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


Admn to implement Punjab Apartment Act
Freehold conversion of flats built by CHB
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 — To enable the transfer of thousands of flats built by the Chandigarh Housing Board and the cooperative group housing societies from leasehold to a more convenient freehold basis, the Chandigarh Administration will be implementing the Punjab Apartment Act with suitable amendments incorporated from the Maharashtra Apartment Act applicable in Mumbai.

This Act has to be introduced to enable the transfer of flats on a floor-basis, sources said while explaining that the conversion to freehold cannot be implemented in isolation. The Apartment Act, which will legally permit the transfer of a first floor or a second floor flat, in the buyers name, has to run along side the conversion scheme, officials said. Besides, several people who are presently living in houses and need to sell off a floor due to financial or social reasons cannot do so. The Apartment Act will allow such sale also.

The idea to adopt the Apartment Act is an addition to the major proposal of the Chandigarh Administration sent to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for converting all leasehold property in the city into freehold. The MHA has also raised relevant queries to the entire subject, well-placed sources said. The Finance Secretary, Mr Rakesh Singh, confirmed that the Administration was considering to implement the Punjab Act with relevant modifications as it was done when the Punjab Municipal Act was adopted in Chandigarh.

Under the provisions of the Reorganisation of States Act, 1966, it was easier to implement a Punjab Act than an Act of any other state, said the Finance Secretary. Actually the freehold system for multi-storey flats cannot be put in place without the adoption of the Apartment Act, he added.

Technically, at present, all allottees of the CHB flats as well as the group housing societies are sub-leasees of the land on which the flats have been constructed. The leasee is the CHB which has been allotted land by the Estate Office on a chunk basis. To change this legal position, all lands allotted to the CHB have to be made freehold, making the allottees leasees. The CHB will then convert it into freehold to each allottee. To carry this out, the Apartment Act, which allows the sale of each floor separately, is required.

Already the Administration is working on a scheme to have all leasehold property converted into freehold property in the city to ease out the problems being faced by members of the public in buying leasehold property. Usually such property is sold on the basis of General Power of Attorneys or Special Power of Attorneys leading to a number of problems and litigations at later stages.

Another reason is that each year thousands of people deposit the lease money leading to unnecessary paper work, and with the Government of India not allowing any new posts it makes sense that paper work is cut down. Once property is converted, no annual money is to be deposited, explained sources.Back


Postal services likely to improve from today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 — With the Chandigarh Administration invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) yesterday and the Punjab Government likely to follow suit, the postal services are expected improve further from tomorrow.

According to Mr A.S.I.S Paul, Chief Postmaster General of the Punjab and Chandigarh Circle, on Sunday 22 head post offices, 46 sub-offices and five sorting offices remained open for the convenience of the public. In Chandigarh alone, 12 sub-offices and the GPO functioned smoothly with 120 members reporting on duty.

The entire registered and parcel mail has been sorted out, and remaining has been arranged beat-wise and will be delivered tomorrow. The ordinary mail was being delivered by Home Guard volunteers.

In sorting office of Chandigarh, ordinary mail has been cleared and remaining registered and parcel mail is being processed for the onward despatch to different stations.

Meanwhile, the Joint Council of Action, while criticising the imposition of ESMA, termed as ‘misleading’ the government statements that conceding to the employees’ demands would burden the state exchequer.


PU decision to affect SC, ST job quota
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 — Panjab University’s stand on the implementation of reservation policy for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates for posts in the teaching faculties hangs in balance as the issue has temporarily been put off with a top-level indication that no posts would be advertised in the next two to three months.

Clear indication in this regard has been given by Prof K.N. Pathak, the Vice-Chancellor, in a meeting of the Standing Committee in an earlier meeting this session, sources said.

The issue of greater reservation for posts in the teaching branch on the campus has been repeatedly brought to the notice of the university houses. Candidates carry bagfuls of representations sent right from the local authorities to the Centre.

One reason pointed out for the postponement was that ‘the assessment of manpower required in the teaching and non-teaching posts was being carried out. There was also an embargo imposed by the Board of Finance’.

“Rooster system would be started for lecturer’s posts with effect from January 2001”, the meeting decided. It was also decided that advertisements for various posts would be issued in March 2001 or during summer vacation’.

