Sunday, January 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Police sounds alert for R-Day celebrations
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — Apprehending strikes by terrorists on the occasion of Republic Day, the Chandigarh police today sounded an alert in the city.

Sources in the Police Department disclosed that an alert was also sounded at the Sector 17 Inter-State Bus Terminus. Commuters were warned against touching suspicious and unclaimed objects including bags and wallets.

The shopping crowd was also asked to remain cautious. The police also requested residents to inform them in case they saw ‘any person roaming around under suspicious circumstances’.

A high level meeting was also held at the Sector 9 police headquarters. The Station House Officers of all the 11 police stations were reportedly asked to step up vigil to prevent any untoward incident on or before January 26.

The SHOs were reportedly asked to “keep their eyes open for militants-in-disguise stalking the city roads and markets, looking for an opportunity to strike”. Sources said the SHOs were also directed to issue stranger rolls to people with doubtful credentials.

Today’s meeting was held by the Senior Superintendent of Chandigarh police, Mr Parag Jain. Besides the SHOs and the DSPs, subdivisional police officers were also present.

Senior police officials maintained that precautions were being taken following intelligence reports regarding the possibility of strikes by the terrorists. Chandigarh, they claimed, was an “ideal target”, since besides being the capital of two states, it had two major Air Force installations, along with a civil airport. Porous escape routes to Punjab and Haryana also made the city vulnerable.

Sources, meanwhile, added that the SHOs were also asked to keep a close tab on the activities of “certain fresh settlers in the city”. “Chances of terrorist striking roots in the city by setting up their own business to avoid suspicion could not be ruled out,” said a senior officer.


Causeway to Mani Majra makes life hell for residents
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — Dense grey smoke billowing out of rickety three-wheelers rattling on the road outside the Punjab Raj Bhavan momentarily blinds the young jogger. As he jumps towards the footpath, he bumps into a cycle. Following the construction of causeway to Mani Majra, traffic on the once-deserted road behind the lake, has made life miserable for residents.

The cops do not agree. But some of the VVIPs residing in the area feel that the increased traffic also poses a serious security threat. According to a senior officer, it is impossible for the police to monitor the movement of people due to the increase in the flow of traffic. Besides, the two Raj Bhavans, ministers and senior officers of the Administration, including the Advisor and the Home Secretary, also reside in the area.

Interestingly, the Chandigarh Administration does not permit even motor boats to patrol the length and breadth of Sukhna Lake after the area around it was declared a wildlife sanctuary. But on the road parallel to the lake, trucks, jeeps, and cars now ply constantly, giving rise to noise pollution.

Then the causeway was inaugurated around two years ago. Commuters soon realised that the new route reduced travelling time drastically. And than, you could step on the accelerator till the needle touched 80 kilometer per hour. This was not all. Traffic lights were also absent.

Madhya Marg at the same time was becoming more and more congested. The reason was not hard to see. Over one lakh commuters travelled between Panchkula and Chandigarh.

Pedestrians and cyclists, crossing the median without indication, too were a constant traffic hazard. Moreover, the number of accidents, even fatal, were constantly increasing.

The new route became an instant hit with people residing in Kalka, Pinjore, Mani Majra, Barwala, Raipur Rani, even Zirakpur. For them, it was a short cut to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, the Punjab Engineering College, even the Punjab and Haryana High Court, besides the Civil Secretariat.

It was all convenient for commuters, but not for residents. “Cars, jeeps, even trucks and autorickshaws start plying on the road right from 7 a.m.,” says Dinesh Sharma, a Sector 7 resident and an ardent jogger. “They continue till late at night. The noise of the vehicles has destroyed our peace of mind”. 


Cold claims fourth victim in city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — The cold reportedly took its fourth victim today. Joginder Singh, employed with a dhaba in Sector 37, died due to “the sudden chill in the air”.

Ruling out the possibility of foul play, senior police officers, when contacted, maintained that 65-year-old Joginder Singh’s death was “due to natural reasons only”. Sources added that Joginder Singh used to wash utensils in the dhaba located in the rehri market.

They added that Joginder Singh was found in the morning by the dhaba owner when he tried to wake him up. It was further added that the “victim” used to sleep in the open verandah after finishing the household chores.

