Wednesday, December 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City Beautiful areas plunged in darkness
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — Despite heavy police bandobast, power supply to northern and eastern parts of the union territory of Chandigarh was allegedly sabotaged with the vital 33 KV high tension line near Mani Majra facing the brunt of the sabotage which plunged close to 40 per cent of the city in darkness.

The darkness will continue as the employees of the Chandigarh Electricity Department are also on strike as a part of the nationwide protest by power employees against privatisation. Right since 10: 30 a.m., power supply to Sectors 7, 8, 9, 10,11, 12, 14,19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 27, 30, 34, 31, 44 , 45 and 46 was disrupted.

  • 40 per cent of the city in darkness
  • Sabotage alleged along the 33 KV line in Mani Majra
  • Water supply not affected
  • At several places switches next to the transformers found switched off
  • Hospitals functioned normally
  • Traffic light went out in large parts of the city
  • Shopkeepers had to down shutters after 6 p.m.
  • Restoration work to start after 8 a.m. tomorrow
  • Panchkula and S.A.S. Nagar largely normal 

Restoration work will start only after the strike ends at 8 a.m. tomorrow. The Chief Engineer, Mr R.K. Jain, said that methods used for sabotage could not be identified as yet, but at certain places the Gang Operative (GO) switches located alongside the transformers had been switched off.

As even the junior engineer level staff is on strike, the SDO ’s are trying to restore power supply during the night. With regard to the arrest of employees, who may have been involved in any kind of sabotage, Mr Jain said the police had already been told that anybody caught in the act may be booked.

The lack of power supply also rendered traffic lights non-functional and hit business in the sector level markets. Shopkeepers had to close down early as the darkness set in by 6 p.m. Even during the day several of shops did poor business, especially those of clothes and jewellery. In some cases generators and invertors were also used. By late in the evening city residents had braced for dark night. A Sector 20 shopkeeper, said “strikes are okay, but if power supply is switched off or sabotaged then the employees are damaging their own house and only creating a wrong impression about themselves”.

Despite the break in power supply water supply in the city remained normal, however, the sabotage also hit the power line feeding Sector 26 water works, the supply remained disrupted from 10.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. But this had no effect on the water supply as it was not the supply time.

The Chief Engineer, Municipal Corporation, Mr Puranjit Singh, said lines supplying electricity to the water works were rectified by their staff well in time and the evening supply from the water works was also normal. However, the tubewells in the adjoining areas, which feed these water works were not functional and this led to reduction in the collection of water. Hence, efforts were made immediately to divert water from Sector 32 and Sector 12 zones to Sector 26 zone.

The SE (Public Health), Mr Manmohanjit Singh, also said water supply from Kajauli from where the majority of city’s water supply is sourced, has been alright. He further said the MC had made adequate arrangements to ensure water supply to deal with any exigency. Infact, in some areas the morning supply timings were extended till 10 a.m. so as to enable the residents to store water. The same is likely to be done for Wednesday’s morning supply also.

As a precautionary measure, as many as 15 water tankers of the MC, besides 15 to 20 additional water tankers were sent to various sectors in the city after 5 p.m. In some of the areas, the tankers will be stationed for some time. According to reports received, no public complaints were lodged at the two complaint centres and even the water from tankers was not used.

Mr R.C. Raina and Mr B.M Verma supervised the water supply operations during the strike period.

According to Dr A.K. Gupta, Medical Superintendent of the PGI, the strike did not effect the hospital functioning at all. All the surgeries and other services were carried out. Though power and water supplies to hostels and the libraries did remain suspended.

Dr G. Dewan, DMS, General Hospital, Sector 16, also said that the hospital was fully geared up for tomorrow and continued functioning as normal. Reports gathered from the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, said that the strike did not have any effect on the working of the hospital.

DERA BASSI: A large number of Punjab State Electricity Board employees today staged a day-long dharna in front of the sub-divisional offices at Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru.

In Zirakpur, the agitating employees locked the SDO’s office at about 10 a.m, staged a dharna and shouted slogans in front of the office, however, power supply in the area remained normal.

PANCHKULA: The impact of the strike was not felt in the township. There were no power cut and water supply was normal. A special task force kept vigil in the field.

S.A.S. Nagar: Power and water supply remained normal in town here today. Though the striking electricity board employees staged a rally in front of the 66 KV sub station in Phase 1 here, no attempt was made to sabotage power supply. Due to normal power supply the water supply was not affected. Adequate security arrangements had been made at all the five sub stations — 220 KV and four 66 KV sub stations.