Another proposal which was agreed to was that if no suitable candidate belonging to the reserved category was found then at least 50 per cent posts would be filled from the general category and the remaining 50 per cent would be re-advertised. If again no candidate was found suitable then the seats would be passed on to the general category.

The standing committee also decided favourably regarding the budget provisions of Rs 1 lakh exclusively for providing subsidy and assistance to the SC and ST candidates.

Professor Pathak has asked the office to prepare a list of SC and ST candidates who had been admitted to the university and affiliated institutions.

The meeting was attended by Prof Raj Mohini Sethi, Prof S.L. Kansra, Dr V.T. Sebastian, Principal A.C. Bedi, Mr Kehar Singh, Prof Paramjit Singh and Mr Gurdev Singh Meen among others.

The main agenda of the meeting urged “overseeing effective implementation of policies and programmes for the SCs and STs.” The committee has also been asked to suggest measures for achieving the objectives.

Highlighting the problem Dr V.T. Sebastian said ‘some candidates who had disclosed their identity had not been called for interviews. In future, such candidates should be taken seriously’.

Prof Shenmar said as far he knew there was no Professor in this category and there were only two readers. Caste based prejudices “were” there in the selections. “A special drive should be launched for the recruitment of SC and ST candidates”, he added.

However, it was pointed out that reservation was only at level of lecturers. It was also pointed out that SC, ST or physically handicapped, in case, appearing for interview should have one member (of the same reserved category) on the selection committee.

Mr Kehar Singh expressed his opinions on the matter hoping that the issue would be resolved at the earliest.


Joginder dons the mantle of actor
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 — Known for his honesty and courage, former CBI Director, Joginder Singh is now playing a new role: He is acting in an hour-long telefilm ‘‘No Sir,’’ based on his life and achievements.

In the city today to complete the film, Mr Joginder Singh — also known by his sobriquet ‘‘tiger’’ in police and media circles — says the film is based on his previous books and fresh facts, which might annoy a large number of politicians and men in power.

The film, scheduled for release on January 13, is based on Mr Joginder Singh’s autobiography “Outside CBI” and his other works including his bestseller “Inside CBI”. It shows his early life and his role in booking those involved in the infamous fodder scandal in Bihar. There is only background music in the movie, which has been shot in Jalalabad, his hometown, Ludhiana, Chandigarh and Panchkula.

Joginder Singh, who has been busy writing books and columns in newspapers, says he intends to match Khushwant Singh. “I find that till now my biggest achievement has been writing. ’’ After having authored 10 books — the last one being ‘Be the Best’ — he adds ‘‘ my best is yet to come.”

Despite my requesting the director that he should take someone younger for acting, the director, P.S. Nirola, wanted me to act my life. “Though the shooting has been going on for four months , we intend to finish the whole project today itself.” Mr Joginder Singh adds with the grin of a debutant actor in Bollywood. On his other scheduled appearance in front of the camera, Mr Joginder Singh said that he would be hosting a talk-cum-game show on the CBI for TV.

The film aims at giving courage to the younger generation to stand up. ‘‘I believe the average citizen needs to fight injustice with courage and to realise that he matters,” said the former Karnataka-cadre IPS official.

Is politics his next target? “I do not rule out the possibility of anything in life. But as far as politics is concerned, we will cross the bridge when we come to it. In CBI, I tried to question and hold responsible those who traditionally are never questioned, like the politicians and senior bureaucrats, especially those in power.”

The criminal justice system of the country needs radical package reforms. There are crores of cases pending with the courts. Almost 2500 cases are to be dealt with on an average by a single judge in an year. When imparting of justice takes years, fairness in justice suffers.

“I speak from my heart and never lie. Believe me, people are scared of those who never lie or compromise, and that is your power.”

To be released on January 13, 2001, the film has been produced by P.S. Kamal. 


Consensus eludes BJP on Mayor’s post
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 — With only five days left for the elections to the Mayor’s post, no consensus about the candidate has so far emerged. However, few candidates from both groups of the BJP staked their claims to the post during Ram Das Aggarwal’s visit to the city yesterday.