It may be recalled that an unidentified beggar was found dead in Sector 17 market on January 2. The death, senior Police officers maintained, was also due to natural reasons.

On December 29 last year, a rickshaw-puller was also found dead outside a showroom in Sector 22 in the morning. According to senior police officer Rajinder was suffering from tuberculosis. They had added that the victim was also “in the habit of consuming liquor”.

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


Placement drive at PU business school
By Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — Starting from January 8, the University Business School (UBS), Panjab University, in a pioneering effort, will be launching a concentrated placement drive for its 100 plus management graduate students of this session.

Spread over three days to begin with, more than half a dozen top corporate houses are going to be present at a single venue in the university on the first day to interview and recruit these students. In total, almost 15 companies, including Asian Paints, Bharti Enterprises, the HDFC, Wockhardt, Newgen, Nerolac, BILT, Shaw Wallace, LG, Blowplast, the HFCL, and Tata Infotech, are going to be here for recruitment.

The UBS had in September, 2000, housed its placement cell in the department and second-year students had been manning it. More than 600 companies across the world were posted the UBS brochure and 18 students in teams of nine each were sent all over the country for presentations to companies.

The school received a major setback in October, 2000, when its COSMODE rating fell from 12 to 56, but the students, although extremely disappointed, initially worked relentlessly for establishing the UBS on the lines of the top management institutes of the country.

“This year the profile of the placement situation is very different from other years. The kind of corporate houses which have approached us and whom we, too, have attracted are national in nature. In fact, we would have been more successful had this rating fault not happened and I am sure that in next year’s rating we will be regaining our position if not improving it, “states Dr Dinesh Gupta, Professor, UBS.

The UBS faculty is also all praise for the second-year students who “have not just increased manifold their own opportunities but also created many more for their juniors.” says Dr Suresh Chadha of the UBS.

And the students? They are extremely excited about “the prospect of having so many options to choose from and a deserving pay package. Now we are on the right track,” says Navpreet Singh Walia, a second-year student of the school. “As far as placement opportunities are concerned, this year has seen a qualitative improvement,” says Raja Santosh, his classfellow.

First-year students are also being picked up by some of these companies and others like Indian Oil, Luxor Writing Instruments, Jet Airways, Gujarat Ambuja, Modi, and Sony India for their summer training.


Unprecedented rush for fresh passports
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 —Anticipating a steep hike in fee — from the present Rs 300 to Rs 1,000 — and introduction of index scanning at the time of acceptance of application form, there has been an unprecedented increase in applications for fresh passports.

City RPO for Minsk

Mr Suresh Babu, Regional Passport Officer, Chandigarh, is all set to leave for Minsk, capital of Byelorussia, an erstwhile Soviet Republic.

Mr Suresh Babu, who earlier had worked in the Indian Embassy at Moscow, is expected to assume his new assignment on January 19. Till his successor is named here, Mr Jagdish Chand, Public Relations Officer of the RPO here, will officiate.

Since the President of Byelorussia is expected to visit India by the middle of next month, Mr Babu has been asked to take up his new assignment immediately.

The increase in fee has reportedly been in the pipeline for the past few months but the Ministry of External Affairs, however, is yet to take a final decision on the proposal pending before it .

The increase, fourth in the past 20 years, would see the fee shooting up from mere Rs 50 to Rs 1,000 now. The last increase in fee was mode at the instance of Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, the then External Affairs Minister, by introducing two-tier fee structure. From the previous five-year validity of a passport, it was raised to 10 years with fee going up from Rs 100 to Rs 300. In case of a 20-year validity passport, the revised fee was Rs 600. But then there were not many takers for the 20-year validity passport.

Only last year, the Ministry of External Affairs introduced “Tatkal passport” scheme under which a applicant was required to pay Rs 3,000 to get a fresh passport within a week. The initial validity of such passports, issued only to facilitate foreign travel for limited purposes, including business, bereavement in families, immediate medical treatment or for employment overseas, was only one year extendible later to full 10 years on receipt of regular police verification reports .

Keeping in view the increasing rush at RPOs throughout the country, the ministry had been contemplating to revise the passport fee again. Eversince the draft proposal was prepared, the message spread like wildfire and the queues outside RPOs have been lengthening since November last year.

