Wednesday, January 3, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Power, water supplies hit
Hospitals worked on generators
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The city and its surrounding areas were plunged into darkness this morning as power supply failed affecting water supply also. Today’s failure was much larger in scale and impact than the one that occurred yesterday. Till late at night power engineers were supplying power to various sectors on rotational basis while street lights were not functioning.

Right through the day, traffic lights stopped functioning leading to traffic snarls at various places. Today being a holiday did not put much pressure on the traffic system. Thankfully the hospitals worked on generators.

Fortunately the grid failure occurred on a day when it was a gazetted holiday thus not hampering normal work at the three hospitals of the city — PGI, GMCH, Sector 32 and the Government Hospital, Sector 16.

According to the official spokespersons at the respective hospitals, following the power failure emergency operations were conducted with the help of stand by generators.

Around the afternoon the situation was such that the city was getting only 30 to 40 per cent of its share of power supply because of the failure of the northern power grid. Engineers said they were now supplying power to the various sectors by rotation. Even this power had been sourced after the Ganguwal Hydel Project was revived followed by partial revival of the Ropar Thermal Plant.

Water supply to the city which is based on power was affected. Power supply to Kajuali, from where water is sourced for the city, was also disrupted. Residents of various sectors pointed out that the pressure of water in the morning water supply was low.

One of the officials pointed out that in order to ensure that residents do not face any problem, the water supply in the morning was extended upto 10.30 a.m. in those areas where the supply was affected due to power failure. This includes the areas which are fed by Sector 26 water works.

In fact, this was the second day in a row that the power and water supply remained disrupted. Even yesterday, the heavy downpour in the region had led to the power shutdown in various places.

Another sector to be affected was the railway booking systems which went off due to erratic power supply throughout the day.

While the residents of the city fumed and fretted all day long, courtesy the failure of the north grid, the residents of Sector 32 have been forced to stay without power and water for almost 30 hours.

According to the information available, the 11 KV cable supplying power to the various residential areas and commercial establishments developed a technical snag on Monday morning due to the moisture deposition on the cable, courtesy the heavy downpour welcoming the New Year.

Sources in the Electricity Department revealed that the box of the high tension oil circuit breaker (HTOCB) developed a snag following the heavy rains yesterday. The power supply was again restored within a few hours through the alternate site for supplying power to the denizens of the area.

However, even this supply was disrupted with the failure of the grid this morning and the residents were again left high and dry. Mr Varinder Mohan, a resident of Sector 32-A complained that the power went out yesterday forenoon and since then we have also had to deal with the water shortage. 

Electricity plays truant for second day
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 2 — It was the second jinxed day of the year for residents of the city who had to go without electricity and water, here today, though most of the faulty telephones got back the ring during the day.

The lights went out at 4.40 a.m. and could be restored only after 3 p.m. gradually in all the sectors of the city. The morning supply of water did not come at all though the Electricity Department managed to provide supply to the water works by 2.30 p.m. and the water supply hour was advanced from 5 p.m. to 4 p.m. to compensate for the day.

Electricity played truant for the second day in a row and led to a discomfort for residents due to its non-availability for running of heating gadgets on a day when chilly breeze swept through the city. Added to that was the inconvenience of getting any work done in the absence of adequate lighting. During the day, officials were contemplating taking supply from a power station in Khera in Yamunanagar. However, information of possibility of supply being restored from the despatch centre itself came at around 2.30 p.m. By 4 p.m. light had been restored to most residential areas and water supply had started.

It may be recalled that the first rain of the season had brought power failure in some pockets of the city with disruptions being attributed to minor fluctuations. The telephones had also “suffered’’ with these either being dead or inter-connected with others, cutting the city from the outside world. Today, the functioning of telephones came back to normal. 

Power cut affects festivities
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — Thousands of devotees thronged gurdwaras in the city on the occasion of gurpurb here today. The festival was celebrated with fervour as it was the first gurpurb of the new millennium.

People could be seen heading towards the gurdwaras since early morning to listen to the kirtan. Day-long community kitchens were also organised. At many gurdwaras, frequent appeals had to be made to the devotees to maintain decorum. Long queues could be seen throughout the day outside the langar halls.

At many places, social bodies had erected tents where tea was served to the people. Youngsters could be seen offering sweets to passersby. This led to frequent traffic jams at various places. The police had made an elaborate arrangement on the

occasion to ensure that nothing went wrong. Most of the gurdwaras, especially those in Sectors 8, 19, 20, 40, 34, 11, 21, and 39, were tastefully decorated.

However, the power failure affected the celebrations as management bodies of many gurdwaras had to hire generators to keep the festivities on track. Despite the loud noise of generators, nobody expressed his or her discomfiture.


Rs 7 lakh stolen from Sector 18 shop
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — Taking advantage of the darkness due to power failure, thieves decamped with Rs 7 lakh after break opening the safe of a medical distributor in Sector 18 market late in the evening yesterday. The theft was discovered by the owners in the morning today following which the shutters were pulled down by other shopkeepers.

The thieves, believed to be two in number, reportedly entered the corner shop from the backside after scaling the wall with the help of wooden frames for packing glasses.

The culprits reportedly climbed up the frames leaning against the outer wall and jumped into the backyard before locking the door leading to the first floor flat where three employees were sleeping.

The thieves, armed with rods and pencil cell torch, then broke two locks on the back door of the shop before breaking the safe and removing cash from the drawer.

Approximately Rs 7 lakh was kept in the safe as a plot had reportedly been sold by the owner at Zirakpur. While Rs 3 lakh were in the form of Rs 500 notes, the rest of the money was stored in the bundle of Rs 100 notes. A partner said under normal circumstances, a maximum of Rs 1.5 lakh was kept in the safe.

The police believes that the theft took place around midnight as the rickshaw-pullers and other daily wagers go off to sleep only after 11.30 pm. The duo were carrying a torch as an empty wrapper of pencil size cells was recovered by the cops from the spot. Bidi butts were also recovered.

Mr Khem Gupta, one of the partners, said that they were informed about the theft at his Panchkula residence at about 7 a.m. by a relative. He, in turn, was told about the incident by one of the employees.

Mr Gupta said the employee, after getting up in the morning, had tried to open the door but upon finding it locked from outside had gone to the first floor of the adjoining shop. From there he saw the broken locks. The shop was insured, the money was not, Mr Gupta added.

Senior police officials, when contacted, said further investigations into the matter were on. A senior police officer, when contacted, said the cops were on the look out for the culprits on the basis of evidence gathered from the spot.

Claiming involvement of his staff in today’s theft, partner Khem Gupta said. “The thieves knew where to look for what”. He added that no other drawer, except the one in which the money was kept, was opened by the thieves. Mr Gupta also claimed that only insiders were aware of the fact regarding the sale of a plot in Zirakpur.


Studies and syllabi low on teachers’ agenda
By Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — Students, studies and syllabi have clearly not been on top of the agenda of the college teachers this session. With an average two dharnas a month in district centres all over Punjab and once every three months at Chandigarh, students have had an almost holiday-session. And now when the teachers are talking of intensifying their ‘struggle’, the ever falling public sympathy for teachers and their demands has touched an all time low.

Deserted classrooms and absent teachers. This aptly describes the state of college education today. Teachers blame the absence of students and students, the quality of teachers. While the reality remains that there is a dearth of a sense of honesty and sincerity in both, there are many who believe that a lot would improve if teachers were to take their jobs seriously.

‘‘Teachers’ demands and issues might be justified, but chances are that this is the only group of men and women who are being paid far beyond their worth and utility. I pay for the teacher's salary as part of the fee for my son's education in college and then the whole year I am also doling out money for his tuitions and what is worse, to the same teacher ?" says an irate father.

‘‘There are teachers in our college, who remain absent or come late and leave early as they are running their private coaching classes. They are marketing education and are making a lot of money and this is over and above their salary," says a lecturer in a city government college.

‘‘Teachers have also known to have encouraged students to bunk classes. But the easiest way to make sure that students do not attend classes is to teach the way most of them do,’’ says Abhishek , a second year student of the local Government College for Men, Sector 11. ‘‘Students do not attend classes, but prefer to sit out and kill time,’’ is the usual teacher-against-student complaint. But then the students very categorically say that they don't think whatever they are being taught is good enough.

‘‘A good teacher will always attract students. One does not have to enforce strategies to ensure that classes are well attended,’’ says Mrs Mohini Sharma, Principal, Government College for Girls, Sector 42.

‘‘The quality of teachers has in fact improved over the years,’’ says Dr A.C. Vaid, Principal GGDSD College, Sector 32. ‘‘They are well read, have a grip over the subject and good communication skills, too. But it is the duty of the head of the institution to ensure that classes are held and should also encourage more interaction between parents, teachers and students,’’ he said.

‘‘If you pay teachers low, you cannot attract talent, but then it is also a fact that newcomers are not being paid in accordance with what they deserve, while the old timers are clearly overpaid for the work they ultimately put in,’’ says the principal of a private college.

Mr Charanjit Chawla, a teacher activist, says, ‘‘We avoid holding dharnas at the cost of teaching classes. In fact, this time we have divided our campaign district wise so that teaching is not disrupted everywhere at one time. We are also the ones who work for six days a week, everyone else works for five days in a week. There is no doubt that studies do get disrupted when teachers go on mass leave or strike. The government should also think of this and consider our demands on priority. And when it comes to the number of working days in a year we are in favour of increasing these’’.


Slip-roads create problems

PLANS are being made to ease congestion on busy roundabouts and intersections by constructing slip roads at traffic lights. However, the Chandigarh Administration should consider the position at the slip roads that have already been constructed.

The slip roads at the traffic lights have created a new problem instead of easing the congestion. For instance, the slip roads at the railway crossing and Transport Chowk cannot be used at peak hours. Traffic on Madhya Marg blocks the slip roads when the lights turn red. Long lines of vehicles completely block the entry to the slip roads which have been constructed close to the traffic lights. This defeats the purpose of constructing these slip roads.

It will be pertinent to keep this problem in mind. The slip roads should take off much ahead of the traffic lights. There is need to realign the existing slip roads at the railway crossing and Transport Chowk to allow free flow of traffic on these roads.

S.P. Mittal

Drug abuse

Drug abuse has been an area of major concern all over the world. Drugs have become big business. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, has made drug related offences non-bailable but still there has been a constant increase in the number of drug addicts, particularly in the urban areas. Youngsters start taking drugs out of frustration or for the sake of thrills but this addiction induces them to commit serious crimes. Some efforts have been made by voluntary organisations and government welfare homes to extend counselling to drug-addicts and the mass media has also played an important role. Parents and teachers should take the responsibility of keeping the youngsters away from this evil. There is a strong need for the education system to be revitalised. Those engaged in drug smuggling or encouraging youngsters to get into this habit should be identified and severely punished.

Vinish Garg

Name game

The change of the name of yet another city, “Calcutta to Kolkata”, shows the way our governments function. The renaming of cities is done to draw political milage for the ruling party. Most of the governments want to cash in on such moves as the new name is attributed to the government that spearheads a cause. But the exercise makes mockery of the system. What good a new name of the city does to those who live in slums? Will the new name of the city change their problems? The fact is that the common man remains least affected by such antics of the politicians.

Now that the names of three big cities have been changed, which one will be the next?

Pankaj Vasudeva

Lift out of order

I am a patient of chronic asthma and renal problems and am undergoing treatment at the PGI. I visit the hospital regularly for check-ups, clinical or pathological tests etc. During my last visit, I was advised to get my blood tested in the Bio-chemistry Research Wing which is housed on the third floor. Being weak and feeble, I looked for the lift. Sadly, the lift was not working and I was told by the staff that it had not worked for that last several years.

I hope the Director of the PGI will look into this matter and take immediate action.

K.L. Dua


‘Public participation must for development’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — City residents feel strongly about the way things are going on at the moment. Changes are being suggested by a cross-section of people for a better Chandigarh. They want that there should be no red tape, better facilities and fewer slums.

Prof B.N.S. Walia: “Something should be done to put a check on the growth of slum areas and illegal occupancy of land. Even the two satellite towns, SAS Nagar and Panchkula, instead of sharing, have added to the burden on the existing infrastructure of Chandigarh,” says the former PGI Director.

In the health sector, he wants more regional centres with better health facilities to come up so that only the complicated cases are referred to the PGI. “More blood banks and facilities for the patients are required and so is the need of an efficient public transport system to connect there hospitals,” he says.

Prof R.C. Mahajan: “A completely computerised and red tapism free bureaucratic set-up is required for the city. Chandigarh is being projected as an IT city, but this is possible only if the required infrastructure is there. We have good educational facilities, but the city still lacks a good public transport system and reasonably- priced housing options,” says this Professor Emiretus, PGI and Vice- President, Indian National Science Academy.

“The PGI has to rise above the status of a general hospital that it has been reduced to over the years. I am surprised that even the GMCH, Sector 32 and the Government Hospital, Sector 16, have not been able to share our burden. The adjoining states, despite having medical colleges and hospitals, refer even routine cases to the PGI. I am surprised that there is not even a single trauma centre in the vicinity,” he says.

Lieut-Gen J.L. Malhotra (retd) : “Residents of Panchkula need to come to the rescue of the city to make it a better place to live. The state can’t be expected to and is in no position to bring about any improvements. The government is bankrupt and we all know that they think nothing for the residents beyond their votes,” says the retired general.

“With a participative and involved attitude, people must get together as a community and augment existing systems. If the community is secure, the nation is secure,” he says.

Mr Arun Loomba: An architect by profession , he wants more emphasis on greenery. “In addition to development of green belts in the city, land should be let out to residents for maintenance. It will supplement the efforts of various departments in this direction. In comparison to Chandigarh, Panchkula is still far behind.”

“Besides, ‘the townships’ lack pedestrian paths which must run along all roads to ensure free flow of traffic on the roads. A little rethinking needs to go into the designing of commercial areas”, he says.

Mr Chaman Lal Sharma: The President of Chandigarh Club advises ‘‘do not depend entirely upon the government for every little work but understand your duty and the civic needs to live a good life. Each individual needs to strive to improve his surroundings. The crime situation is largely under control, however, vigil has to be kept up.”

Traffic needs to be streamlined as congestion is adding up everyday. In his opinion the Administration has fewer officers who have to deal with more work, thus the delay. The only scope for political expansion is by having another seat for an MP.

Mr Tejbans Singh Jauhar: “Some curb needs to be put on the rehabilitation policy of the Chandigarh Administration as this is attracting more and more migrants to the city. Autorickshaws in the city should be immediately fitted with meters and rickshaw pullers who do not know traffic regulations need to be weeded out to make driving safer in the city. Even the autorickshaws which have outlived their lives need to be phased out.”

“Permission to go vertical in case of parking lots is needed. There is scope for further improvement in the building bylaws despite a series of amendments carried out recently,” he says.

Dr B.N. Goswamy: Art historian and Padmashri is concerned over the growing feeling of chaos in the city which, he feels, needs to be controlled. “And controlling this is not just the job of the Administration. People have to be equally involved. We must have a sense of pride in the city. With this pride, a certain degree of responsibility will come.”

Dr Goswamy held that it was essential to focus on making the city orderly. “Order is the first condition of a civil society. After order is achieved, sensitisation has to set in. Here the role of art starts. It helps in cultivating a sensitive attitude towards one another as also towards the environment. Art should be used to sensitise people so that we can achieve the goal of keeping the city from getting into chaos,” he said.

Prof Prem Singh: For the Principal of the Government College of Art, Sector 10, environmental concern is high on the cards. “ Society should maintain a perceptible balance between man and machine without disturbing the ecological balance. Emphasis should be on strengthening human bonds and furthering global aspirations. People need to get together to pool in their wisdom and resources in order to realise great things for mankind. He opined that art was one of the vital means of seeking relationship with people, and hence interaction in this regard should increase so that lives get more refined.”

“One also hopes that society will use IT for the refinement of life in a way that dreams and aspirations of the people are realised. It is important to span horizons, but it’s always better if the sense of general well being is on the mind,” he said.


Commission agents openly fleecing vegetable vendors
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — Action is on the cards against several commission agents of the Sector 26 vegetable market, who are pocketing thousands of rupees everyday by arbitrarily levying a tax of Re 1 per bag, purchased by vendors.

The matter was brought to the notice of directors of the UT Market Committee, by a section of those affected here today. A deputation of the vendors showed slips of the sum charged, which is in addition to the commission charged by the agents.

The members alleged that the practice had been going on for quite some time and earlier attempts by some vendors to resist had allegedly led to their “blacklisting” by commission agents. They found that they could not do business with any of the 130 listed agents of the market committee.

What baffles them is the fact that the commission agents have not given them any reason for the surcharge. Meanwhile, many of the vendors are paying up for fear of being” forced out of business.”

The complainants added that they were, “Petty and marginal traders and the levy is hitting our business. The agents threaten us that if you don’t pay up we will see that you cannot do business in the market. In addition to that, we will also ask the committee authorities to harass you,” they added.

This incident has again focussed on the need for stringent controls and streamlining of the market committee fee structure. Presently, traders are reportedly submitting only a minimal fee to evade any penalties. They are said to maintain two separate sets of books, thereby pocketing huge sums, causing loss to the exchequer and the committee.

The connivance of the market committee officials in this matter cannot be ruled out, the sources added.

On the other hand, when this incident came to the notice of the agents, they tried to placate the complainants and reportedly even tried to brow beat the directors into not taking any cognizance, but were unsuccessful. Interestingly, one of the directors of the committee is also a commission agent, but is said to have expressed his inability to intervene in the matter, citing pressure from his fraternity.

Sources said business worth lakhs is transacted in the market everyday and the lack of any checks by the authorities have emboldened the agents, who leave no opportunity to fleece vendors, who are forced to pass on the surcharge to customers and farmers, who bring in their produce from the surrounding areas.

While a formal decision in this matter would be taken in the next couple of days, the directors had reportedly taken a strong view of the incident and assured the vendors that they should carry on with their business and if need be, they would be issued licenses individually, so that they could make purchase from the farmers directly. 


Police to re-launch etching drive
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — Failing to curb the ever-increasing menace of car thefts in the city, the Chandigarh police is now trying to prevent it by re-launching the scheme of etching the registration numbers of the vehicles on the windshields and side windows.

The decision, conveyed by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Bhim Sain Bassi, is significant as over 300 vehicles were stolen from the city last year, while just 61 cases of theft were worked out. Not only this, the number of vehicles recovered was just 132.

In Chandigarh, almost 100 vehicles are registered every day. The total number of vehicles is over 4.5 lakh. Every year, the number increases by 10 per cent.

A similar drive was launched by the police earlier also. Banners announcing the scheme were put up across the trees all over the city and the numbers were etched on the windows after charging a nominal fee. The drive was reportedly pushed into oblivion under the pressure of day-to-day work.

Etching is "an effective preventive measure against theft" as it not only makes "the escape with the stolen car difficult, but detection also becomes easy."

"Even if the thief changes the number plates and gets the car repainted, the registration number etched on the rear and front windshields, besides the side windows, will still narrate the tale of theft," says a senior police official.

He adds: "If he tries to get the glasses replaced, he will be caught as the mechanics would inform us. Driving without getting the panes changed would be risky. The thief will be caught during one of our regular checks as the number etched on the panes, and painted on the plates, would be different".

Getting the number etched is "absolutely essential".

"Out of the 300-odd vehicles picked up, the maximum number were stolen from the southern sectors or from parking lots in the commercial sectors and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, besides the District Courts," say sources in the Police Department.

Besides etching, the cops also recommend certain other precautionary measures, including installation of electronic locks "which take at least 30 to 40 seconds for even an expert to disconnect".

Claiming a 12-inch long ruler to be enough for opening a car, the IGP says: "Safety should also be ensured with the help of steering locks. If the cars are parked outside the houses, the neighbours should get together and have gates erected to make the neighbourhood more secure."


Heavy rush at Nada Sahib
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 2 — Thousands of devotees thronged the Nada Sahib gurdwara today to offer prayers on the occasion of gurpurb. The festival was celebrated with traditional gaiety here.

The prasad proved to be barely enough for over 50,000 devotees who turned up at the gurdwara. “We were not prepared to receive so many persons,” Mr Bhupinder Singh, manager of the gurdwara, said.

Ragis, Led by Bhai Sher Singh, Bhai Ranjit Singh, Bhai Devotees at a community kitchen in the Sector 34 gurdwara, Chandigarh, on the occasion of Gurpurb on Tuesday. Mahender Singh, Bhai Amar Singh and Bibi Navneet Kaur, participated in a kirtan, followed by Nit Nem by Giani Joginder Singh. The dhadis included Sadhu Singh Parwana among others.

Outside the gurdwara, the celebrations took the form of a fair, where roadside vendors did a brisk business by selling pictures of the Sikh Gurus, flowers, booklets, scarves and mementoes. There was a heavy deployment of the police force at the gurdwara.

Devotees at a community kitchen in the Sector 34 gurdwara, Chandigarh, on the occasion of Gurpurb on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

A special parking lot was set up to accommodate the vehicles of devotees, keeping in mind the ever increasing crowd at the gurdwara. Some persons had even parked their vehicles along the road that led to the gurdwara.

The devotees who had arrived from the surrounding areas were accommodated in the serai that had been opened past year. A member of the SGPC, Mr Hardyal Singh Brar, said the celebrations had still been relatively low-key because of the power failure.

“We have to make arrangements for the comfort of the devotees and carry on with the usual business at the gurdwara despite no electricity. This leads to a lot of inconvenience. We have a generator, but it cannot remain on all day,” he said.


Gurpurb celebrated with enthusiasm
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, Jan 2 — Gurpurb was celebrated today with traditional enthusiasm in this subdivision. Gurdwaras in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru were decorated with flowers and chandeliers by the devotees. Langars were organised in almost all gurdwaras of the subdivision.

Despite heavy downpour, devotees tastefully decorated the gurdwaras. The sunshine brought a smile on the faces of organisers at about 10.30 a.m.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance and Planning Minister of Punjab, offered prayers at Nabha Sahib Gurdwara in Nabha Sahib village near Zirakpur. While addressing a public gathering, he appealed the residents of the area to follow the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh.

The minister also declared that the kutcha road linking the gurdwara with the village would be carpeted soon.

Besides a number of residents, Mr S.S. Sidhu, SDM, Mr Sukhdev Singh Changera, member of the zila parishad, and Mr Harbans Singh, president of the gurdwara prabandhak committee, were also present on the occasion.


Residents throng British Library
Membership opens again
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 —- As many as 934 members were enrolled at the British Library on the opening of the membership for the second time. Residents of the city were eagerly waiting for the membership to open and thronged the library on the very first day on January 1. Today also heavy rush was witnessed.

Many people including bureaucrats, students, businessmen, housewives and others, rushed for the membership at the library. In total, 3,011 members have been enrolled in the library since its inception. For some of the people it is to have a good browse through the informative books but for others it is merely a status symbol.

Students were enthusiastic to get the membership of the library and were happy that it was open once again. People braved the cold weather to stand in the queue for the membership for the library.

The GM, Telephone Department, Director General Police, Punjab, and Managing Directors of the top companies were also among the crowd. The main attraction of the library is the peaceful aura it offers to its readers, feel most of the bureaucrats of the city

The book collection is wide including a large number of books for the professionals and reference books for the scholars, expressed some of the members of the library.

The Library Manager, Sushanta Banerjee, said, ‘’We have got tremendous response for the membership. Keeping in mind the repeated requests of the people, the target for enrolling new members this year has been set at 1,500 and it will get continued till the target is achieved, he added.


Strengthen code for scribes’
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 2 — Stressing the important role of the Press in influencing young minds, the Vice-Chancellor of Kurukshetra University, Mr R.S. Chaudhary, said it was the best medium to bring about peace and progress in the nation.

Speaking at the installation function of office-bearers of the Panchkula Journalists Association, he said journalists must perform their duties without fear or favour. He was the chief guest at the function.

All members of the association were handed over their insurance policies of Rs 1 lakh, covering five years. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Monga, highlighted the need of further strengthening the professional code for journalists. The representative of the National Union of Journalists, Mr Ashok Malik, spoke on the objectives and functioning of the union.

Earlier, the president of the association, Mr Veer Vikram Aditya, welcomed the chief guests and presented a charter of demands which included representation of a member in the accredition committee of journalists. The general secretary, Mr Surinder Bhatia, gave a brief outline of the future programmes of the PJA.

The AIG, CID, Mr Alok Mittal, was a special invitee at the programme. Others present on the occasion included Mr Y.P. Gupta, the vice-president of the National Union of Journalists, Mr Surinder Garg, member of the Haryana Tourism, and an eminent journalist, Mr Radhey Sham Sharma.

The advisor to the PJA, Mr Vishnu Dutt, presented the vote of thanks.


5 journalists honoured
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The World Punjabiat Foundation today honoured five journalists for their contribution to the promotion of Punjabi as a language. Those honoured by the President of the foundation, Mr Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu, at the Chandigarh Press Club were the Editor, Punjabi Tribune, Mr Harbhajan Halwarvi, former MP Jagjit Singh Anand, Mr Baljit Balli of Ajit, Mr Niranjan Singh Parwana of Jagbani and Mr Tarlochan Singh of Indo-Canadian Awaaz and Aj Di Awaaz.

The award carries two silver coins, a memento and a shawl.

After the award-giving function, the foundation also announced the office-bearers for the Chandigarh unit. Dr Joginder Singh Kairon, folklore writer, was appointed honorary Secretary General and Mr Devinder Singh Jandiala, an advocate, Office Secretary.


Charge denied
From Our Correspondent

RAIPUR RANI (Panchkula), Jan 2 — Mr Om Prakash, a resident of Devi Nagar, has maintained that he is being falsely implicated by some of his rivals in Raipur Rani Poaching Case in which Mr Ajmer Singh was mistakenly shot dead and Mr Ram Swaroop sustained serious bullet injuries, last month.

Mr Prakash said that he was a political leader and a number of visitors used to come to his residence on one pretext or the other every day. He alleged that some persons belonging to his rival group wanted to spoil his political career so that he could not contest elections.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Prakash said that he has been investigating about the matter and has deputed some of his own persons to inquire into the case. “I will produce the actual accused before the police when I am confident about their involvement in the case, “he added.


Legal advice for NRIs on Net
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, Premier of British Columbia in Canada, recently launched a Chandigarh-based website, A venture of the NRI Sabha Punjab, this website offers long-distance personalised legal advice to the NRIs who have unsettled property disputes and the other cases in India.

The website also helps the NRIs find lawyers to represent them here. Ms Nidhi Singh, Director of the website, said, “Many NRIs have had bad experiences with the Indian legal system. This website was launched to provide them with the necessary representation in the matters of law.”

The information about clients is encrypted and stored on a secure server. The website also has an archive of information on the Indian legal system. There are special sections for women and those who need free legal advice.


Cold claims beggar’s life
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The cold reportedly took its third victim today. An unidentified beggar was found dead in Sector 17. The death, senior police officials maintained, was due to natural reasons.

It may be recalled that on December 29 a rickshaw-puller was found dead outside a showroom in Sector 22. According to senior police officials, Rajinder was suffering from tuberculosis. He had added that the victim was also "in the habit of consuming liquor".

On December 9 the body of an unidentified beggar was found in the Mani Majra Motor Market. Police officials had claimed that the death was due to cold weather.

Police to acquire two more sniffer dogs
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The Chandigarh police is all set to acquire two more sniffer dogs to add to its existing force. The necessary sanction for acquiring the dogs, according to senior police officials, has been accorded by the authorities at a training centre in Phillaur.

A senior police official, when contacted, said at least four to five months will be required to train the dogs.

No power, water
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Jan 2 — The local residents remained without electricity and water the whole day today. The supply of electricity remained off from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. and because of this there was no supply of drinking water either.


Dowry death alleged
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Jan 2 — Mrs Charanjit Kaur (23) committed suicide by jumping into a well.

Mr Jasdev Singh, SHO, Kharar, said today that the father of the deceased, Mr Karnail Singh of nearby village, Bhuchi, had reported to the police that his daughter got married to Satnam Singh of Ghoga village, near Kharar, in January, 2000. The couple had a two-month-old daughter.

He alleged that her in-laws were harassing her for more dowry and were demanding a Maruti car. The father suspected that the in-laws forced her to end her life.

The body of the deceased was recovered today from the well.

The police has registered a case under Sections 304-B, 148 and 149, IPC, against Satnam Singh, her mother-in-law and the father-in-law and others.


Sector 37 house burgled
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — A resident of Sector 37 complained that her house was burgled while she was out of station. The details of the theft could not be ascertained. A case under Section 457 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Purse stolen
Ms Varinder Kaur of Sector 45 in her complaint to the police said that her purse was stolen in Sector 20 here yesterday. Her purse reportedly contained Rs 800, a gold bangle and some documents.

A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Vehicle theft
Mr Tejpreet Singh, a resident of Sector 36, reported that his Yamaha motor cycle was stolen from near Sunbeam Hotel, Sector 22, here. Mr Gurwinder Singh of Sector 38 reported that someone stole the battery of his Maruti car from his residence last evening.

In both incidents cases under Section 379 of the IPC have been registered.

Computer parts stolen
Mr Raj Varinder Singh Chahal of NFA System Private Limited, Sector 17, complained that parts of his computer were stolen by someone between December 31 and January 1 from the office. A case has been registered.

Held for gambling
Madhar Khan, a resident of Burail, was arrested from near the Sector 45 bus stop for allegedly gambling last evening.

A case under the Gambling Act has been registered against him.

Liquor seized
As many as 100 pouches of liquor were reportedly seized by the Chandigarh police this evening after a Naraingarh resident was arrested.

A senior police official, when contacted, said the accused had been identified as Raj Kumar. The officer added that the accused was taken in custody on the basis of information received by the police.


Rise in theft cases, says SP
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 2 — Claiming an overall reduction in the crime rate, the Superintendent of Police, Dr C.S. Rao, said here today that the incidents of crime against women and burglaries had shown a rise during last year.

While burglaries shot up from 90 in 1999 to 115 last year, dowry death cases had gone up from one to five respectively, and nearly double the number of molestation cases had been registered.

Dr Rao said that to check the rising burglaries, the police would intensify patrolling in the city and appealed to the residents to furnish details of domestic help employed in their homes.

The SP informed that 50 per cent of the 200 theft cases had been worked out this year against 190 in 1999. Cases under the Excise Act had showed a marginal rise with the number going up from 110 to 140 this year and thefts rising by 10 more cases, taking the tally to 200 in 2000 while cases registered under the Arms Act had doubled from five to 10 this year.

In the “crime against person’’ category, three of the seven murders had been worked out and the suicide number had gone down from four in 1999 to three this year.

He said that as many as 40 VIP visits had taken place this year and 9,420 police personnel were on duty. The conviction rate had gone up to 90.6 per cent, while 58 cases had been cancelled. During the year, 41 proclaimed offenders had been taken in custody, he said.


Woman dies of burns
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — A Pinjore resident was declared brought dead at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research late in the evening today. Another Panchkula resident was also admitted to the PGI after a jeep and car met with an accident.

According to sources in the Police Department, Meena was brought to the hospital after she sustained serious burn injuries at home. Meanwhile, 52-year-old Vijay was admitted to the hospital after a car and a jeep collided in Sector 21, Panchkula. His condition was reported to be stable.

Woman hurt
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — An unidentified woman sustained injuries after falling from a Punjab Roadways bus early this morning. She was later admitted to the PGI.

Sources in the Police Department said that the accident occurred when the driver released the clutch after engaging the gear. The woman was getting down the bus when it started to move.

A senior police officer, when contacted, said the bus had been impounded and the driver arrested. A case of rash and negligent driving had also been registered. 


Markfed outlet opened
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 2 — The Punjab Cooperation Minister, Mr Ranjit Singh Bhrampura, opened an outlet of Punjab Markfed on the premises of the Sector 34 branch of Punjab State Cooperative Bank here today.

The outlet will cater to the needs of employees of Milkfed, Housefed and Punjab State Cooperative Bank. After the inauguration, Mr Brahmpura said another outlet would soon be opened in Sector 17.

Mr D.S. Bains, Managing Director of Markfed, said societies of farmers would be set up to produce good-quality foods and vegetables. Markfed planned to extend its activities to food processing and exporting fresh fruits and vegetables.

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