Sources reveal that the task of selecting a candidate who is acceptable to both groups of the BJP is not going to be very easy this time. However, the decision will be conveyed by December 19, the last date for filing nominations after deliberations between the BJP leaders and the RSS, it is learnt.

During separate meetings with the BJP councillors today, Mr Aggarwal did try to gauge their opinion on the issue of the Mayor’s candidature. Interestingly, from the Satya Pal Jain group, four contestants namely Mr Prem Sagar Jain, Mr Raghubir Lal Arora, Mr O.P. Goyal and Air Marshal R.S Bedi staked their respective claims to the post. Mr Jain reportedly put forth his claims as the most suitable candidate in view of his experience and his long association with the party. But his incomplete tenure as Senior Deputy Mayor and his resigning as an F and CC member mid-way may go against him. Mr Arora and Mr O.P. Goyal also expressed their desire for the post. While Air Marshal R.S. Bedi also contended his stand, no one from the Jain group spoke for Air Marshal Bedi, who was earlier being tipped as one of the candidates. But sources reveal, his name may be recommended for the post keeping in view the fact that he is a senior retired officer and has so far not been given any prominent post in the House during the past four years.

On the other hand, the Gupta group, which was earlier fielding Mr Des Raj Tandon in his capacity as a party loyalist, has now suggested the name of Ms Ranjana Shahi. The members of the group feel that she is a performer and since she has a good rapport with bureaucracy, she will be able to undertake development works in the public interest. She is presently a member of the Finance and Contract Committee (F and CC), besides being the chairman of the Water, Sewerage and Disposal Committee of the MC.

The Akalis, who are the allies of the ruling BJP party in the MC house, are not likely to settle for the post of the Deputy Mayor this time. The party members at a meeting held recently put the responsibility of sorting out this issue on the shoulders of the party president, Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar. Sources reveal that they will begin by staking their claim to the Mayor’s post on the ground that they have been giving them support for the past four years and that their candidate should be given a chance during the last year. But will ultimately agree if they are offered the Senior Deputy Mayor’s post. But this is not going to be possible, for there are only two Akali members in the House (Mr Mohinder Singh and Mrs Harjinder Kaur) who are divided and do not see face to face at the political level.

The Congress councillors have not yet come out in the open though it may get the benefit of the prevailing BJP rift. But one thing is clear that the rift will have no bearing on the elections once the party decides on a candidate, for the dissidents know this time that they will not be considered for the party ticket next year for the elections to the House. The party in all probability will select that councillor who cannot only manage the affairs of the House but is also able to get the BJP credit for various development works keeping in view the next elections.


Cop crushed to death
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Dec 17 — A constable of the Haryana police, Brahm Dutt, was crushed to death by a truck while carrying out patrolling in Old Panchkula late last night. A case has been registered and his body sent to his village after post-mortem.

The in charge of the police post in Sector 6, ASI Amar Singh, said that the deceased, along with head constable Surinder Singh, was standing near a dhaba at Majri Chowk when the incident took place.

Shocked by the incident, Surinder Singh, could not note the number of the truck involved in the accident. Also, the absence of adequate lighting arrangement in the area proved to be a deterrent in the noting down of the number.

Incidentally, Brahm Dutt was one of the two persons who had found an abandoned baby on a rehri on Friday night in the same area. He was by the side of the baby while her medical check-up was being carried out in General Hospital in the morning and left after she was handed over to the Bal Niketan. 


CGHS facilities likely for city
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Dec 17 — Chandigarh figures in the Centre’s proposal for the extension of Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) facilities in the remaining part of the Ninth Five Year Plan, said Mr A Raja, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha by Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal.

However, this may not cheer the pensioners in the region as the Minister further said pending the implementation of SIU Report it would not be possible to extend the facility to Chandigarh at present.

In a reply to another question from the Chandigarh MP, the minister replied that assistance to the tune of Rs 139.49 lakh had been provided to Chandigarh in 1999-2000 under the Reproductive and Child Health Programme.

Mr Raja also informed Mr Bansal that on two polyclinics and 29 dispensaries in Chandigarh Rs 59.60 lakh and Rs 348.49 lakh, respectively, had been incurred during the 1999-2000.

