Friday, December 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT Admn seeks more powers from Centre
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 21 — Officialdom of the Chandigarh Administration is expected to run the show with their hands virtually tied behind their backs. All work is expected to be cleared by babus sitting in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in Delhi, 250 kilometre away, adding to needless trips and follows ups by local officials, adding to another level of bureaucratic red tape.

This is not only delaying work but also hampering routine functioning, admit officials in private, on conditions of anonymity. To tide over this problem, the Administration has now asked the Central Government to delegate more powers — financial as well as powers to create posts as per requirement under the plan head — top level sources in the Administration informed The Tribune. In this demand, the example of delegation of powers by the Union Government to Lieut Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been cited.

At present the Administrator, who is the Governor of Punjab, does not enjoy any power to create the post of even a peon. Higher posts like Group A,B and posts are out of question.

Whereas in Andaman and Nicobar, any post can be added under the plan head. Actually , till 1994 , the UT Administrator, used to enjoy powers to create posts, however, a ban on this put an end to this practice.

Sample this: 311 posts of school teachers cannot be filled. The MHA has cleared it, but the Ministry of Human Resources and Development has not. More and more schools are being upgraded, but teachers are being employed on a part-time basis, leading to lack of continuity in education.

Another example is of the revenue-collecting excise and of the taxation wing, which has asked the MHA to increase its staff strength from six members to 80 members, as business activity in Chandigarh has grown bay leaps and bounds, but the meagre staff is still expected to deal with cases of 20,000 sales and excise tax assesses. The demand has been pending for two years while tax is being merrily evaded.

Meanwhile, the population of the city has increased from 5 lakh to 9 lakh, but no staff can be increased on the health front and this has also been incorporated in the demand for more powers.

Also suffering is the newly-created Information Technology Department. It has almost no staff and no one knows when the MHA will give its nod. The Administration created new lower courts to ease pendency almost two years ago, but no judges can be posted, as the all powerful MHA is yet to allow creation of posts for judges. Sources said, for several months files keep travelling back and forth between Chandigarh and Delhi over some small querry or the other. Finally, the issue has to be resolved after a series of meetings. How can local issues at Chandigarh be understood by the officials of the MHA, asked another exasperated official.

On the financial side, the case is even funnier. Cost of items have gone up, but no increase has been incorporated to add to financial powers. When citing the case of Andaman and Nicobar, the Administration has pointed out the discrepancies: Sanction of project ( Rs 10 crore v/s Rs 5 crore, Andaman and Chandigarh, respectively); Sanction of works ( Rs 2 crore v/s Rs 1 crore); Approval of contract ( Rs 2 crore v/s Rs 20 lakh) Single tender ( Rs 80 lakh v/s Rs 2 Lakh); Indent of stores of proprietary ( Rs 40 lakh v/s Rs 2 lakh).

Interestingly, sources said that the proposal for more powers at local level had been cleared by the MHA in principle, but the Union Finance Ministry is yet to clear it.

  • Hands tied behind backs, say officials in private.
  • Even the most insignificant of work requires clear- ance from MHA.
  • Even the Administrator, who is also the Governor of Punjab, cannot add staff and create posts where urgently required .
  • The Administrator enjoys less powers than the Lieut. Governor of Andaman and Nicobar islands — also a Union Territory like Chandigarh.
  • Work being delayed for years, as MHA officials at Delhi cannot understand the importance of local issues.



Banking services crippled
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 21 — Banking services in the city were crippled on account of the one-day strike in the public sector banks here today. The call for the strike was given by the United Forum of Bank Unions against the decision of the government to introduce a bill in the Parliament for reduction of the government stake in the banks from the present 51 per cent to 33 per cent. The association further threatened to observe indefinite strike in case the government does not listen to their demands.

"Of the total fifteen directors, 10 will be private and only five will be from the government side and the statement by the government that the chairman will be appointed by the government is a mis-statement because the chairman will have to act as per the directors of the bank", said Col Amarpal Singh, General Secretary, All-India Bank Officers Congress (AIBOC).

Bank employees observed complete strike and also held a rally in the Bank Square here. The unions also opposed the introduction of the Voluntary Retirement Scheme and said that it was only a move to weaken the unions and the government wants to promote contractual system of employment.

