra Gurukul in the city. In Kalka, the open ground in Government College has been specified for the purpose while the open space on the Kalka road near the forest complex in Pinjore has been mentioned for the purpose.

In other towns, the places specified are as follows: Surajpur, near Anganwari Chowk; Ramgarh ground of Government Senior Secondary School, Morni, in front of BDPO office, Raipur Rani open space on the Garhi Kotah road near bus stand; and Barwala Government college.

It was further informed that the licencees will be allowed to store only the quantity of crackers specified at the time of issue of the licence. Also, such shops would not face each other and would keep a fire extinguisher handy.


N.K. Jain’s bail plea dismissed
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Oct 19 — The UT Additional District and Sessions Judge, today dismissed the interim bail moved by former UT Home Secretary N.K. Jain in a corruption case.

The accused had filed the application that he had to attend a religious function and he should be granted interim bail.

It may be recalled that it was alleged that K. B. Goel, a former Superintendent, UT Administration, used to collect money on the behalf of N. K. Jain for getting work of various officials and private individuals done.

Meanwhile, five city residents were acquitted on by the UT Additional District and Sessions Judge on the charge of being members of a gang of dacoits.

It was alleged that the accused Om Parkash and the other four had been arrested by the city police from the cremation ground, Sector 25, where they were planning to commit robbery.

The accused were acquitted for lack of evidence.


Surprise raids at liquor shops 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 19 — Liquor vends in the city were the target of surprise checks by the UT Excise Department here today. As many as 15 samples of various brands of liquor were taken by the raiding parties.

Led by Mr B.S. Nehra, ETO, Excise, the raiding party consisted of officials of the department, the police besides representatives of Mohan Meakins, United Breweries, Khodays, all major liquor manufactures. There were reports that spurious and smuggled liquor could be on sale.

According to sources, the vends in Sectors 19, 20, 22, 24, 37, 39, Hallo Majra, Mani Majra, Palsora and on the Chandigarh-Kalka road were raided. The shops collectively belong to Manjit Singh and Company, Universal Traders, Ganesh Traders, Lada Liquors and UT Wine Traders - the five groups which control the trade between them.

The samples would be sent for chemical analysis and cases registered in case any of them fails. Such raids would continue on the eve of the festival season as the sale of liquor sky rockets and there have been instances on the past when poor quality and smuggled liquor was sold in the city, the sources added.


Urbanisation depleting city’s farm area
By Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 19 — On account of rapid acquisition of land for the development of the city, only 10 families in 17 villages have land holdings above five acres. The total agricultural area in the city has shrunk from 5,442 hectares in 1966 to just about 2,050 hectares in 1999, and the area has gone down further following acquisitions in the southern sectors.

While 250 families have landholding from 2.5 acres to 5 acres, 2100 families have land up to two acres. The average landholding in the villages is between half an acre to one acre.

This is the pace at which the city is growing and at the present rate the remaining agricultural land is likely to be acquired in the next 10 years. According to figures available with the UT Agriculture Department major landholdings at present are in Khuda Jassu, Khuda Lahora, Sarangpur, Kaimbwala, Khuda Ali Sher, Raipur Kalan, Maloya and Makhan Majra. Land in Burail and Badheri villages were acquired recently.

Set up in 1967, the department has seen a gradual erosion of the area it was supposed to oversee and this has reflected in the systematic reduction in subsidies and facilities available to the farmers. At present the Crop Husbandry section of the department is actively engaged in popularising the cultivation of vegetables to meet the rising demand of a rapidly expanding city.

According to old-timers in the department, at the time of the formation of the city the farmers were very poor and were just eking out their existence by growing foodgrains and were mostly dependent on rain. Good rain meant a bumper crop otherwise the land was barren and mainly used for grazing cattle.

The land was uneven and to make it cultivable a separate section — Soil Conservation — was created to help the farmers level their land at subsidised rates while steps were initiated to check soil erosion. In the course of the next decade, steps were initiated to bind the soil and hundreds of spill weirs besides several check dams were built. Several deep bore tubewells were sunk to help the farmers by the administration while loans were given to them to sink shallow bore tubewells.

At present the land is cultivable and the main crops grown are fodder for milch cattle, a majority of the farmers are into dairying, besides a limited produce of rice, maize and wheat. The average production of these principal crops this year was 50, 40 and 50 metric tonnes, respectively.

The aim of the shift was that in view of the small land holdings and the limited area under cultivation at least the basic demands of the city like milk and vegetables could be met.