Sources in the Electricity Department said the power supply in certain villages in the S.A.S. Nagar and Kharar revenue sub-divisions was affected. They said the feeder supplying power to Lakhnour and some other villages, located along the SAS Nagar — Landhran road, was affected. Similarly the supply to villages in Majrian block which get supply from Majra power sub station was also affected. Unconfirmed reports of disruption in power supply from the Kurali area were also received. 



Army takes charge of mail 
Postal officials directed to hand over keys 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — The Army stepped in to tide over the crises caused by the postal employees, strike which entered its eighth day today. Bags of mail which had been lying in the General Post Office here were delivered to Ambala, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Bathinda.

On the other hand, the Chief Post Master General, Mr A.S.I.S. Paul, said the sub postmasters and treasurers, who have keys to the office cupboards and lockers to immediately return the keys to the postmaster or the superintendent of post office. Or else face action.

Meanwhile the Joint Council of Postal Employees today claimed that sorting and delivery of mail by Home Guards was an eyewash. Mr Surinder Pal, Convener of the council, said 150 well-trained staff of the Railway Mail Service sorts mail round the clock and also 260 postmen sort out mail of their respective areas. It was impossible for Home Guards to carry out such a task, employees claimed.

Around noon a rally of the striking employees was held outside the GPO, Sector 17, where it was alleged that the statement issued by the Union Minister of Communication, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, saying that he (Mr Paswan) did not know about the demands in detail, as wrong. In May this year Mr Paswan had given in writing that an agreement between postal employees and the Department of Posts would be implemented within six months.Back


Voter I-cards dumped in Sector 33
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — Hundreds of photo identity cards issued by the Election Commission of India were found dumped in Sector 33-B here today.

Most of these voter I-cards of voters are from various parts of Patiala district.

In what circumstances these were thrown into in a heap of sand is not known. But these are valid cards bearing no sign of being rejected or cancelled. These are duly signed by the authorities concerned. Though there are mistakes in certain cards but others are perfectly in order.

An unknown person from the sector contacted this correspondent on the telephone to give intimation about the abandoned cards. Some of these cards are in the possession of The Tribune. Some of these cards are in bad shape indicating that these were abandoned some weeks ago.

The cards have facsimile signatures of the electoral registration officer of the assembly constituency concerned. Most of these were issued in 1995.

Here are some details about these cards. The card bearing number 054585 has elector’s name as Harbans Kaur and husband’s name as Gurnam Singh. It bears an address of house number 62, Munia Heri village in Patiala district. The village falls in the Dakala constituency of Patiala district.

The other card bearing number 12369 has an elector’s name as Harjinder Singh son of Amar Singh. His age is 26 years . It bears an address of house number 125, Sarala Khurad village in Patiala district. This village falls in the Ghanur constituency. Of these some cards have been supposedly issued to voters of the Shatrana and Samana assembly constituencies of Patiala district.

This correspondent tried to get official version but no senior official was available immediately. If these cards have been rejected or cancelled by the authorities concerned, these should have been marked accordingly. These cards can also be used as identity cards under different government schemes according to instructions inscribed on these cards.


Roundabouts to have traffic lights, speed limit to be cut
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — Perturbed by constant traffic jams and accidents, the Chandigarh police has recommended the installation of traffic signals at the city roundabouts instead of replacing them. The police is also planning to reduce speed limits on all “major roads” in the city by 10 km per hour.

To begin with, the police has “short-listed” six roundabouts for the experiment, including the ones near Kisan Bhavan, Piccadilly and Batra cinemas.

“The problem at these roundabouts is worse as traffic from Ambala, SAS Nagar and Panckhula hits here directly resulting in jams and mishaps,” says a senior officer with the Chandigarh police. “If the experiment is a success here, then the police shall recommend the installation of lights at all roundabouts in the city”.

Justifying the decision, the officer said, “As many as 100 new vehicles hit the city roads every day. In Chandigarh, we now have over 4.75 lakh vehicles. Little wonder, the roundabouts, designed for much less vehicle population, have become ineffective”.

The decision, he said was significant also because the Chandigarh Administration came under “massive criticism” for “spoiling city’s character” by replacing the roundabouts on the Madhya Marg and other places with traffic signals.