Patiala: Employees of several bank unions observed a near total strike here today

In a press release Mr Amar Singh, Secretary of the Associate Banks Officers Association, expressed concern over the presentation of the bill in the Parliament proposing the reduction of government equity in public sector banks from existing 51 per cent to 33 per cent in terms of the recommendation of the Narasimhan committee. The associations and unions were also opposing the voluntary retirement scheme as the scheme was just another name of retrenchment.

Meanwhile, Mr Gurbax Singh Dhillon , secretary of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation, said that the employees staged a procession in the main bazars of the city to press home their point against de-nationalisation of the public sector banks.Back


2 PU teachers may be removed from service
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 21 — Two Panjab University teachers are likely to be removed from service for not reporting back for duty on time after leave.

Sources said that the time for reporting back for duty was over one and a half years ago in one case and 10 months in the other case. The issue will come up for discussion at the forthcoming Senate meeting.

The post of Dr Aman Preet Dhingra in the Department of Laws is scheduled to be declared vacant with effect from June, 1999.

The Panjab University Calendar (Volume I) says that “if any employee overstays his leave or is otherwise absent from duty for more than a week, his post shall be liable to be declared vacant and he shall forfeit his salary during the time he so remained absent”.

A senior teacher said that usually in such cases the person in question secured employment at another institution. To protect his job, the university was not informed about this. The matter needed careful consideration.

The post of Dr Subrata Bishwas, Department of Bio-Physics, has been declared vacant with effect from February 24, 2000, as “he has not resumed duty so far”.

A similar decision has been taken in case of a technical assistant. The post of Mr Kirpal Singh, a senior grade technical assistant in the Department of Bio-Physics, has been declared vacant.

He was scheduled to report by April 5, 1999 and has “so far not resumed duty”.

One of the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court questioning the promotion of two teachers has been included in the agenda for consideration. Dr Suniti Kumar Sharma and Dr K.K.Bhasin have been reverted as Readers in the Department of Chemistry in view of the orders of the high court quashing their appointments.

The Syndicate at a meeting in February, 2000, decided to file a review petition or an SLP in both cases. The Supreme Court had dismissed both SLPs.

The resignation of Mrs Punita Duhan, a lecturer in the University Business School, has been accepted. The voluntary retirement of Mr Sat Pal Chaudhary, Assistant Registrar and Dr I.B.S. Passi, a former DUI, will also come up for discussion.


Judicial remand for 6 in flesh trade case
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 21 — Four women and two others who were arrested for being allegedly involved in flesh trade here were sent to judicial remand till January 3 by the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Sant Parkash, here today.

Earlier the police had claimed a major breakthrough in ‘‘flesh trade’’ racket by arresting the persons from outside a discotheque in Sector 22 here yesterday. Three of the girls belong to the city and the fourth one is a resident of Ambala.

The police alleged that the business was being carried out by using mobile phones and by a Phase X, S.A.S. Nagar-based Punjabi film actor, who used to carry a gun with him. He has also been booked under Section 188 of the IPC.

According to sources in the Police Department, the police after receiving information, laid a trap and using a decoy customer arrested the four girls and the pimps. During interrogation, the main accused, Subhash Rana, admitted that he was running the business, claimed the police. He admitted to having telephone numbers of 46 girls involved in the trade as well as the phone numbers of 73 persons to whom the girls were ‘‘supplied.’’

Those arrested are Veena of Sector 37- D, Sunita of Sector 38, Anita Thakur of Sector 24 and Ankhen of Ambala. Besides Rana his relative Shiva Shanker was also nabbed.

Last night while laying the trap a decoy customer was given currency notes of Rs 6,000. The notes had been signed and marked. The customer gave the notes to Rana and a sub-inspector on the trial of the “customer” signalled the police party to step in. A woman ASI searched the girls and recovered the notes.


Pak delegates live through nostalgia 
World Punjabi Conference opens today
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 21 — Rukhsat ke waqt ka bas itna khayaal tha, dekha kiye tumhe hum jahaan tak nazar gayi

That was the line which marked the presence of 13 Pakistani delegates who were coming home after years of longing. None out of those who landed at the Chandigarh Press Club this morning to participate in the four-day World Punjabi Conference commencing from tomorrow seem to have forgotten the scars of separation. In fact, their memory went as far those painful days which saw the dissection of India. Be it Prof Khwaja Masud, the illustrious former Principal of Gordon College, Rawalpindi, who wished to see his students in India, or Anwar Ali Sahib, the eminent cartoonist from Ludhiana, who yearned to go back to the street which housed his small living place....nostalgia dripped from the face of each one of them.