Old-timers recall that all changed with the advent of migrants to the city in the late seventies and early eighties. The lush green fields seemed no more attractive as the returns from one room dingy tenements were more lucrative. Over the years the entire scenario changed, farmers either sold their land to colonisers or constructed tenements to meet the growing demand for cheap housing for the labour force and workers.

“It is an irony that while an acre of land could not sustain a family, a row of rooms built on the same piece of land could bring handsome dividends, which was realised by many and that is the reason why a farmer who had little to eat let alone spend can today live a life of relative luxury,” they added.

But till the entire land is not acquired, the department is carrying out farmer’s training tours to familiarise them with the latest and improved farming tech and a limited number are taken twice a year to Punjab Agricultural University.

Other schemes include the supply of weedicide for wheat and paddy, subsidised sale of spray pumps, distribution of minikits of pulses and oilseeds to popularise their cultivation, providing high quality wheat seed, besides development and strengthening of kitchen gardens nurseries and sale of celphos for the safe storage of foodgrains.

To encourage the farmers to grow more vegetables, 10 prizes of Rs 500 each are reportedly given to the best growers.


Report: Anju died due to strangulation
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 19 — Anju Garg, who had reportedly hung herself to death at her residence in Sector 38, had died due to strangulation, according to the post-mortem report received by the police today. The findings have ruled out the possibility of “foul play” behind her death.

Anju’s parents and two brothers, called from Meerut by the local police soon after her death, have also claimed that there were no reasons behind her taking the “extreme step”, say sources. Further investigations are still on.

She had committed “suicide” when her husband had gone to his clinic in Maloya and children were attending the school. Anju had reportedly called up her husband, Dr Vipin Garg, at his clinic at about 9.45 a.m. to say she was ending her life.

Dr Garg, who had left his residence at about 8.30 a.m, rushed home as soon as Anju hung up only to find the door bolted from inside. He informed Anju’s relatives living opposite before force opening the door.

Upon opening the door, Anju was found hanging. Her body was pulled down but efforts to revive her failed. The police was informed subsequently, claim the sources.


Over 30 sheds demolished
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 19 — In a special drive launched today morning, the anti- enforcement staff demolished over 30 unauthorised tin sheds in Sector 19 Sadar Bazar.

The structures jutting out from the boundary walls over government land were removed from all sides by the police team lead by DSP Vijay Pal Singh. The drive was carried out under the supervision of Anti-Enforcement Magistrate Mr. H.S. Sohal and Secretary Municipal Corporation, Mr Ashwani Kumar.

It started at 6 a.m., and ended after two hours and only those shopkeepers who had stay orders from the court were exempted in the drive. Three truckloads of goods, including the demolished material and benches put up in the corridors, were confiscated.

The Enforcement Wing had only yesterday raided Palika Bazar and the shopkeepers had agreed to voluntarily remove the encroachments by cutting the protruding iron rods. Warnings had also been issued to shopkeepers violating the norms in Sadar Bazar but they did not pay heed to the same. Hence, they were taken in by surprise as the operation finished before they came.

Mr Sohal, when contacted, said the Administration was taking a very serious view of the illegal encroachments and all those shopkeepers who are not able to produce the stay order would be covered under drive. And the authorities would ensure that they do not come back.

Meanwhile, the shopkeepers are sore about the demolitions just before Divali as they feel that they were not given adequate time and this will only dampen their spirits.


Ex-fliers' reunion today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 19 — War or peace, flying has always been an endless progression of adventure and excitement, of thrill and panic. For the stalwarts of the IAF's transport fleet, some of whom have logged the most spectacular and hair-raising experiences, there is perhaps nothing more gratifying then getting together and sharing old memories, trading anecdotes and bringing each other up to date.

As former officers of No 48 Squadron get- together for their first ever reunion here tomorrow, it promises to be another evening of bonhomie and espirit de corps, with the tales of the "good old days", joviality and hilarity resounding all around.

Over 20 couples based at Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Panchkula as well as in Patiala and Ludhiana are expected to attend the reunion, which will become an annual affair.

"Having led a hectic life during service, retired officers and their wives feel bored and inactive. So they decided to organise such a get-together," said Wg Cdr S.K. Ahluwalia (retd). "This will also revive old associations and bring each other up to date about family matters, important events and other achievements, besides fostering the espirit de corps," added Wg Cdr C.S. Grewal (retd), whose most memorable experience was flying the US Army Chief, Gen Dennis Reamer, from Udhampur to Leh in 1998.