Otherwise also, other officers said, “Road-crossings with traffic lights are much more dangerous than the ones with roundabouts”. He asserted: “Vehicles hit each other at an angle of 90 degrees causing maximum impact and severe injuries”.

Claiming to be in touch with authorities in the Chandigarh Administration, the officers says that the modalities are being worked out “for putting the proposal into practice”.

Certain town planners and architects are, however, “not too optimistic” about the proposal. A similar experiment was conducted by the authorities at the Sector 35 roundabout three or four years ago but was aborted without even studying the results, they point out.


City lad shines in USA
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — A city boy, Sumit Sarin, has climbed his way up in the world of computers in the USA with his book — Oracle Data Base Application — Tips and Techniques.

The voluminous book showing confusing figures and sketches is among those approved on the subject and has been appreciated. Mr Rohit De Souza, vice-president, Oracle Computers, says Oracle is a database empowerment in the e-commerce revolution and Mr Sarin has written an excellent book for understanding and administering the database. Information for work enthusiasts, particularly for database and Internet facilities, has been taken care of in the book.

Son of Prof S.K. Sarin, a retired physics professor in Government College, Sector 11, and Ms Rupa Sarin, a member of the Chandigarh Social Advisory Board, Sumit is graduate of Punjab Engineering College. He entered the world of computers in 1996. He currently holds a managerial post in Oracle Company in Dallas (Texas).

Talking about e-mail services, Sumit says the main area is business through computers. He adds that computers have not been leveraged to our benefit in India, unlike in the USA. There is virtually a non-effective deployment here with low techno-friendly applications. He differs with the opinion that computers will take away jobs. 


How Pak battalion was routed
Excerpts from interrogation report
By Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — The Chhamb sector, north-west of Jammu, has always been a weak point in Indian defence, with Pakistani forces capturing it in both, the 1965 and 1971 wars. Though it was returned to India in exchange for the Haji Pir pass after the 1965 operations, it was recaptured by Pakistan in 1971 and continues to be in its possession.

The strategic importance of the Akhnoor-Chhamb-Jaurion axis lies in the fact that it is the lifeline to the Poonch and Rajouri sectors and by capturing it large chunks of territory in that theatre can be lost, besides a threat being posed to the entire state. Almost 30 years later, the Battle of Chhamb, fought on the western banks of the Manawar Tawi, forms a part of the higher command curriculum at the College of Combat. Besides, after the war was over, a presentation on the battle became an annual feature.

Interestingly, the area has been the gateway to India from the north-west for foreign invaders since the time of Alexander.

In December, 1971, Pakistan’s 23 Infantry Division had launched a successful offensive in that sector. Only one enemy infantry battalion — 13 Azad Kashmir (AK) Battalion — was checked by Indian troops and its commanding officer, Lt-col Barshat Ahmed, captured. Excerpts of his interrogation report, made available to The Tribune, give the enemy’s perspective of the battle, which has been largely overshadowed by a larger issue.

According to the report, Colonel Ahmed claimed that the division attack was to be launched in two phases, with the first phase involving the capture of Mandiala and Sakrana. The second phase involved the capture of the Kachreal feature by 4 AK Brigade, of which 13 AK Battalion was a part. The brigade plan was to attack across the Manawar Tawi, with two battalions up on the left, 6 AK Battalion on the right and 13 AK Battalion along with 47 Punjab being in reserve. According to the plan, 23 Cavalry was supposed to link up with them on the east of the Tawi on December 5.

The first phase of the division attack was launched as planned on December 3 at 2130 hours, but only Mandiala North was secured.

“Phase two was launched by our brigade on December 4 at 2030 hours. The brigade concentrated just behind Mandiala Heights a few hours before H-Hour. The attack was launched with very little recce and preparation,” Colonel Ahmed stated. “Things did not go in our favour. Firstly, our left flank got exposed, primarily because the CO of 6 AK Battalion did not lead the attack, but detailed his second-in-command (2 I/C) instead,” he added. The 2 I/C reportedly did not carry out his assigned task and failed to move ahead.

Us jalil ki wajhe se tamam Pakistani buland irade khak mein mil gaye... I recommended that CO 6 AK Battalion be tried by special military court and he be sentenced to death,” the report quotes Colonel Ahmed as stating.

The second reason given was that despite being outnumbered, the Indian infantry faced the enemy attack so ferociously that the Pakistanis suffered heavy casualties." Thirdly, my battalion was deprived of effective artillery fire support as the FOOs got separated and my orders to modify the fire plan were not complied with,” Colonel Ahmed is claimed to have stated.