The delegation of 32 intellectuals out of which 13 have reached the city today is the largest ever delegation of eminent Pakistani citizens coming to India. In the group which is being led by writer Fakhar Zaman there are people with towering personalities like Hamid Akhtar, a pioneer of the Progressive Writers Association, and a contemporary of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Sahir Ludhianvi, Hyat Ahmad Khan, the renowned classical musician of Pakistan, Ms Tahira Mazhar Ali, president, National Democratic Women’s Forum and eminent journalist Ahmad Bashir, who has worked with any leading newspapers like Pakistan Times.

In an informal conversation with The Tribune today, most of the visiting delegates said that partition had not been able to wipe off the memories of childhood. Said Prof Masud: “How can I ever forget the land where I have spent the youthful 25 years of my life? I still remember my days as Principal of Gordon College and wish I could meet my students. Let me also tell you that myself and I.K. Gujral spent a lot of time together in Lahore. He still keeps visiting Jhelum, his hometown.” Mr Masud is currently writing a column for Daily News.

Anwar Ali Sahib, who is known for his cartoon corner Nanna in Pakistan Times recalls his days at Ludhiana where he was born. “I wrote many books and the last one titled Gwachian gallan is all about the pain of separation. I have gone down the memory lane to reconstruct Punjab and the events which led to its doom. Ludhiana figures prominently in my recordings.” He shared fond memories and said: “Don’t ask me more. I will cry.”

Interesting to know was the lineage of Mr Hamid Akhtar, the contemporary of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Krishan Kant. This man, again from Ludhiana, has virtually grown to become an institution in himself and strongly advocates the cause of peaceful coexistence. As one got talking to him today, one could see how his eyes got moist with tears at the very mention of the yore. Mr Akhtar has been a very active votary of the progressive thought which he advocated most strongly.

Not to miss a mention of Tahira Mazhar Ali, the daughter of Sir Sikander Hyat, prime minister of united Punjab (1937 to 1942), who is working for securing democracy through her National Democratic Women’s Forum. Fakhar Zaman, the eminent Urdu, Punjabi and English writer, also sounded nostalgic. “I have been lucky in that I have had the chance to visit India very often. We wish coming closer to each other had been a little more easy. Visa rules were relaxed and mutual goodwill fostered.” His wife Shaista Habib, who is currently heading the current event section of Radio Pakistan talked on the similar lines. “We all want to meet each other and share common concerns. No one is bothered about these physical boundaries and they have no standing in front of love and mutual understanding,” she said.

Among other members are artist Ahmad Bashir and his wife, Mr Riyaaz Cheema and journalist Shaista Nuzhat.Back


Youth stabbed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 21 — In a case of lawlessness, a 20-year-old youth was allegedly stabbed in the arm this afternoon in his Sector 22 office following a "minor tiff" with the two accused.

The injured, Puneet Garewal of Phase IX, SAS Nagar, was subsequently admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, while the two accused, Parminder Pal Singh of Sector 37 and Bal Ram Puri, were taken into custody by the Chandigarh police.

According to sources in the Police Department, the stabbing incident was the fallout of an argument which took place between Puri and Garewal a few days ago. Garewal, sources said, was learning to assemble computers, while the duo were working in another office in the same building.

They added that this afternoon, the two accused and the victim started arguing following which Parminder allegedly stabbed Garewal in the arm before hiding in the house of an acquaintance in Sector 22. He was arrested by a senior officer of the police after the house was shown to him by Garewal's friend.

The injured was, meanwhile, shifted to the hospital. Sources in the hospital said Garewal's condition was stable.

A senior police official, when contacted, said further investigations into the allegations were on. He added that the police had gathered "some vital evidence" from the spot and would proceed against the accused in accordance with the law after recording the statement of the witnesses.


Polluting colonies of Panchkula

The Supreme Court has ordered the closure of all polluting industrial units in the residential areas of the national capital. The slums of Panchkula should also be viewed as polluting units. HUDA has filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the order of Punjab and Haryana High Court pertaining to these slums. According to HUDA, the judgement is awaited. The residents of Sector 21, who are affected by the unhygienic conditions and the nuisance of ‘Madrasi Colony’, have been running from pillar to post to get relief from the menace of this jhuggi colony. They have met officials of HUDA as well as leaders of all political parties seeking removal of the jhuggis, but in vain.