With regard to the grant of permission for change of trade in commercial establishments in Chandigarh, the Minister for Urban Development, Mr Jagmohan informed Mr Bansal that the conversion of trade was likely to be liberally allowed subject to payment of due conversion charges after changing the present categories of trades.

As regards a very vital question relating to the non-issuance of SC certificates to the eligible residents of Chandigarh, Mrs Maneka Gandhi, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment informed the member that information was being collected and would be laid on the table of the House.


Grant for poor students
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Dec 17 — Patriotism reigned supreme at the annual function of the Shivalik Foundation, a charitable trust, with school students presenting songs in praise of their motherland, at Sector 16, here today.

Nine students of the local government school were honoured with cash prizes and mementoes for distinction in the Plus two (CBSE) examination and matric and middle school examination of the Haryana School Education Board.

As many as 100 students were given pullovers while 100 other needy students were given shoes. As many as 42 students were given financial help in lumpsum totalling to Rs 45,000.

At a heart check-up camp organised by Doon Public School, Sector 21, over 300 patients were examined by doctors from Escorts Hospital, New Delhi. Five cardiologists, Dr Vivek Kapoor, Dr Rajnish Kapoor, Dr J. Narang, Dr Manisha Chakravarty, Dr Sukhdeep Dhatt, accompanied by five nurses and a technician examined the patients. A local paediatrician, Dr Arun Dua, was present to carry out a check up of the children.

The principal, Capt Sanjay Anand (retd), said the school held such camps on a regular basis and the response had been good in the past as well.


5 injured in van mishap
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, Dec 17 — Five persons, including four members of a family, were injured in an accident when the van they were travelling in rammed into an electricity pole on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near Chandigarh barrier, today.

According to police sources, the injured were on their way to Chandigarh from Bathinda. A tyre of the vehicle burst which led to the tragedy.

The injured were rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32, Chandigarh, where their condition was said to be stable. 



THE demolition man of Chandigarh, Mr H.S. Sohal, an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, bid adieu to the Chandigarh Administration last week leading to merriment among the encroachers in various rehri market booths in the city. He had demolished hundreds of unauthorised structures in sectors and also jhuggis. Mr Sohal was handed over the charge of Enforcement Magistrate in addition to his main job as Deputy Conservator of Forests, about a year ago.

A straight talking and no nonsense man, Mr Sohal cracked the whip in the real sense. Evicting the phariwallahs ( roadside squatting vendors) in Sector 22 and never allowing shopkeepers in Sector 19, 22, 20 — where major encroachments had taken place — to keep their goods outside their shops or booths. Just one word; ‘‘Aaj Sohal saheb market mein aa rahe hain’’ and shopkeepers used to hurriedly put their goods inside. And within a few weeks no one dared to encroach upon public land. The Sector 22 phariwallahs, who had not been removed for years, shouted anti-Sohal slogans when they were evicted, but he never flinched and took it with a smile saying: ‘‘I am carrying out my duty’’.

The day newspapers carried reports that Mr Sohal’s tenure has ended and he is being replaced, shopkeepers distributed laddoos as Mr Sohal had imposed heavy fines on them for encroachment.

Typically sarkari

Last year when the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) or the erstwhile Department of Telecommunications (DoT) started asking subscribers to buy their own telephone instruments when fresh connections are issued, it may not have realised that 5,000 brand new instruments were lying in its stores. Typically sarkari, isn’t it?

So in the past one year the department has been refunding Rs 250 from the Rs 3,000 booking amount to each of its new subscribers in lieu of instruments. The equipment, valued at around Rs 13 lakh, kept lying in the stores. Till Friday no responsibility had been fixed over the faux pas. Some subscribers who cannot afford the fancy sets available in the market wanted the departmental instruments as no set was available for Rs 250. But in other cases subscribers really did not want the phone instrument provided by the department as they preferred the ones with caller identification screens, hands free dialling or even the cordless ones.

In name of inflation

In our Bharat desh mahaan there are ways and ways of making money. In each organisation, at every level. Only the denominations vary. Some with their exalted positions manage to strike big, others are content with whatever and however little they can scrape. An example. The contractor in the working women’s hostel in the PGI had been charging the residents a higher amount than what he had agreed as per the terms of the contract. He conveniently continued to fleece the residents, with full knowledge of the authorities.