Apart from an effective and accurate Indian artillery barrage, Colonel Ahmed said “the bold Indian armoured manoeuvre in the sector which disorganised my command and created panic in my battalion” was among the factors which led to the fiasco. “Khuda kasam, aap ke tanks ne tebahi macha di,” the Pakistani officer had claimed according to the excerpts.

An important reason for the rout of the Pakistani battalion was that tanks of 23 Cavalry failed to link up with the troops on December 5 as planned, and the reorganisation of the battalion was not carried out properly. “There was no thought given to movement of ammunition and reorganisation stores to forward positions. It pains me a lot to say that the attack failed and my battalion got disorganised and suffered heavy casualties,” Colonel Ahmed had stated.

“I myself got wounded, with the result I could not get across Manawar Tawi and was captured. Yes, I was captured. I was captured, near that Mandiala bridge, by your commandos,” the excerpts mention the Pakistani commanding officer as saying.


Preventing spread of AIDS

IT will not be a mistake to describe AIDS as the challenge of the 21st century. A number of hoardings have been put up at public places, railway stations, bus stops, hospitals etc educating people about AIDS. Besides, a number of programmes on AIDS and family planning are being shown on the television. But inspite of this, the people do not seem to have become alert about this disease. In 1981, the first HIV positive case was noticed in the USA. In a short span of 19 years, most of the countries of the world are in the grip of AIDS.

In India over 50 per cent of the infected people fall in the 15-25 age group. According to a survey conducted by the WHO, more than 27.9 million persons are HIV infected and 7.7 million have developed AIDS, of whom one million are in India. By the end of 2000, about 110 million persons will be HIV infected.

Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to this disease and people often associate the infected persons with loose morals. When one is infected with AIDS, every one in the family shuns him. He is treated like an untouchable. But we should keep in mind that HIV infection does not spread by social contact like shaking hands, hugging, social kissing, sharing food, using a common toilet and living under one roof.

It is heartening to note that the State AIDS Control Society of Chandigarh has launched seven targeted intervention projects with the help of NGOs for creating awareness about HIV, AIDS and bringing about a change in the behaviour of people. Through these projects, some of the services like consultancy from qualified doctors, free medicines, counselling facilities, one-to-one interaction, awareness camps, sensitisation through folk media, distribution of information material, exhibition and distribution of condoms will be provided.

Only education and information about this disease can prevent the spread of AIDS. However, a lot of money is being spent every year and AIDS awareness and prevention programmes, but no satisfactory results have been noticed yet. Awareness programmes should also be started on a large scale in the rural areas and slums. Sex education should be provided at the school level without any delay, so that the children are properly educated about sex and AIDS. The new generation can help in a big way to stop the spread of AIDS.

Sunil K. Dogra

Neglected roads

The roads of Subhash Nagar in Manimajra which were laid about seven years ago, have not been repaired or recarpeted since then. Ditches and deep potholes have appeared on these roads which remain filled with stagnant water. Pedestrians and drivers often fall into them and get hurt.

The residents of Subhash Nagar have made several requests to the administration to repair these roads without any result. They also visited the office of the Executive Engineer (Roads), Mr Mukesh Anand. He said though the estimates for repairing the roads had been passed, funds were not made available.

I urge the authorities concerned to look into the matter and clarify whether any funds have been allocated for the repair of these roads.


Kirpal Singh

In the report, “Kirpal Singh heads Chief Khalsa Diwan” (The Tribune, Dec 4), Mr Kirpal Singh has been described as a senior Akali leader.

Mr Kirpal Singh, a freedom fighter, who went to jail at the tender age of 14, has never been an Akali leader. Before independence he was a Congress worker and after independence he joined the Praja Socialist Party. He was an associate of Jayaprakash Narayan. He has been president of the Amritsar Municipal Committee. He was elected MP and MLA either as an Independent or on the Janata Party ticket. He got the support of the Akali Party, but he never joined this party.

Narinder Singh


Will cops also fasten car belts? 
By Nishikant Dwivedi

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — Following a High Court order making the use of seat belts by drivers of four-wheelers mandatory, the traffic police started challaning those without the belts. But after retrospection, the cops stopped challaning and instead decided to educate the drivers. But the police’s own house is not in order — most of the four wheelers belonging to the Chandigarh police — are moving around in the city without the mandatory seat belts.

Interestingly, most of the Police Control Room (PCR) Gypsies and other escort vehicles, police sources, are without the mandatory seat belts. This is not all, even seat belts were missing in the vehicles of some of the senior police officials. According to police sources the bullet-proof Ambassador car of Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, does not have the seat belt either and so as the official vehicle of Mr H.G.S. Dhaliwal, Assistant Superintendent of Police (central). However, Mr Sagar Preet Hooda claims that his official vehicle has a seat belt and is used.

Though some of the vehicles being purchased recently for the Police Department are fitted with the belts, they, according to sources, are seldom used. Colonel Bindra, General Manager, Pasco Automobiles, said seat belts could be easily installed in Gypsies. He told, ‘‘The Maruti even supplies seat belts as accessories’’. However, it could not be ascertained weather the Gypsies and other vehicles with the department had belts or not at the time when they were bought.

A senior police official on the condition of anonymity said: ‘‘We are educating the public to use seat belts and it had never occurred to us that our own vehicles are without them’’.

The traffic police had initially challaned vehicles without seat belt but later it suspended the drive. A senior police official said that it was very important to educate people about the importance of seat belts and thus we started educating them first.

When asked why some of the personnel on PCR Gypsies do not wear seat belts, they said their vehicles did not have the belts. One of them said that he was aware of the importance of seat belt but ‘‘our’s is a job in which at times we have to act immediately and a crucial time could be wasted in unhooking the belt’’.

Following the High Court directions the owners of four wheelers in the city started installing the belts. Several makeshift shops selling seat belts mushroomed up along city roads and they were doing brisk business.

When contacted Mr Parag Jain, SSP said that it was the primary duty of the vehicle drivers to observe all safety norms. ‘‘This is the reason we stress more on educating people instead enforcing traffic rules on them’’. When asked about his own car, he said that his new car is fitted with the belt.

The SSP issued immediate orders to install seat belts in vehicles without them. In his order he directed all drivers of PCR Gypsies and escort vehicles with seat belts to wear them.


Polyclinic doctors strike work for an hour 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — Doctors at the polyclinic, Sector 22 struck work for over an hour today to protest against a Haryana cadre IAS officer who allegedly used foul language with a doctor yesterday.

According to Dr Neelam Bhardwaj, radiologist at the Government Poly-clinic, Sector 22, Mr R.R. Jowel, an IAS officer from Haryana had misbehaved and used foul language with her after she asked him to follow certain hospital rules.

Mr R.R. Jowel, Administrator, Command Development Authority, Haryana, against whom the allegation is based, has, however, denied the charges.

Talking to The Tribune, he said that the doctor concerned has blown the issue out of proportion fearing that he might complain against her misbehaviour with him.

According to Dr Neelam Bhardwaj, on Monday — December 11, Mr Suraj Bhan, a relative of Mr R.R. Jowel, was referred to her for an abdomen ultrasound by Dr Pawan Kumar Kansal, a medical specialist at the polyclinic.

“The Mr Suraj Bhan’s OPD slip was without a registration number. As per the rules, I asked the person accompanying him to get the registration done.

The person accompanying Mr Suraj Bhan retorted that he was R.R. Jowel, an IAS officer of the commissioner rank with the Haryana Government and could not be expected to get the registration done himself. Following this I simply asked my staff nurse to get the number on the registration slip, “ she added.

After examining Mr Suraj Bhan, she asked for the assessment of OPD slip for payment charges of the ultrasound . “I did not know whether Mr Suraj bhan was entitled for a free ultrasound or not.

This really infuriated Mr Jowel following which, he verbally abused me saying that he could ask any number of doctors to come home and do an ultrasound for him and how could I even dare to ask for an assessment slip from him.”

She says that the entire incident had happened in presence of staff members and colleagues. “ If he really is a senior IAS officer then the matter needs to be investigated so that image of bureaucracy is not tarnished, “ asserts Dr Bhardwaj.

In the representation, addressed to the Chief Minister, Haryana, Chief Secretary, Haryana, Personnel Secretary , Haryana, Finance Secretary, UT and Director Health Services, UT, Dr Bhardwaj has demanded an early action. “ In my 18 years of service, no one has treated me so shabbily. I am a class I gazetted officer and If this is the way an IAS officer treats a woman in my position, I wonder what his attitude might be to someone who cannot even speak for herself. In fact, I strongly fear that he may harm me and my family due to his high connections.

On the other hand, Mr Jowel, vehemently refuting the allegations, says that he never misbehaved with Dr Bhardwaj. “In fact, I just wanted my brother to be checked up , for which I had to face severe humiliation. In fact, Dr Kansal is a good friend of mine, which is why I went to the sector 22 polyclinic.”

He further adds that he just told the doctor in question, that despite being an IAS officer and a friend of Dr Kansal, he had to wait for as many as 25 minutes for his turn.

“To that she responded with —So what, if you are an IAS. Following this, I told her that I wanted my papers back . She refused and an argument followed. I certainly did not misbehave with the lady.”

Mr Jowel adds that he is a respectable administrative officer, in service for more than 15 years. “ I have written confidential reports of several senior doctors in the past. I think this case has been blown out of proportion because the doctor concerned got scared when she realised my position.

If I complain against her, she would possibly be transferred back to her parent cadre — Punjab, as she is on deputation in the UT. So she decided to confuse the entire issue. Due to lack of time, I have not been able to lodge a complaint against her, which I intend to do very soon,” he added. 


Plea to ‘release’ 40 safai workers
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Dec 12 — Municipal councillors here today sought withdrawal of 40 safai karamcharis of the civic body working as domestic help at the residences of politicians, and senior officials of the Local Government Department. An order in this regard was expected to be passed by the municipal committee soon.

The President of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh, has sought a list of the safai karamcharis from the Executive Officer and In charge of the sanitary wing. The issue came up for discussion at a meeting between the councillors and Mr Kulwant Singh and the employees of the civic body here today. At least seven councillors were present at the meeting.

Expressing concern over the poor state of sanitation in the town, the president directed the sanitation staff to pull up their socks. In future the sanitary inspector concerned would be asked to give in writing about the state of sanitation in his respective area.

One of the councillor present at the meeting, Mr N.K. Marwaha, said possibility of reducing the hike in water and sewerage charges or withdrawing the same was being explored. Details of the revenue and the expenditure incurred in the supply of water was being sought from the Public Health Department. He said : “If possible we were trying to calculate that how much we can afford to decrease the increased water and sewer charges”.

Another issue on the agenda of the civic body was the drop in octroi collection. Not ruling out pilferage of octroi to the tune of over Rs 1 lakh daily was taking place, certain councillors said an effort could be made to privatise octroi collection. In the wake of failure of the civic body to privatise octroi collection a section of councillors feel that the reserved price to auction the octroi collection could be reduced. 


Row over cutting ribbon 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — The ‘inauguration’ of Sector 47 community centre by the area councillor, Ms Ranjana Shahi, has kicked up a controversy with regard to powers of a councillor to do so without valid permission.

Following a letter shot off by the Chairman of the Arts and Culture Committee, the MC Commissioner has ordered the submission of report regarding the matter to him. The report states that no formal permission was granted by the authorities concerned for the said function and that the councillor ought to have sought permission.

The state president of the BJP, Mr Dharam Pal Gupta, has also sought a clarification as to why the matter was not resolved within the party and why the same had to be referred to the Mayor. This brings bad image to the party and such disputes should be avoided.

The entire sequence of events was spurred by the area councillor, who reportedly inaugurated the community centre on Sunday without seeking permission from the Commissioner or the Mayor and without informing the Arts, Culture and Sports Committee. The chairman of the committee, Mr R.L. Arora, had in a letter to the Mayor and Commissioner yesterday pointed out that the inauguration of the building was in violation of the rules and sought an inquiry into why the necessary permission was not sought. Mr Arora when contacted said that a decision had already been taken in the previous art and culture committees that all community centres in the city will be formally inaugurated and funds will be provided for the same.

Chief Engineer, Puranjit Singh in his report to the Commissioner has reportedly stated that the condition of the building had deteriorated since it had been deserted for years without maintenance. The same was handed over to the MC by the administration in 1997 but the officials had not taken the possession of the same on the ground that it had some technical faults. But following a demand of CBI inquiry into the matter by the councillor Ms Shahi, the possession was taken and the area councillor thereafter strived to improve the condition of the building.

The report further adds that Ms Shahi had sought a formal permission from the Commissioner for the inauguration but the same was referred to the Mayor, who in turn refused the same. The mayor perhaps rejected in on the ground that the process of inaugurating these centres would be initiated in one go only. The councillor then organised the function at the local level and the money was also spent by the residents, it is learnt.

BJP councillor, Ms Ranjana Shahi maintain that the massive building, which had been lying as such for the past 18 years had only been thrown open to the public, to provide them the facility of a community centre. Efforts had also been made to open the centre in 1997, after the creation of the MC but some people had created some opposition then also. Eventually, Union Minister and BJP leader, Ms Uma Bharti had inaugurated the janj ghar. She clarified that the centre, which had been carved out from the main building has been furnished from her ward development fund and that there was no formal inauguration. “The local residents had organised a simple function to honour her for the development work done in the ward’’, she added.

Ms Shahi further said that no permission was required from the committee for furnishing the centre since in principle the furnishing of all centres already stood approved. She said she would continue to work for the people despite such hinderances. Back


Meet the Best All Round Cadet 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — For Lt Vishal Singh, bagging the President’s Gold Medal for standing first in the order of merit in his course at the Indian Military Academy, is another feather in his cap.

After having topped in his class through school and then earning the Commandant’s Medal for the Best All Round Cadet at the National Defence Academy’s 98th Course, the 21-year old, newly commissioned officer, looks at it philosophically. “It is a part of life. You win some, you loose some. It dosen’t matter if you win sometimes,” he said.

Presently in the city to visit his maternal grandparents and elder brother Vikram Singh, who is posted at the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation,” Lt Vishal Singh has been commissioned into the 11th Armoured Regiment after having passed out from the IMA on December 9.

“It was eight days before the passing out parade, when the results were announced, that I got to know that I had topped,” he said. “I was working hard towards it and I had the intuition that I would be among the top ten,” he added.

“I called up my parents at Nahan, who were very happy to hear the news. My father had said that he had expected nothing less from me,” Vishal said. His father is a doctor with the Himachal Pradesh Animal Husbandry Department.

Born at Bihta village near Ambala, Vishal had his initial schooling from the Army School, Nahan, and then joined the Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehra Dun in 1992, where topped all through Class VI to XII. “It was more of a chance that I joined RIMC. My father had asked me if I would like to join it and I agreed. At that time I had no clue as to what it was all about other than it was a good school with a lot of adventure activities and excitement,” he recalled. From his batch of 25, 23 cadets had opted to join the NDA with 20 finally getting selected.

Though he had a choice on joining the NDA or opting out, he preferred the former. “It becomes a prestige issue,” he states. “Both the present chief as well as the one before him were RIMC alumnus,” he added.

Extremely fond of polo, he had been awarded the NDA Blazer in riding and polo, the highest award for a cadet. “It was the most proud moment of my life. Infact, one reason he opted for the Armoured Corps, he says, is that it would give him an opportunity to play polo, which as he puts it, “is a game of kings”.

Fond of reading and outdoor activities like mountaineering and camping, Vishal had won the National Junior Horse Riding Championships held at Pune in 1999, besides the Brigade of Guards Gold Medal for the Services and two Bronze Medals for shooting.

Reflecting on his experiences at the IMA, he said, “Life is very different and professional at the academy. It is a place where you learn what the Army is all about. Only the best can survive.”


‘Badal defying Akal Takht’
Tribune New Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — Members of the Khalsa Panchayat, Chandigarh, have taken serious note of the alleged open defiance of the authority of the Akal Takht by the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, by issuing a press statement that the RSS was not interfering in the Sikh religion.

“The way the RSS is publishing literature and calendars and its leadership is openly working to destroy the Sikh religion is well known, not only to the people of Punjab, but to the entire nation. Mr Badal’s eyes are blind-folded.

He has sold the interest of the Sikh community to save his chief ministership”, said Mr Rajinder Singh, convener of the Panchayat, here today.


5 milk plants get ISO-9002 
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Dec 12 — Five milk plants and two cattle feed plants of Milkfed have received certification under ISO-9002.

This was stated by Mr B.M. Mahajan, Managing Director, Milkfed, Punjab, at a cattle fair organised today at Chaklan village by Verka Milk Plant, SAS Nagar, in coordination with the Chaklan Milk Producers’ Cooperative Society, Ltd.

Mr Mahajan said on the basis of quality Milkfed had earned substantial amount of foreign currency by supplying Verka products to other countries.

Mr Suresh Kumar, Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, who was the chief guest, said farmers should keep animals of quality breed for more milk production at lesser cost. He stressed the need to adopt cooperatives in view of the present day competition.