For example, in Chandigarh, the total number of applications for fresh passports received in 2000 were 1.24 lakh, several thousand more than previous year.

Besides the anticipation of increase in fees, other reason given for growing length of queues at RPOs has been the proposal to introduce instant scanning of index at the time of accepting application for a fresh passport.

Linking of all RPOs by internet and introduction of instant scan of index would make it possible to detect those applying for a second passport from either a different Regional Passport office or with the change of address or slight modification of name.

There have been numerous instances when applicants from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh apply for a new or second passport by changing address or making minor changes in name, including dropping or adding surname. There have been cases when people have been detected carrying more than one passport at a time, one issued to them at a Punjab address from Jalandhar RPO and the second from Chandigarh RPO with a city address. Under the law criminal proceedings can be launched against those who obtain more passports than one by “fraudulently” concealing the facts about the first one.

Another possible reason for increase in applications for fresh passports has been the insistence of various embassies and consulates on separate passports for minor children. Earlier, names of minor children were allowed to be included in passports of their parents.

The Chandigarh Regional Passport Office is now on the net where a number of enquiries are answered by e-mail. It also took the initiative of taking the office to people by organising Lok Adalats at district headquarters. Three such Lok Adalats were organised at Ludhiana, Karnal and Ferozepore where the response from general public was overwhelming.

The increased demand for passports has also activated travel agents and touts. So much so that a large number of applicants from remote Punjab, including Moga, Ferozepore and Sangrur districts have been sending applications for fresh passports through registered letters. And these applications are dumped at the Sector 34 Post Office in Chandigarh from where these are sent to the RPO in the same sector. On an average 100 to 150 applications for fresh passports are received by registered post at the RPO here.

The only catch in sending the application through registered post was that the physical presence of the applicant could not be established. There have been instances when passports have been issued to applicants already sitting abroad.



Demand for more staff to check fee evasion
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — The Chairman of the UT Market Committee, Mr Kesar Singh, has demanded more staff from the local Administration so that the large-scale market fee evasion by commission agents could be stopped. This will also result in an increase in the revenue of the committee.

Talking to TNS here today, he said he had instructed the Secretary to issue showcause notices to those commission agents who were illegally collecting money — Rs 2 per bag — from the vegetable vendors. Business was affected in the market yesterday when hundreds of members of the Subzi Mandi Phari Association took to the streets to protest against the arbitrary surcharge. This malpractice had been highlighted by The Tribune on January 1.

Mr Singh alleged that the commission agents were cooking up their books and duping the committee of market fee to the tune of lakhs every month. He said he had written to the administration to provide more staff to conduct raids to check this malpractice.

He also said that despite appeals, the agents were giving bills on slips of plain paper and not on the mandatory J forms.

Agents on the other hand have maintained that they were collecting the amount only from the persons who bought from them on credit. Huge payment were pending with the protesters and this was one way to make good their money, they said.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, a spokesperson of the committee, said they would initiate strict action against the defaulters since they were committed to raise the revenue which has been stagnating for the past many years. 


Mechanics protest hike in booth rates
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — In protest against the excessive hike in the rates of 431 booths, which the Administration is going to allot to auto-mechanics and spare parts dealers in Sector 48 and Sector 38, the Auto Mechanics Federation held a meeting in Ramgarhia Bhavan, Sector 27, here today .

Addressing the gathering, the chairman of the federation, Mr V.P. Vadhera, warned the Chandigarh Administration that if the already constructed booths are not given to the auto-mechanics at the old rates for which the earnest money was paid to the Administration in 1996, the mechanics and auto dealers of the city would intensify their struggle.

Members of the federation had also submitted a memorandum of their demands to Member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, who assured them that he was with auto-mechanics and auto-dealers and would try his best to get them justice, according to a press release issued by the federation, today. 


Phones stop ringing again
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — Nearly 20,000 phones in the Industrial Area Phase II exchange developed a snag at around 8.30 p.m., causing great inconvenience to users. The fault had not been rectified till the filing of the report. It may be recalled that day before yesterday also the exchange had developed a snag.