Interestingly, not only the contractor but also the authorities feel this was justified, on the pretext of inflation. To evade the issue coming to the limelight, since The Tribune had started its investigations, the tender was instantly refloated.

For flower lovers

For flower lovers the recently concluded crysanthemum show was a real treat. While the visitors had a close encounter with different varieties of the flowers — incurved, spoon, spider, button, decorative, pompom, — for the competitors, it was the day of judgement after working hard, for a year with their beloved “babies” — as most of them prefer calling their chrysanthemums. For months they had groomed and worked with them for the best possible behaviour for the show.

Quite understandable when someone like Mr Varinder Sharma from Panchkula, who had competed in almost all categories and won the maximum number of individual prizes — as many as 14 — was not satisfied with the second prize that he won in the “artistic arrangement” category for the amateurs. “Last year I won the first prize in the category. This year, my flowers are not as colourful and bright possibly because of the soil mixture and the weather. I’ll definitely work harder this year and hopefully next year, I’ll get the first prize.”

Incidentally, Mr Sharma himself is quite a sought after judge and has also been the “king of the show” at a competition in Delhi.

No spectators

There were hardly any spectators at Sukhna Lake for the sixth Asian Junior Rowing Championship. Chandigarh has a beautiful rowing course in Sukhna Lake but rowing does not generate much interest for the citizens of the City Beautiful. (See photo on top of the page by Manoj Mahajan).

The interest did pick up a little in the last two days but mostly it was the weekend-visitors. There was some interest in local girl Gurpreet Kaur of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 20. With the organisers and the Rowing Federation of India repeatedly stressing upon the potential talent in the region it remains to be seen what steps are taken in this regard.

What was that

In the wake of globalisation, the so-called intellectuals, love to mouth words like MNCs and WTO, without possibly realising what they actually mean. A couple of days back, a seemingly knowledgeable who’s who of the region, while addressing a gathering of industrialists, vehemently criticised the concept of globalisation. He said: “After privatisation, now the danger of WTO is looming large over us”. Adding to his statement he said: “We are hearing that GATT has come”. And, as if that was not enough, he shocked the audience by yet another “pearl of wisdom” — SAARC is another danger.

Down the drain

At times, even weeks of preparations can go down the drain within minutes. The lawyers in the city had the taste of it on the eve of Human Rights Day, on December 9. They had been preparing for days for a candlelight procession to mark World Human Rights Day on December 10. They had prepared slogans, banners, pamphlets, et al, to spread awareness about human rights. Naturally, all the leading newspapers and their lensmen had been invited to cover the procession.

But the morning after dawned as a great disappointment for them as instead of the expected wide coverage, most of the newspapers skipped the function altogether. Those which did, instead, carried the pictures of the accompanying children. Anyway, better late than never. Sentinel can spread the message on their behalf — communal harmony in the country, safety and security of the minorities, their lives and property.

Award for homoeopath

Dr Jaggi, a leading city homoeopath known for his selfless service to the suffering humanity, has been awarded the Dr Ambedkar Fellowship for the year 2000 by the Bharatiya Dalit Sahitya Academy, New Delhi.

Dr Jaggi, affectionately called the messiah of the poor and the downtrodden, claims to have developed certain rare homeopathic formulae which have proved a boon for his countless patients, including a few PGI doctors and others ailing from jaundice, rheumatics, diabetes, migraine, gall bladder and kidney stones, heart-related complications, and even cancer.

Rare honour

Winning accolades and awards is nothing new for the Chandigarhians. But if the award is given for the first time to anyone in the region, it becomes a rare honour. Dr A.K. Saihjpal, a reader in Accounting and Finance, Panjab University, Chandigarh, was conferred with the Best Faculty of the Year Award – 2000 by the Indian Institute of Materials Management, Mumbai, last week. The award was presented at New Delhi for his contribution to the materials management profession.

This is for the first time that this award is being given to any teacher from the northern part of the country.

Dr Saihjpal has a teaching experience of 30 years and at present he also holds the charge of the Chandigarh centre coordinator for the Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi.

Regulating traffic

A veteran Chandigarhian and an old Tribune reader, Mr Mahijit Singh Sodhi, has pointed out that the crossing between houses 7, 8 and 734, 735 in Sector 8 is a blind crossing where accidents occur with distressing frequency, primarily because of impatience on the part of the drivers and a lack of basic driving courtesy.

Similar is the case in many other areas, even in the same sector, say the crossing between houses 7, 8, and 515, 516, which too has had more than its share of accidents.

Mr Sodhi has sent the accompanying map and is suggesting that a little alteration at both these crossings would help greatly because a small roundabout would be created, thereby regulating the flow of traffic. Any takers for this suggestion?

Novel gesture

The Principal, Dr JC Verma, and the faculty of DAV Public School, SAS Nagar, have decided to donate one month’s salary to the fund for the new building of the school that is to be constructed on a two-acre plot allotted to the school by PUDA near the PCA Stadium.

The school has already collected Rs 1 lakh for the project and with such a kind-hearted faculty it should not be a difficult task to complete the building of the school, which will become a senior secondary school from the next session.
— SentinelBack


Pension anomaly in banks

In 1995, the nationalised banks replaced the Contributory Provident Fund scheme by a pension scheme. Retired employees, except those who retired before January 1, 1986, could opt for pension from November 1, 1993, provided they refunded the bank’s contribution to their provident fund alongwith interest. While the younger retirees got the benefit, the older ones were denied it.

To justify the exclusion of pre-January 1, 1986 retirees from this scheme, the government affirmed that this cut-off date was applied to match this scheme with the Government Pension Scheme, then in force, under which a liberalised pension was given to employees who retired on or after January 1, 1986.

In 1998, this classification among the government retirees was removed, treating pre-and-post January 1, 1986 retirees alike. However, to those who retired from banks, a paltry payment of Rs 300 per month was made on ex-gratia basis, regardless of the post held at the time of retirement. If, in 1995, the government found it necessary and fair to match the two schemes, it was only fair that the same principle of parity was applied in 1998 also.

Many retirees of nationalised banks are dead. Those still alive (all over 74) may not have many more years to live. The quantum of pension is calculated on the basis of the last pay drawn. Pay scales, applicable then, were much lower than the current pay scales. Besides, the pension will be payable from November 1, 1993 only and the retirees opting for it will refund the bank’s contribution to their PF account with interest. Thus, the financial burden will not be heavy; the banks, in any case, never pleaded their inability to pay.

Harish C. Nakra

Woes of a sector

The grievances of the residents of Sector 21, Panchkula, need the attention of the authorities of HUDA.

Two labour colonies — Madrasi Colony and Azad Colony — have come up in and around this sector. In Madrasi Colony, HUDA’s own labour is living in huts. The residents of these colonies are using the parks and other open spaces as toilets which pollutes the environment. Now some jhuggis have been raised on the road side towards Sector 3 where meat and other commodities are sold. The number of jhuggi- dwellers has been increasing day by day.

A hot-mixing plant in this sector throws up large quantities of dust and smoke. These pollutants cause different kinds of diseases.

According to the master plan, Sector 21 is to be linked with the Kalka-Zirakpur road at three points. This has not been done so far for reasons known only to HUDA authorities.

The Kalka-Zirakpur road facing Sector 21 has not been provided with mercury lights. This has made the road prone to accidents.

A community centre is almost complete. Early arrangement should be made to open it for the benefit of the residents of the sector.

The boundary walls of a dispensary and a school have been constructed. These buildings and bus queue shelters should be built without delay.

Brij Lal Manju

Petroleum prices

The price of petrol in Bathinda is Rs 29.53 per litre. Since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) nowadays does not issue coins of value smaller than 25 paise, the consumers have to pay Rs 29.75.

The Government of India should hike the price of petrol in Bathinda from Rs 29.53 per litre to Rs 29.55 per litre and the RBI should issue 10-paise coins. This way two paise for every litre of petrol consumed in Bathinda will be added to the revenue of the government and the consumer will also save 20 paise per litre which remain unaccounted for at present.

I suggest that the retail price of petroleum products—petrol, diesel, LPG—all over India should be in multiple of five paise so that consumers can pay in 25 and 10-paise coins.

Similarly, it will be worthwhile to hike the price of diesel in Chandigarh from Rs 16.39 per litre to Rs 16.40 per litre and the price of petrol in Mohali from Rs 29.73 per litre to Rs 29.75 per litre. The Union Government and the RBI should initiate these steps before they are challenged in a court of law by harassed consumers.

Goneana MandiBack



'Rehabilitate original inhabitants'
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 — The basic structure of Chandigarh has been damaged by the Administrators on the behest of politicians, was the conclusion of the one-day seminar in the memory of Chandigarhians past devastations and future prospects of the City Beautiful organised by the Chandigarh Bachaoo Committee which ended at the Gurdwara Singh Sahba, Sector 31, here today.

Hundreds of people of the 11 villages which were allegedly bulldozed by the Chandigarh Administration between 1960 and 1975, thronged the venue. Mr Kuldeep Singh, former judge of the Supreme Court, was the main speaker. He said that all the affected people should fight for their rights. The people should be adequately compensated before uprooting from their land so that they should not feel cheated at a later stage, he added.

Speakers at the seminar opined that Chandigarh should remain a beautiful city and should not turn into a city of colonies and all the 5,000 original inhabitants of the 11 villages should be rehabilitated which were uprooted during the second phase of the expansion of Chandigarh on priority basis.

Mr Angrez Singh, head of the committee, demanded that the lal dora which was drawn more than 100 years ago needs to be redrawn. "At the time it was drawn, our population was 15 crore and today we are over 100 crore", said Mr Angrez Singh.

He told that the committee had written to the Union Minister of Urban Development about rehabilitation these families and we have been told by the ministry to take the matter with the Chandigarh Administration and if the Administration does not listen we may approach the ministry again.

Claiming it to be a totally apolitical gathering, Mr Harjinder Singh Billing, General Secretary of the Committee, said the seminar is in the memory of the devastations of Kanthala village (now Sector 31 and Industrial Area Phase II ). The village was forcibly uprooted, violating all laws of the land and humanity. Ten other villages were also uprooted between the 1960 and 1975 to give way for the expansion of Chandigarh.

According to the organisers, since 1975 only 1.64 lakh of migrant labours from other states have been rehabilitated in 13 colonies by uprooting 11 villages. Mr Billing said the Chandigarh Administration should first rehabilitate the original inhabitants of the Chandigarh.

In a resolution adopted it was demanded that all the residents of the 11 villages be officially and without conditions be declared refugees or oustees of the Capital Project of the UT. The idea behind it, according to the committee members was that rights and privileges of those 5,000 Punjabi families could be preserved in the city. Mr Angrez Singh asserts that the residents of those erstwhile 11 villages are neither domiciles of Punjab nor Haryana nor Himachal Pradesh. The committee members allege that the Chandigarh Administration never did anything to rehabilitate these people.


Joshi memorial lecture organised
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 — The Balraj Sahni Memorial Foundation organised the fourth N.K. Joshi Memorial Lecture on ‘‘The Impact of WTO on Indian Agriculture’’ at Gandhi Bhawan in Panjab University here today.

Joshi, had been associated as a music critic with The Tribune and some other newspapers for some time and had died in a car accident in 1996.

Prof Sucha Singh Gill, an eminent economist from Punjabi University Patiala, delivered a lecture on the topic and traced the roots of the formation of WTO in the earlier GATT conventions since 1946 onwards. He stressed that because of the enormous regulatory powers vested with the WTO in comparison to the GATT and UNCTAD. The advanced countries are in a position to protect their farmers by taking advantage of the concessions on subsidies provided in the Blue and Green boxes for promoting agriculture research and food security.

He added that the disadvantaged farmers of Asia, Africa and Latin America would be the worst affected by the policies of WTO and the government of India should do well to invest adequate funds for the promotion of agriculture research to make India self-sufficient in food security. If the government does not make up to the negative features of the impact of WTO, the country may face serious crisis in international agriculture trade, he said.Back


Pensioners demand better facilities
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 — The Defence Services Civilian Pensioners Association has expressed concern over the ‘unfair’ attitude of the Central Government concerning the problems of the pensioners.

In a resolution sent to the Prime Minister on the occasion of Pensioners’ Day today, the association has demanded that a dispensary under the Central Government Health Services be established in Chandigarh, besides increasing the medical allowance from Rs 100 per month to Rs 400 per month.

The association has also demanded the restoration of the provision of commutation of pension, as recommended by the Fifth Pay Commission, as well as grant of additional pension for service beyond 33 years.

Other demands include, availability of CSD canteen facilities after retirement and travel concessions equal to one month's pension every two years.


Badheri: no decision on fencing grain market yet
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 — The Chandigarh Market Committee has clarified that it has not taken any decision so far regarding fencing the grain market with iron barriers.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, Director and spokesperson of the committee, complained that “only one Director, Mr Des Raj Gupta, is airing views in the Press unnecessarily to provoke people against the fencing”. He alleged that Mr Gupta “had himself pressed the Chandigarh administration to fence the grain market with iron barriers and as he had been defeated in the race for chairmanship by Mr Kesar Singh, he was now raking up frivolous issues in the Press in this regard”.

Mr Badheri emphasised that the Chandigarh Administration had decided in principle to fence the grain market much before they were elected to the Market Committee.

Meanwhile, a final decision on fencing grain market would be taken by the members in a meeting to be convened shortly.Back


Conversion of trade may be allowed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 — The conversion of trade in commercial establishments in the city is likely to be allowed, subject to payment of conversion charges, the Minister of Urban Development, Mr Jagmohan, has told the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, in a written reply.

In a written statement, Mr Bansal said he was informed by the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Mr A. Raja, that an assistance of Rs 139.49 lakh had been given to the city for the reproductive child health programme in 1999-2000. Mr Raja informed Mr Bansal that on two polyclinics and 29 dispensaries in the city, an expenditure of Rs 59.60 lakh and Rs 348.49 lakh, respectively, had been incurred during the same period.Back


Carols mark X-mas celebrations
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Dec 17 — The melody of Christmas carols came alive at Little Flower Convent School in Sector 14, here this evening, at a function organised to mark the 2000th birthday of Jesus Christ.

Led by the Chandi Mandir parish, the birth of Christ was well depicted in a short play. The manger, the emotions and the serenity were well-captured on-stage in the presentation by students of St Stephens School, Chandigarh.

Spreading the message of joy and happiness, came the adivasis of Bihar, dancing to the rustic tunes and beating of drums. Dressed in white sarees with red borders, the girls enlivened the atmosphere with their vigorous dance as foot-tapping music played in the background. This item was presented by students of Little Flower School.

Another item presented by the school students was a prayer dance where the students sought the blessings of the Almighty. Earlier, the programme began with a classical dance to welcome the audience.

With the spirit of the season catching up with the audience, the carols elicited tremendous response. The idea behind the show was to spread the message of peace and reconciliation.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest, Bishop Gerald J. Matias, said the only way to celebrate Christmas was to follow the teachings of Christ to the letter and spread the message of love and peace. He said Christmas was not about celebration only on December 25 but also about enjoying life ever after.


Engineers resent inquiries
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 — The Temporary Engineers Association and the PSE Class I association at an emergency meeting today took strong exception to the inquiries being conducted in a vindictive and partial way, which had “created a sense of fear among the engineers working in the drainage wing of the Irrigation Department.” Inquiries were conducted against certain divisions of the Drainage Department by senior officers of both police and technical wings of the Punjab Vigilance Department twice.

The associations have been approached by a large number of officers that they could not work under such circumstances. The associations are under pressure to resort to direct action to safeguard the interests of the cadres.

The associations, therefore, appealed to the Chief Minister, the Irrigation Minister, the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary, Irrigation and Power, to intervene and to prevent repeated inquiries. 


Accused in rape case arrested
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, Dec 17 — The police has arrested an accused who was wanted in connection with the rape of his woman neighbour near here.

According to Mr HS Bhullar, DSP, the accused, Amar Singh hailing from UP, raped the woman on December 12 noon, while her husband was on duty.

Police sources said that the accused was a tea vendor and staying adjacent to the house of the victim on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road for some years. With the intension of rape, the accused called the woman to his house on the pretext of fetching a jug of water for him. As the woman entered the room, Amar Singh bolted the door from inside and raped her.

The victim narrated the episode to her husband and a case was registered at Dera Bassi police station under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code against the culprit.Back

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