Mr M.M. Munjial, Managing Director, Milk Union, Ropar, said new schemes like clean milk production programme, green fodder development, CIBP etc had been launched for the benefit of milk producers. He said Rs 12.49 lakh had been paid as additional incentive to farmers during the current year.

Mr Baldev Singh Chakkal, chairman of the local milk plant highlighted various facilities like cost free veterinary services, artificial insemination programme and remunerative price.


Sweaters given to night school kids 
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — A total of 35 students of a night school for slum children of Government Primary School in Bapu Dham, Sector 26, received sweaters distributed by Mr D.S. Saroya, DPI, Schools, Chandigarh, here today. The Durga Das Foundation is running this school. It was started two months ago for the children of colony who are not able to attend the school in the daytime.

“This was General Jacob’s dream to involve the ragpickers and child servants to study through evening schools. These colonies need to be adopted and motivated. The foundation is doing the task to fulfil our objective,” said Mr Saroya.

The coordinator of the project from the foundation, Mr S.S. Walia, said the literacy campaign included basic familarity with alphabets and mathematics for the children between 6 and 12 years.

Mamta, who is attending the school for one month, said her family was very happy about it, whereas Sarasvati complained that her mother did not allow her to attend the school very often.


Youth missing
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — A 27-year-old youth of Vadodra, Sukesh Kumar Dogra, working with a local private firm for the past four years, is reportedly missing. After hearing no news about him for the past five months, his parents came to the city looking for him. A Daily Diary Report (DDR) has been lodged with the Sector 22 police post. The father of the boy, Mr Man Chand Dogra, said the marriage of the boy had been fixed in February next and there were concerned about his whereabouts. The parents of the boy are staying at the Arya Samaj Mandir in Sector 22 here.


Curtains on kidnapping case, boy returns home
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — Ringing down the curtain on the kidnapping drama, 16-year-old school student Amit Mittal, missing since Monday morning, returned home from Hoshiarpur in the evening today. He was escorted to his Sector 37 residence by his two uncles.

His father, Mr Mahavir Mittal, said Amit, after ‘‘losing control on himself’’ had boarded a bus to Hoshiarpur in the morning itself. After ‘‘regaining control’’ in morning today, he called up his mother and expressed the desire to return home, said Mr Mittal. Amit, he added, had spent the night on the bus stand.

Giving details, he said the money was borrowed from the friend accompanying him. Before walking his way to the bus stand, Amit had told his friend to inform his family, Mr Mittal added.

Refuting the police claim regarding the boy leaving on his own due to ‘‘fear of examinations’’, Mr Mittal added that Amit had performed ‘‘superbly in previous papers’’.

Amit, according to initial reports, was kidnapped after he and his friend were stopped by the persons in the ‘‘un-numbered’’ van. They had asked for the address of Saini Bhavan before putting a handkerchief on Amit’s nose. The cycle was thrown on the road and Amit was dragged into the vehicle. The family was informed by the ‘‘trembling’’ friend.

Senior police officers, when contacted, said the boy had left on his own. Regarding the allegations of Amit being kidnapped, they added that the two had planned the ‘‘holiday’’ since long.


Woman burns herself to death 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — A 22-year-old house wife allegedly burnt herself to death at her residence in Badheri village today. She was said to be in a state of depression because she had no children.

The neighbours, seeing the smoke rising from Gommi’s one-room house, reportedly raised the alarm before rushing to the spot. They called fire fighters, along with a welder, upon finding the door locked from inside. By the time they managed to enter the room, it was too late.

Gommi’s “badly charred” body, said sources in the police, was kept in the room for “quite some time” as the neighbours went in search for her husband working as labourer.

The sources added that Gommi, married for four years, was suffering from depression as she was issueless.


Two held for creating nuisance 
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 12 — The police yesterday arrested two persons, Jaggi of Ropar district and Sohan Lal of Darwa village on the charges of creating nuisance at a public place. A case under Section 160 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Car stolen

Mr Krishna Murari of Ambala City reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-5275) was stolen on the night of December 11 from Labana Bhavan in Sector 30 here. A case under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

House burgled

Mr Pappu Khan of Hallo Majra village reported that a music system, a bank pass book and Rs 3,600 were stolen from his house yesterday afternoon. A case under Sections 380 and 454 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Theft reported

Mr Kanwar Kuldeep Singh of Sector 37 reported that a car stereo and a battery was stolen from his car which was parked at his house on Saturday night. A case under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered. 

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