Though every time one picked up the receiver one could hear a recorded voice “Only emergency services are available”, but even these services could not be accessed.


Woman dies of burn injuries
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 6 — A 20-year-old woman of Industrial Focal point in Phase X allegedly died of burn injuries here today. The victim, Manju, suffered 100 per cent burn injuries in a stove burst at her residence.

According to the police, when the incident took place the victim was wearing a synthetic cloth. She was brought dead to the hospital. The body was handed over to the relatives after post-mortem was conducted at the Civil Hospital in Phase 6 here this evening. The police initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr PC after recording the statement of the brother of the victim. According to the police, no foul play was suspected in the case.


Providing legal help to the poor
By Kiran Deep

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — Years of wait for justice deprives many of it. Further, many aggrieved hearts would rather give up fighting for it, for the helplessness caused by lack of sufficient resources. The UT residents, thankfully do not fall in this category today. The State Legal Services Authority, which fights for such people, can boast of settling as many as 540 cases at the pre-litigation stage, and had provided financial and legal assistance in about 300 cases of the total 1,000 complaints received by it in less than two-year period.

The authority disposed of 540 cases, including 180 matrimonial disputes, 102 service matters, 61 property disputes, 30 rent matters, 52 recovery cases, 52 minor complaints, 30 criminal complaints and, 33 miscellaneous cases, up to December 2000. In 300 cases, it arranged advocates and provided financial assistance as expenses of court fee on behalf of eligible persons, expenses for documentation, expenses for summoning of witnesses and other incidental expenses connected with litigation.

Some of the cases were sent to the permanent Lok Adalat, in the District Courts, where most of these cases were settled, within a month or two. Most of the summary cases involving traffic offences and matter relating to shops were solved at the pre-litigation stage.

In one of the cases regarding service matters, an employee of the Health Department had filed a complaint before the authority, that he had been working in the department for more than 33 years, but had not been given the benefits of selection grade although many of his juniors were enjoying the same.

The authority directed the department to pay the grade to the employee he deserved. In a case Ms Anita Rani, an employee of the Haryana Tourism had filed complaint before the authority that she had not been given the salary of 29 days. The State legal Service Authority had directed the Manager of the department to pay salary to the complainant.

In one of the accident claim cases, a compensation of more than 5 lakh was granted to the complainants during the last year. The authority has been providing free counselling and assistance in cases of divorce, job discrimination, Compoundable criminal cases, and cases of accidents, medical negligence, rent, mortgage, eviction etc. It provides assistance to persons with disability, member of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Industrial workmen, women and children, having annual income less than Rs 50,000.

Types of cases Number of cases settled up to Dec 2000.

Service matters


Matrimonial matters


Property disputes


Rent matter


Recovery cases


Simple dispute cases


Criminal cases


Miscellaneous cases


Free legal aid




Protest against lathi charge
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 6 — The Godrej GE Employees Union today protested against an alleged lathi-charge on workers by the police at the behest of the management of the factory. At least three workers — Kanwal, Rajinder and Manoj — received minor injuries in the lathi-charge, alleged the union leaders.

Mr Vikas Sharma, general secretary of the union, said around 50 workers who owe allegiance to the union were stopped at the factory gate. In the ensuing moments, the police resorted to a mild lathi-charge to disburse the workers. He alleged that the management was pressurising the workers to dissociate themselves from the union.

Union leaders maintained that telephone calls to the Labour Inspector and the Assistant Labour Commissioner soon after the incident did not yield any result. Officials of the factory were not available for comments. Meanwhile, the dharna by the workers entered its 431 st day today. 


CLA competitions from Jan 12
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — The Chandigarh Librarians Association (CLA) will organise the Competition Master Library Competitions from January 12 to coincide with the National Youth Day.

The inaugural function will be held at the Commonwealth Youth Programme, Asia Centre, PEC Campus, Sector 12, Chandigarh with whom the CLA is collaborating this year alongwith the Government College, Sector 46, Govt Model Sr Sec School, Sector 35, State Library, Sector 34, St Stephens School, Sector 45, St Johns High School, Sector 26 and the British Library Sector 8.