Encroachments are galore in Panchkula. Shopkeepers are occupying corridors in front of their shops and it is difficult for the shoppers to move from one shop to another. Several khokas have come up along the road dividing Sectors 3 and 21 near Azadpur jhuggis. If the trend is not checked, more Khokas will come up and as usual, political parties will come into the picture. Then it will be difficult for HUDA to remove these. This was brought to the notice of the Administrator, Panchkula, by the House Owner’s Welfare Association, Sector 21, but no action has been taken, and the number is increasing.

HUDA has not been able to remove any encroachment in Panchkula except removing some hedges, grills and fences around mini gardens in front of the houses of law abiding residents. The result is that herds of cattle are grazing and the jhuggi dwellers are defecating in these open spaces and polluting the environment.

T.D. Kumar

Paramedics in GMCH

The Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, (GMCH) is notorious for delayed payment of salaries to the paramedical staff such as dieticians, pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists etc. The salaries for October, due on November 1, were paid to them on December 4. The paramedics, who form a significant part of the health-care system are not the employees of the Government. They and the hundreds of Safai Karamcharis and attendants are the employees of a contractor who recruits them and pays their salaries at his convenience.

The practice of engaging these employees by a contractor denies them the ‘right to life’, as defined by the Supreme Court which has held that the right to ‘live’ is not merely confined to physical existence but it includes the right to live with human dignity. Non-payment of salaries on time — rather the very institution of a private employer in a government hospital — hits at the root of the Preamble to the Constitution.

The system of recruitment by a contractor of hundreds of persons promotes corruption and temporary misappropriation of funds. Besides pleasing the contractor at the time of recruitment, the employees have to keep him in good humour to retain their jobs. Is their provident fund being deposited regularly? What commission or service charges have been paid to the contractor? For how long the contractor has used government money for his own purposes? These are questions that need to be probed by UT Administration and the AG (Audit)?


Neglected roads

Almost all roads in Manimajra have been repaired and re-carpeted, but the road in Jattanwala Mohalla is yet to be repaired. The road to Gurdwara Mata Raj Kaur, and the roads in Gobindpura have also not been repaired in spite of repeated representations to the department concerned.

The officers of the department concerned are requested to look into the matter and have these roads repaired. There is great resentment among the residents of these areas on this account.

Paramjit Kaur Dhillon, Gurmeet Kaur Shah, Gurmail Kaur



UT employees back Super Bazar stir
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 21 — In support of the demands of the Super Bazar employees, the UT Subordinate Services Federation and the Federation of UT Employees and Workers organised a dharna in front of the office of the DC-cum-Registrar, Cooperative Societies, in Sector 17 here yesterday.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Ramesh Kumar Chandolia, President, and Mr Sant Singh Saini, General Secretary, of the Federation, condemned the decision of Mr M. Ramsekhar to close the Super Bazar and terminate the services of its 204 employees without any proper notice.

Demanding reopening of the Super Bazar and revoking orders of termination of its employees, Mr Bhagmal Rana, General Secretary of the Federation of UT Employees and Workers, criticised the Chandigarh Administration for the collapse of the Super Bazar and demanded justice for the employees. He also demanded a CBI inquiry into the embezzlement of funds of the organisation.


Fair and glowing — that is Lisa
Tribune News Service 

CHANDIGARH, Dec 21 — You can't miss those ravishing Bengali looks which subtly lie hidden behind the fair Polish skin. Lisa Ray sports it all ...and very beautifully at that. No wonder her's is the face which embodies the image of the largest cosmetic corporate house of the country — Lakme. The choice of the industry which is all set to enter the beauty service providing market has been more than just judicious, for Lisa truly reflects the tenets of beauty.

Thanks to the strict beauty maintenance regime which Lisa religiously follows and also the lot of focus she lays on sensible eating. She need not have voiced the secrets of that sunny glow which dripped from her face. Her looks said it all. The model who is now entering into the world of Indian cinema with her latest Vikram Bhatt film Kasoor opposite Aftaab Shivdas, was here today to launch the firstever Lakme beauty saloon in the country. No wonder Sector 9 became the centre of all attention this afternoon which saw the trained make-up artist from Delhi, Saroj, make over Lisa's face.

And success of the joint seems to have been already assured with Lisa throwing it open in style. After the hectic make-up schedule, Chandigarh Tribune stole some moments to have a word with Lisa who is apparently quite excited about her film in which she plays a lawyer. "My character in Kasoor is very powerful and intelligent. So the excitement is natural. I want to do full justice to the role which I am sure is very effective.''