The squadron itself has a chequered history. Raised of the venerable Dakota aircraft at Barrackpore in November 1959 with Sqdn Ldr Chandan Singh as its first commanding officer, it was re-equipped with US-built Packet aircraft in 1961. It moved to Kalaikunda, near Kharagpur, during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, in support of fighter squadrons, often operating from unprepared airstrips.

In July 1968, the squadron moved to Allahabad, but continued to maintain a detachment near Silchar during the Mizoram operations. Re-equipped with the AN-32, the squadron was moved to Chandigarh in 1986 where it has been engaged in air maintenance of Army units based in the northern sector.


Observe safety steps: SDM
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Oct 19 — Mr Devinder Singh, SDM, Kharar, has asked all wholesale dealers of Kharar sub-division to follow various prohibitory orders passed by the District Magistrate regarding sale and storage of crackers and all safety measures should be followed.

He was talking to traders in a meeting held here today, which was attended, among others, by Executive Officers of Kharar and Kurali municipal committees and representatives of Kharar and Kurali police also participated.


Stitching centres opened
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 19 — The Umeed Khanna Foundation today opened two stitching centres at Akoi Sahib and Ghabdan villages under its ongoing social welfare projects for the empowerment of women.

Mr Arvind Khanna, chairman of the foundation thanked the chief guest, Mrs Alep Kaur, who inaugurated the centres on behalf of the Akoi family of New Delhi.

He highlighted the fact that empowerment of women was a very important aspect of the Foundation’s social welfare projects. The centres would help rural women to generate income for family and serve the society.

Each centre is equipped with six sewing machines and other accessories. One qualified instructor, per centre, will impart instruction in dress designing, cutting and stitching.


Car stereos stolen
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 19 — In different complaints, the theft of two car stereos was reported to the Chandigarh police. Advocate Rajan Malhotra alleged that the stereo was taken out of the car parked outside his house in Sector 45 on Tuesday night. In the other complaint, Ms Bhupinder Kaur of Sector 44 also alleged that the stereo was pulled out of her car parked at her residence on Sunday. The police has registered cases under Section 379 of the IPC.

Two arrested

Two city residents were arrested by the police for allegedly creating nuisance at a public place. According to sources, the accused have been identified as Manav Jain of Sector 33 and Vishal Sharma of Sector 22. A case under Section 160 IPC has been registered against them.

Liquor seized

The police has booked a Manimajra resident under the Excise Act after 48 bottles of whisky were recovered from his house. According to sources, accused Angrej Singh had absconded.

Foreigner booked

Acting on the complaint by the Foreigners’ Registration Branch, the police has booked Kirara Moses Daniel under the Foreigners’ Act. According to sources, he was residing in Chandigarh after the expiry of his visa.

Purse stolen

The theft of a purse at the PGI was reported to the police by a Sector 38 resident, Mr Vivek Kumar Kaushik. According to sources, the purse contained Rs 210. A case under Section 379 IPC has been registered.


Tibetans to set up market from Oct 22
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Oct 19 — With 20-odd make-shift stalls in Sector 8 sanctioned by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), the Tibetans are preparing for the annual exhibition-cum-sale they hold in the city, beginning on October 22. This year, the added attraction at the stalls will be the clothes they are getting from Nepal.

“We sell everything from a cap to shoes. The woollens are usually from Ludhiana while jackets are specially bought from Nepal. We pick up the rest of the stuff, shoes and slippers, from Delhi,’’ says Tsering Younden.

Reacting to the threat of an agitation by local traders against the stalls by the Tibetans, she says that this is their only source of bread and butter. “We are refugees and meet our daily requirements with whatever is sold during the four months of the sale in the city. We have nowhere to go and no jobs are reserved for our children,’’ she adds.

They contend that being allotted space outside the sector ensures that the business in the shops is not hampered. “We don’t have as much variety to offer to the customers and some of our items are completely different from what is being sold in these showrooms. There is absolutely no scope for competition,’’ Younden informs.

Staying in tents behind the stalls, the Tibetans have applied for water connection and a temporary electricity connection with the respective departments.``Besides incurring the cost of setting up tents, we have these additional costs to bear. Any resentment among the business community of the city is unjustified and a four-month stint is all we are here for,’’ they hold.

The Tibetans say they have already lost out on a lot of business owing to the delay in grant of permission.”We usually come in a month before Diwali and sales pick up around that time. This time we have lost a lot of time,’’ they rue.


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