The association organises these competitions every year to focus attention of school and college students, their parents, teachers and the general public to the declining reading habits and to inculcate reading habits among them.

In addition to the on-the-spot competitions like slogan writing, cartoon making, handwriting, poster making, GK and IQ tests, essay writing contest, collage making and the book mark making contests which will be held on January 12 inter college/inter school competitions will also be organised.

Best School Library, Best School Librarian and the Most Innovative School Librarian award contest will be organised.

The Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator, Lt Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob will inaugurate the competitions being sponsored by Competition Master, The Hindustan Times (HT Horizons), The Browser, Coca Cola, The Chandigarh Booksellers Association, CMC Computer Education and Grolier International.


Cong on verge of split: Sangma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is a conglomerate of parties of various hues which cannot deliver the goods and the Nationalist Congress Party is the only alternative to both the NDA and the Congress, claims P.A. Sangma, a senior leader of the party.

Talking to mediapersons here today, he asserted that the solution lay in only one party. Parties with divergent ideologies have always proved detrimental to the progress of the party. The alliance is only a series of compromises to hold on to power.

Attacking the Congress, he said it was a sinking ship and its mass base had eroded over the years and the party, under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, was heading for a split. More and more Congressmen would be joining their party in the coming months, he asserted.

He replied in the affirmative when asked about joining the Congress in case Sonia Gandhi stepped down as party president. I think all Congressmen who left the party on this issue would also return, he opined.

On the occasion, Mr Sangma announced the merger of the Bhartiya Jan Congress led by former Bihar Congress Chief Minister Jagan Nath Mishra with the NCP on January 23.

He said his party had an open mind on the wining assembly elections in West Bengal. The same was true about elections in Punjab due early next year.

People of Punjab were totally disillusioned with the Akali-BJP alliance as it could do nothing since the Congress too was a divided house. In this scenario the NCP could provide a creditable alternative. Rapid industralisation was the need of the hour in view of the increasing unemployment in the state.

Commenting on the status of Chandigarh, he said it should retain its UT status, but there should be a representative body like an assembly or a council like Pondicherry, Delhi or Gorkhaland. The city too needed an autonomously elected body, he added.

Earlier, he addressed party workers at the Sector 24 Nehru Park.


Societies resent hike in land prices by HUDA
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 6 — Enhancement of rates from Rs 2,234 to Rs 2,549 per square metre for allotment of land to housing societies of Sector 25 was criticised by the Haryana Group Housing Promoters and Builders Federation.

In a press note issued here today, the president of the federation, Mr B.K. Sanghi, said that HUDA’s stance of promoting reasonably priced accommodation through societies was a facade and was essentially aimed at minting money.

Comparing the rates of the area allotted to them with those in Chandigarh, he said that the maximum price being charged in Chandigarh was Rs 2,500 per square metre and there was a glaring difference in the development of the two places.

Mr Sanghi said that the enhancement had come about due to additional compensation to be paid to farmers by HUDA, following court orders, because the land had earlier been purchased at very low rates from them.

Exercising its powers under a clause stated in the allotment letter to the societies, HUDA had raised the charges by 15 per cent. “This has had a fallout on the societies, 40 of which have surrendered their membership,’’ he said.

It was alleged that while group housing societies have minimal development charges as compared to plot holders and cost of commercial land, HUDA was charging maximum from the societies despite least wastage of land and low cost of water and sewerage connections.


HUDA installs overhead lights
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Jan 6 — With a view to beautifying the area around four major roundabouts and avoid accidents, the Haryana Urban Development Authority(HUDA) has installed overhead streetlights.

According to sources, the department has spent over Rs 16 lakh on the installation of new light poles by replacing about 12-year-old-fitted-with-mercury bulbs. The replaced poles have been fitted with metal bulbs around the bus-stand roundabout, Sector 1-2-5-6 roundabout, Sector 6-7-8-5 roundabout and 17-18-7-8 roundabout.

The new bulbs are having a colour rendering effect up to 80 per cent and will give blue light after sunset. Apart from making the way convenient to the roads users at night, the poles have been installed in such a manner so that the diversions could be easily noticed, sources added.

The sources added that 28 such lights have been put on the electricity poles of different configuration, replacing 12 mercury bulbs fitted poles around each roundabout. The project of installing new lights after replacing the old ones, which were not functioning properly, has cost over Rs 16 lakh.

The proposal to replace the old electricity poles, around the remaining roundabouts, with decorative light poles is under consideration, sources disclosed. The work on replacing electricity poles around the rest of the chowks would be started in the next financial year.

Apart from it, the authorities have also installed 50 lights on the poles along the road leading to Sectors 24 and 25 via the newly constructed Ghaggar bridge from Sector 21 by spending Rs 8 lakh recently.

The authorities admitted that some of the streetlights are non-functional in the inner roads of the city and that too due to the shortage of staff. However, 90 per cent of the street lights in the city are functional, claimed the authorities.


Bills, too, may go up with local-call radius
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — The government’s move to extend the local-call radius to 200 km could result in an increase in excess-metering complaints (EMCs), according to sources in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Sources said the billing in this radius will be according to a 30-second-per-unit pulse. For a three-minute call in the 200 km radius, a customer will now have to pay the price of six local calls.

A senior official of the BSNL said, since the dynamic locking facilities were given to subscribers with the STD facility only, the chances of the others misusing the telephones of their acquaintances could not be ruled out.

The official said the EMCs were about 20 per cent when there was no STD-locking facility. Non-STD subscribers in the city will now be able to call persons in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rajsthan and Himachal Pradesh, besides Punjab and Haryana at cheaper rates. Sources in the Telecom Department said, because a large number of persons belonging to these areas lived in Chandigarh, the calls would increase, leading to higher bills for each subscriber. Another official in the BSNL said the Communication Minister should also give dynamic-locking facility to non-STD subscribers.


Branches being cut to reduce accidents
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — Huge branches of 40-year-old pilkhans and the other old trees in the city are being cut by the MC authorities to ensure proper lighting on roads and reduction in accidents at night. The drive that began yesterday will continue in the next 15 days.

As part of the drive, pilkhan trees on both sides of the road dividing Sectors 15 and 16 were pruned as their branches were obstructing the light from poles at night. Today, trees along the road dividing Sectors 7 and 8 were chopped off. A large number of men and machines were deployed to prune these trees.

Authorities say that proper permission had been sought to prune these trees. They said the poor illumination was leading to accidents at night. “Some branches that had extended upto the road were also posing a danger to passing buses,” said an official.

On the road dividing Sectors 7 and 8, pruning of trees had also become essential for security reasons. Vehicles of a number of VIPs cross this road.

However, a visit to the area today showed that, in the process, even some branches that were away from the road were also being cut just to maintain a symmetry. Some persons believe that this damages the environment.

In the next few days, work will also be carried out along the other roads like the ones dividing Sectors 2 and 3, 7 and 8, 10 and 11, 18 and 19, 20 and 21 and 23 and 24. Workers of the Horticulture Department have been divided into two teams for the purpose. While one team is being led by the Executive Engineer, Mr Raghbir Singh, the other is being led by the Executive Engineer, Mr Lakhwinder Singh.


Village land price to be reset
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, Jan 6 — The Punjab Government has decided to reset the rate of the Lohgarh panchayat land that has been occupied by some persons for the past many years. The new rate will be fixed at a meeting of members of the advisory committee of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat.

This was announced by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance and Planning Minister of Punjab, at the annual function of AC International Public School here today.

Earlier, the Deputy Commissioner of Patiala asked shopkeepers of the Lohgarh market to submit the required money (at a rate of Rs 16,000 per square yard). They had also been asked to pay half of the evaluated value of the land occupied by them. The shopkeepers had the panchayat land on leasehold basis for the past more than 30 years.

The notices in this regard were issued in response to the policy of the state government to give ownership rights to tenants who were using the village common land for the past many years on leasehold basis.

Protesting against the notice, shopkeepers had given a representation to the minister. They said they could not pay such huge amount for the land.

At the school function, skits, bhangra and giddha were presented by students. Mr Krishana Agnihotri, Principal of the school, read out the annual report.

Besides parents of the students and local residents, Mr S.S. Sidhu, SDM, Mr Sukhdev Singh Changera, Member of Zila Parishad, and Mr Narinder Sharma were also present on the occasion.


ISKCON exhibition on transcendental art
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) organised a two-day exhibition of the latest transcendental art at Radhika Art Annexe, Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here today, which was inaugurated by Dr H.C. Modi, President, UT Consumers Court, Chandigarh, and thrown open for the general public for two days.

There were 24 canvases of a special genre of Krishna Art by renowned international artists — H.G. Parikshit Dasa Prabhu, H.G. Abhiram Dasa Prabhu and Jodh Rani Devi Dasi of ISKCON on display. These images were reproduced using special inks and vibrant colours of original artwork. The oil reproduction is coated with a thin UV protective film so that it may be protected from the harmful ultra-violet effects of sunlight, says H.G. Ram Nam Dasa Prabhu, organiser of the exhibition. He is doing selfless service to mankind by holding such exhibitions in different parts of the country to motivate the people to adopt the path of spiritualism, which is the only source of real peace and contentment.

In the inaugural address, Dr Modi, the chief guest, said; “These paintings open the window to the spiritual world. All the portraits give a glimpse of the Almighty. In fact the colours which have been used for paintings depict the colourful activities of the Lord who has bestowed all colours to nature.

Nand Maharaj Dasa, Secretary, local unit of ISKCON, said that these paintings tell us of the various incarnations of Lord Krishna and have attracted thousands of people. 


Road Safety Week observed
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 6 — A free vehicle pollution check-up camp and a medical camp for truck drivers marked the function organised by the district transport authorities and the local truck union to observe the 12th Road Safety Week in Phase VI here today. The function was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr G.S. Grewal.

The District Transport Officer, Mr S.S. Sidhu, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mr Jaipal Singh, the Superintendent of Police, Mr Gurmeet Singh Chauhan and Mr Amarinder Singh Sandhu, a representative of the truck union, were also present on the occasion.

Mr Grewal in his inaugural address urged the truck drivers to observe the traffic rules and avoid taking drugs. He urged the truck drivers to get themselves regularly examined and keep their vehicles in good condition to avoid accidents. He also stressed upon the drivers to get themselves examined for AIDS. On a demand put by a spokesman of the truck union for streamlining the process of making driving licences for heavy vehicles and allotment of land for parking of trucks, the Deputy Commissioner promised to take up the issues with the concerned departments.

The District Transport Officer said that traffic rules awareness camps were being organised in schools. Mr Randhir Singh Dhillon, president of the truck union, also spoke on the occasion.


Drive to remove wild growth
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 6 — The SAS Nagar Municipal Council today launched a special drive to remove wild growth from green belts along the major roads in the town. The drive was started from a green belt located adjacent to the PTL factory in Industrial Area here in the presence of the Executive Officer, Mr K.S. Brar, President of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh and some other municipal councillors.

Saplings of traditional trees would be planted in the area cleaned of wild growth. The president said all the green belts in the town were being identified by the civic body and would be taken up in a phased manner. Mr N.K. Marwaha, a municipal councillor, also present on the occasion said apart from the staff of the sanitation wing of the civic body, around 25 daily wagers were also being hired for the drive.

To effectively complete the drive trolleys to carry the removed wild growth were being taken on rent. To involve the residents of the town in the drive, a public notice seeking cooperation of the public was being inserted in newspapers.


Teacher who is scriptwriter, too
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — Dr Surinder Sharma needs no introduction, with his popular mannerisms and armoury of rib-tickling comedy so famous in Punjabi movies. He has to his credit over 50 Punjabi movies and 10 Hindi ones, besides four in Haryanvi. Educated at Hindu College, Amritsar, Dr Surinder joined Panjab University for honours school in Chemistry. In 1970, he began his career as a teaching assistant at Panjab University.

‘Chandigarh Campus’ which is being scripted by him, is being directed by Narinder Grewal. An interesting part of the serial is that most of the cast (running into over a hundred at times) is from local colleges. There are a few faces from local schools also.

The serial is being telecast on a Punjabi TV channel.

Dr Surinder Sharma is more popularly known for his performances in some of Punjabi cinema’s hits e.g. Sarpanch and Lambardarni. He represented the country at the Festival of India in USSR in 1987.

“I do not have any trouble taking classes at all. Weekends and holidays give me sufficient time for my hobby”, Dr Sharma said. A visit to Dr Sharma’s place showed a packed drawing room where the centre table was flooded with scripts. Over 200 mementoes and trophies stand prominently in the room.

Drugs, hostel life and college love stories form the base for the script, Dr Sharma said.

Dr Sharma has approximately five Punjabi films in his bag which are complete, but, have not yet been released. Money-matters have shelved their release.

Dr Sharma has directed over 70 plays and featured in over a 100. He is currently working on a book of poetry. 


Award for Keskar
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — In a prize distribution ceremony organised by the Ruchi Ram Sahni Memorial Trust, Mr Ravindr Keskar was awarded at Ambedkar Bhavan here today.

Mr Keskar has been awarded for popularising mathematics for school children through Japanese art of paper folding Origami. His motive is to attract those children who are unable to understand the basics of mathematics.

Mrs Madhvi Kataria, Director of Social Welfare and Director Colleges, UT, distributed the prize at the function. 


Blood donation camp
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, Jan 6 — As many as 120 persons donated blood at a camp jointly organised by the Bhabhat village panchayat and the village Sports Club, with the help of a team of doctors from the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 here today. 

Mr Dharam Singh, sarpanch, informed that villagers and youth of nearby villages also joined hands with the panchayat for this noble cause.


Foul play suspected in youth’s death 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — Even though the post-mortem examination of the highly decomposed body found in a nullah about 500 meters from the road dividing Sectors 31 and 47 was yet to be conducted, initial investigations have revealed that the youth was probably murdered before being dumped.

Senior police officers claimed that the body bore marks of external injuries. The face too was smashed, they added. Moreover, the absence of clothes point out that the youth was probably murdered, the officers concluded.

A senior police officer, when contacted, said that the possibility of the boy having been suffocated to death could not be ruled out. “We will be able to determine the exact cause only after the post-mortem examination is carried out tomorrow, he added.

The body of the youth, believed to be in his late 20s, was pulled out late in the evening on Friday. According to sources, the body was completely naked and was covered with algae.

It was discovered by a boy residing in the Sector 31 colony who had reportedly gone to the fields at about 4.30 p.m. for answering the call of nature when he saw the body trapped between two massive boulders.

A senior police officer, it may be recalled, had said the smell and the condition of the body indicated that it had been in water for as many as 15 days. Another officer had added that the body, dumped into the nullah somewhere else in the city, had reached the spot after being carried by the water.

Disposed of polythene bags sticking to the body was a testimony to this effect, he had stated.


PU student hit by car
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 6 — A Panjab University student sustained injuries after the scooter she was riding on was hit by a car at the campus today morning. Poonam Thapar was subsequently admitted to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research.

According to sources in the police department, Poonam, a resident of Sector 37, fell unconscious immediately after the accident. She had left the house at about 7.30 a.m.

Fax machine stolen
In a complaint before the police, Haryana’s Deputy Director of Malaria reported that a fax machine was stolen from her office in Sector 18. Taking up her complaint, the police has registered a case of theft under Section 380 of the IPC.

Case registered
The police has registered a case of rash driving after the scooter being driven by a Sector 47 resident, Umesh Kumar, was hit by a car. According to sources, the scooter was damaged in the mishap.

Liquor seized
As many as 13 bottles of liquor were reportedly seized after a Sector 15 resident was arrested. According to sources, a case under the Excise Act has been registered against the accused, Harbans Singh.


Body found
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, Jan 6 — An unidentified 70-year-old man was found dead from the local bus stand by the police today morning. Sources said the deceased was noticed by the shopkeepers three days ago and used to stay at the bus stand. He was reportedly also asked by his family members to return home a day ago but the man refused.

On getting informations the police has taken the body in custody.

ASI killed in road mishap
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Jan 6 — Mr Sadhu Ram, an ASI of the Punjab Police posted at Badali Alla Singh police station in Fatehgarh Sahib district, was killed when his scooter was knocked down by a Tata 407 vehicle (HR-10-A-1799) near Majat village. The Kharar police registered a case today under Section 279/304-A against Shamsher Singh, driver of the vehicle.

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