From the girl who added beauty to the desert of Jaisalmer in the video of Nusrat Fateh ALi Khan song Aafreen, Lisa has come a long way. She has taken time off to finish other skills which lie dormant in the fair-glow girl. She took a whole year off to curate an exhibition at Mumbai last year. Collection of art is the very favourite hobby with her and among her priciest of possessions is the painting by Suhas Roy.

Reading is another must do for Lisa who was honest to confess her inclination towards the Bengal school of writers. Apart from that she loves to keep fit and follows a fitness regime, though not in a very disciplinary fashion. "I like eating everything. When I am in Punjab, I can't miss on those makki di rotis and kali daal. But I make sure that all eating is sensible. Also, I must walk for at least 15 minutes in a day."

As far as planning life is concerned, Lisa has not been a very hardcore planner. She says: "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. As far as now, the going has been good. But that does not keep me from believing in the theories of karma and destiny."

Lisa began modeling at a very tender age and that, too, when she had least expected to do so. Back



Protest at Hafed office
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Dec 21 — Confusion prevailed at the Hafed office in Sector 5, here today, with contractors protesting vociferously against the non-issuance of tender forms by the officer incharge on account of “political pressure”.

The department had invited tenders for the construction of boundary walls, servant quarters, an office and residence for the manager among others. It was also mentioned that while forms would be given today, these would be accepted till 1.30 pm.

However, this morning, interested parties from all over the state made it to the office but were turned away by the officer without being handed over the form. “This has been the practice for the last three times. They have advertised only to oblige their own men, we are not even being allowed to fill in the forms. We will give a written complaint against the officials for unnecessary harassment,” Mr Sat Pal Singh from Hansi said.

It was only after noon that the matter was settled after the Managing Director, Mr Krishan Mohan, intervened and heard the complaints of the protesting contractors. All interested parties were issued forms and 25 applications were received.

The Chairman, Mr Suraj Mal, denied any knowledge but instructed officers to handle the problem by issuing forms to one and all.


Robbery in Mohali house
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Dec 21 — Three armed persons looted money and jewellery from a house in Sector 70 here today after tying up and locking the housewife and her 12-year-old son up in a room.

According to reports, the intruders entered the house on the pretext of checking electricity connections, claiming to be PSEB officials.

The robbers, who were reported to be in their 20s snapped the telephone line.

They then reportedly searched the house and took away jewellery, said to be worth about Rs 50,000, besides Rs 10,000 in cash.Back


Cyclist succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 21 — A Khuda Lahora resident died at the PGI after the cycle he was riding was hit by a vehicle on late Wednesday evening.

According to sources in the Police Department, the victim has been identified as Chandan Singh. The accident, sources said, occurred at about 11.20 p.m. on the Khuda Lahora-PGI road. Sources added that the vehicle driver sped away from the spot after the accident.

A senior police officer, when contacted, said a case of causing death by rash and negligent act had been registered under Sections 279 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code.

Opium seized
One kg of opium was reportedly seized by the Chandigarh police after the arrest of a Palsora resident from near a wine shop in Sector 40 on Wednesday evening.

According to sources in the Police Department, Dharam Pal, alias Dharma, of Indira Colony in Palsora was apprehended at about 9 a.m. He was subsequently booked under Section 18 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. The police is investigating the matter, say sources.

Six arrested
Six city residents were arrested under the Excise Act on the allegations of drinking at a public place. According to sources in the Police Department, Ajay Kumar, Jatinder Kumar, Joginder Singh, Nagesh Chander, Gurvinder Singh, Harjinder Singh and Sham Lal were arrested for drinking near a dhaba in Sector 46.

Girl abducted
In a complaint to the police, a Maloya Colony resident has alleged that his minor daughter has been abducted. Taking up his complaint, the police has registered a case of abduction under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC.

Car theft
The theft of two cars was reported to the police during the past 24 hours. Rattan Lal of Kurukshetra alleged that his car was stolen from the High Court parking lot. In the other case, Ranjana Bhadur of Sector 24 alleged that her car was stolen from the PGI parking lot. 


Tata vehicles to cost more
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 21 — Hind Motors, the authorised sales and service dealers for M\s Tata Engineering in a press note issued today said the prices of cars from the house of Tata would be increased by Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000 with effect from January 1, 2001.

The cars manufactured by Tata include Indica, Safari and Sumo.

The Maruti Udyog Limited, Hyundai and Honda and few other car manufacturers have already made an announcement to this effect.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |