Saturday, January 13, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Public toilets to be converted into shops
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — Even as the UT Administration’s plan of rehabilitating the dwellers of Janta and Kumhar Colonies in Sector 25 goes on in full swing, certain developments concerning the project continue to remain highly objectionable.

As per the original plan, 17 sulabh shochalayas stand constructed on the land acquired for the purpose behind Dainik Bhaskar building in Sector 25, but surprisingly, a provision of toilets has also been made in the plots cut out for colony dwellers to be rehabilitated in this area. Money has thus been spent twice — first on giving shape to public toilets as per the original plan passed by officials concerned in June, 1997, and later on providing toilets and separate sewerage connection in the tenements also.

The move, although being justified by the Municipal Corporation on the ground that there were changes in the original plan, is objectionable at least to the extent that Rs 2 crore of public money spent on the construction of public toilets stands wasted, as of now. Though the MC says it will recover the money by converting the toilets into shopping areas, the success of the plan remains to be tested.

The plan of rehabilitating the dwellers of Janta and Kumhar Colony dates back to 1997, more precisely to June 23, 1997, when the first meeting in this regard took place and it was decided that 22 public toilets and 5000 tenements would be constructed in the area. The MC was give a go-ahead signal on November 7, 1997, and by 1998 about 17 toilets had come up in the area.

Suddenly, however, there was some change in the original plan and the number of tenements was brought down to 4090, reportedly for providing bigger houses to colony people who made representations to officials in this regard. Surprisingly, however, separate sewerage was laid down in each plot, despite the fact that buildings of sulabh shochalayas already stood constructed right in the vicinity of the tenements.

The MC Chief Engineer, however, argued that the same was done for the convenience of colony dwellers. “They could now use the public toilets till the time they constructed their own baths and toilets in the houses allotted to them”, said MC Chief Engineer Puranjit Singh.

Meanwhile, sources in the MC inform that there was some kind of confusion surrounding tender allotment of the sulabh shochalaya scheme also. Said an official: “Single tender system was followed and the tender was allotted to a private party. The proper way to ensure construction at the most competitive cost would have been by inviting tenders, but this was not done. Instead, the construction was carried out at rates higher than the scheduled ones.”

Countering the same, Mr Puranjit Singh said that only the single tender system is followed in case of public toilet schemes. “We awarded the contract to the International Sulabh Shochalaya, which is an NGO.”

On the issue of wastage of Rs 2 crore, Mr Puranjit Singh said that while four public toilets would be retained, the other 13 would be converted into shopping areas. “In each toilet, 8 shops will be constructed. After the shops are allotted, we hope to recover much more money than what we lost,” he said. A visit to the spot, however, reveals that the area of one public toilet is not more than 400 sq feet. When eight shops are constructed in one toilet, one shop will come up in just 50 sq feet of area. Whether such a small shop interests anybody is yet to be seen.


Neeru Nanda takes charge as Adviser
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — Ms Neeru Nanda, a 1971 batch UT cadre IAS officer, today took over as Adviser to UT Administrator replacing Ms Vineeta Rai as the top bureaucrat in the city.

Ms Nanda, who was posted as Chairperson of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) and CITCO, joined duty around 11 a.m. today. Ms Nanda, daughter of a retired colonel, said she would work in close co-ordination with the Administrator, but did not elaborate on any plans she had.

This is first time since Mr Pradeep Mehra took over as Adviser that an officer has had a brief innings in some other department in the Chandigarh Administration before being posted as Adviser. Ms Nanda had been posted at CHB on May 12 last year.

It is yet unclear if who will now hold the charge of Chairperson of CITCO and that of CHB. Traditionally the Home Secretary has been holding charge of CITCO but following the arrest of former Home Secretary N.K. Jain, the work is being handled by the CHB chief. The CHB has its own head and the until a new person is posted here, some senior official may be asked to look after the work.

All these matters will be decided tomorrow, according to sources. Ms Nanda is a keen mountaineer and has qualified the basic mountaineering course. She has written two books, ‘‘Tawang — the land of the Mon’’ and ‘‘Forests for whom? Destruction Restoration in the UP Himalayas’’. She had been Education Secretary, Delhi Administration. She has also been Member Secretary, Delhi Commission for Women. She was also the first woman Deputy Commissioner of Tawang, a remote district in Arunachal Pradesh in 1974.

During her stay in Novodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, Ms Nanda fought a painful but satisfying struggle to check sexual abuse of young girls by the male staff. The Supreme Court upheld her idea of denying the right to examine the complainant girl child while conducting disciplinary proceedings against an accused. She has also been Director, North Central Zone Cultural Centre.

Meanwhile, the outgoing Adviser, Ms Vineeta Rai, bid farewell to the city. In the morning, an official tea party was organised while officers of the Chandigarh Administration hosted a traditional farewell dinner with their respective spouses by pooling in money. Another farewell lunch was hosted by the councillors and officers of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. Ms Rai stressed that the goals of the Chandigarh Administration and MC were the same. Even though media, in the past , has projected that there were differences between the two, this was far from true, she said.

Ms Rai, added that the MC, ever since its inception, had done a lot of development work for the city. However, the residents had more expectations from the corporation for which they it has to strive harder, she said. The Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, the new Adviser, Ms Neeru Nanda, and the MC Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, were among those present.


City gyrates to Lohri tunes
From Tribune Reporters

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — Taking the tradition of celebration forward by yet another year, the city residents welcomed the festival of Lohri in style. Almost all public and private outfits celebrated the festival in a spirited fashion by paying tributes to the sacred fire and offering reoris, gajak and groundnuts to it. No matter where the celebration was held, gaiety was the hallmark everywhere. Few recordings of the show are as follows:

PU campus: The PU campus students council celebrated the occasion at the Students Centre. Sacred fire was lighted by the DSW, Dr V.K. Bansal, and a cultural function was also presented on the occasion. There was the traditional “dholi” to take home the celebration. Even the Deputy Registrar and wardens of various hostels joined in the celebrations.

Government College for Boys, Sector 11: The celebration here was a bit different. The Principal of the college, Mr S.N. Singla, staff and students, celebrated the festival with the children and residents of Janta Colony, Sector 25. The programme was organised in collaboration with the Chandigarh Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and Minorities Finance and Development Corporation. Also present on the occasion was DPI, Colleges, Ms Madavi Kataria, who distributed woolens and sweet packets among the residents of the area.

Citizens Welfare Association, Sector 22: Senior citizens, children and youth of this area celebrated in the festival one day prior to the schedule. The celebrations were marked by the distribution of sweets, groundnuts to all those in the gathering. Mr Des Raj Tandon was the chief guest on the occasion.

Lions Club Chandigarh Vishal: Lohri was celebrated at Lions Bhawan, Sector 30, by giving away wheel chairs to the handicapped. Lion D.K. Sood, Vice-District Governor, was the chief guest on the occasion which was also graced by Region Chairman Lion B.S. Garcha and Zone Chairman Lion S.P Singh.

Environment Society of India: A number of social welfare associations joined members of the Environment Society in celebrations of Lohri at Karuna Sadan in Sector 11. On the occasion, society president S.K. Sharma appealed to the people to stop burning auto tyres as it could prove to be injurious to health. In addition to this, he also appealed to the people and the MC to plant more and more trees in the city.

State Bank of India, PU branch: The bank celebrated the festival jointly with Mahavir International Centre, Chandigarh. The celebration was marked by distribution of pullovers, shoes and sweets to about 25 students of a night school being run at Government Middle School, Sector 24.

Bharatiya Sangeet Samiti: The members of the samiti celebrated Lohri by distributing sweets among the patients of the PGI. The programme was inaugurated by Head, Department of Plastic Surgery, PGI, Dr P.S. Chari. The organisation also hosted various cultural programmes on the occasion for the mentally challenged children. Organising secretary of the samiti Maninder Rana and other office-bearers called on the patients and gave their good wishes to them.

Nari Niketan, Sector 26: Inmates of the niketan danced away to folk tunes in celebration of the festival. They also lighted the sacred fire and offered sweets. Director, Social Welfare, Ms Madavi Kataria, shared moments of joy with the niketan inmates and distributed woolen shawls and suits to them.

Typists Welfare Association: Members of the association celebrated Lohri on premises of the Estate Office under the presidentship of Hukam Chand Khundia and Sham Lal Kanoujia, president and general secretary of the association, respectively. Mr P.S. Walia, advocate (Notary Public), was the chief guest on the occasion.

Ajit Karam Singh International Public School : Students of Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Sector 41, performed a ballet about importance of Lohri in Punjabi culture. Abonfire was also lit. Gidda and bhangra were also held.

Old Age Homes: The inmates of various Old Age Homes in city also celebrated Lohri on Friday. Inmates of Sector 15 Old Age Home celebrated the festival by lighting a bonfire. Distribution of warm clothes and sweets was followed by a function organised by Lions Club. At Sai Satya Old Age Home, Sector 30, Lohri celebrations were marked by enthusiasm and traditional gaiety.

Satluj Public School, Panchkula: Students of Satluj Public School celebrated Lohri with great enthusiasm . The celebrations began with an assembly to mark the Founder’s Day. A large bonfire was made, a skit on lohri, dances and songs depicting happiness were also presented. A quiz was also organised on school history. Mr Krit Serai, congratulated the students and gave prizes to the winners. The students and the teachers danced and had a great fun round bonfire. Later popcorns, gachak, rewris were distributed among the students.

DAV College, Sector 10: The Students Central Association of the College celebrated Lohri at the college campus, here on Friday evening. Hostelers and other students of the college were present on the occasion. An orchestra was organised by the association to add more fun to the bonfire. Mr R.C. Jeevan, Principal and the three hostel wardens were also present at the function. This was informed by Mr Nishu Dubey, secretary of the Students Council.

SD College: Students of Sector 32, SD College today organised a function to celebrate the Lohri festival.Back


Polio virus still prevalent in city
By Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — The worst fears of the health authorities stand confirmed. The first 11 months of the year 2000 passed off smoothly but in December, 2000, the city reported one case of the deadly polio virus. In January, 2001, final reports have confirmed the presence of wild polio ‘‘type one’’ virus in the city.

Interestingly, the virus reportedly has genetic material similar to the virus found in Uttar Pradesh. What is baffling the investigating team is the fact that Ramesh Kumar and Neena, parents of the suffering infant Avinash, are originally from Rajasthan but have also been born and brought up in Chandigarh.

In fact, the parents, who live in the Janata Colony in Sector 25, claim that they have not been outside the city and the child has regularly received the polio medicine administered under the countrywide pulse polio immunisation project.

It was on October 31, 1999, when 18-month-old Avinash was admitted to the PGI. He was suffering from the limpness in his right leg. The condition was diagnosed as acute flaccid paralysis by the doctors.

Report of the preliminary screening in Dec, 2000, had raised suspicions. It was the final report, in the first week of January, that confirmed without doubt that Avinash had indeed been infected by the polio virus. Probably he had been infected through the surrounding of place where he lives.

In Chandigarh, there has been a definite improvement in the incidence of polio cases in the city during the past years. During both 1998 and 1999 each four cases were reported. It has been the result of these surveys that polio transmission has been effectively contained in large areas of the country. The surveillance in the city had started in 1998.

The authorities were hoping for a ‘‘zero polio status’’ for the city in the year 2000, as in the entire country only 196 cases of polio were reported. Even the neighbouring state of Punjab had only one case of the disease in the year 2000. A definite improvement from the days when polio crippled as many as 600,000 people all over the world.

According to the information available from the Union Ministry of Health and Family welfare, maximum cases were reported in Uttar Pradesh (130), Bihar (42), Maharashtra (6), Haryana (4), Delhi (3), West Bengal (3), Karnataka (3), Madhya Pradesh (2) and Gujarat (2).

Chandigarh, considering the social status of the people and better health facilities than anywhere else in the country, should not have reported even a single case of poliomyletis. Experts, however, blame these incidences on migratory population from UP and Bihar.

Poliomyelitis is caused by picornavirus. In itself, a very small virus, it lodges and multiplies in the intestines. Transmission is primarily person-to-person via fecal-oral route. The time between the infection and onset of paralysis is 10 to 21 days. The virus is intermittently excreted for one month or more after the infection.

Although India is lacking behind the goal for total eradication by the year 2000, the authorities hope it definitely would be able to achieve this goal by the year 2002. Since the world is almost at the threshold of polio eradication, end stage years were very important. This year the second round of the pulse polio is on January 21, 22 and 23. 


BBMB says no to UT on partnership
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — The Union Territory of Chandigarh will not be getting partner status in the massive power projects run by the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB). Chandigarh’s demand has been shelved as the Union Power Ministry has decided to provide additional power from unallocated surplus from its projects across the country.

The present allocation from the BBMB — about 15 per cent of city power comes at subsidised rates and another 50 per cent comes at global rates from the BBMB — will continue. The partner status would have got Chandigarh a share of power at cheaper rates and also profits. The case for partner status to Chandigarh has been on the back after the re-organisation of states in 1966. Now it will not even be discussed.

The union power ministry at a meeting with UT officials, recently, promised allocation of unallocated surpluses which are to the tune of 600 MW from the Eastern states, the Singrauli thermal project in UP and the Nathpa-Jhakri hydro project in Himachal.

Out of this power some will be allocated to Chandigarh, which has no system of generation and is finding difficult to pay at rates which are between Rs 2.50 and Rs 3 per unit. Only 15 per cent of the city gets power which is subsidised. Out of the total demand of power between 28 and 32 lakh units per day. The city gets 3.5 lakh units per day at 5.63 paise per unit from the BBMB and another 1 lakh units at 90 paise per unit as its common pool share from the BBMB. Another 15 lakh units are procured from BBMB at global rates which means Rs 2.12 per unit. The rest is purchased at varying rates between Rs 2.50 and Rs 3 per unit from various projects.

Interestingly the BBMB has been showing arrears running into crores of rupees as it wants 29 paise per unit at the minimum rate for the 3.5 lakh unit and Chandigarh has been insisting that it will pay only 5.63 paise , the rate applicable for other partner states.

The outgoing Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Vineeta Rai, confirmed that the partnership status in the BBMB has been shelved after the power ministry’s assurances. Sources in the power sector say that city’s requirement as on date are 176 mega watt and will require 400 MW by the end of 2012. The city will continue to get the present share of power from the BBMB. The Ministry’s decision is for future needs and projection of power made by the Chandigarh Administration.

The four partner states are: Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. The BBMB is the biggest power generator in the country and all through hydel projects.

The ongoing cold wave has made the demand of power jump by 20 per cent and has brought it at par with demand in summer months. Yesterday’s power consumption was 30 lakh units which is the average for a day during peak of summer. Engineers informed that in the last week of December the demand was no more than 24 or 25 lakh units. But in the past 4 to 5 days demand has peaked due to use of heaters, blowers and geysers.


Police launches anti-defacement drive
5, including 2 cinema managers, booked
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — Ajay Devgan and Sunny Deol's posters will not conceal vital public information on signboards. Not after today's drive by Chandigarh Police against defacement.

Claiming to be serious about enforcing the Act against defacement, the men-in-khaki today booked as many as five persons, including two managers of different cinema halls.

A letter asking Station House Officers of all 11 police stations to take strict action against the defacers was also dispatched from the office of Mr. Parag Jain, Senior Superintendent of Chandigarh Police.

The decision to act against the defacers is significant as the police had received a "large number of complaints" against concealment of vital information under the posters and hand bills.

They had stated that besides the "destruction of city's beauty", the posters made it impossible for the commuters to read the sector numbers not only on the signboards, but also on the bus shelters.

Several letters terming as "eyesores" the worn and torn handbills, glued to the market pillars all over the City Beautiful, had also appeared in the newspapers.

The SSP, when contacted, said action was being taken not only against the persons sticking the posters but also against the advertisers. The drive, he added, would continue in the future also.

The violators, he stated, were liable to be fined Rs 500 to Rs 1000 or sentenced to simple imprisonment for three months under the West Bengal Prevention of Defacement of Property Act as extended to Chandigarh.

Sources in the police department, meanwhile, stated that manager of Suraj cinema in Panchkula, Kamal Kapoor, was arrested after being booked under Section 3 of the Act as posters of Raju Chacha were pasted on the walls of Mani Majra civil hospital. Kapoor, sources said, was later bailed out.

The manager of Batra cinema, Vinay Gambhir, was also arrested and subsequently bailed out after being booked under the Act. Sources added that the posters of Champion were glued to an electricity supply box in Sector 7.

Another case was registered against the owner of Infotech Centre in Sector 34. Sources added that banners advertising the courses offered by the institute were hanging between electricity poles in Sector 19. No one was arrested, sources said.

The owner of another institute in Sector 15, ATS, was also booked as banners advertising the services offered by them were fastened between electricity poles in Burail village, said sources.

A Sector 17 shopkeeper was also booked. Sources said Varinder of Sector 41 was arrested and bailed out as a banner announcing sale of woollens was hanging outside the shop.

In another case, owner of Guru Nanak Electronics in Sector 47 was booked as advertisement of a television brand was painted on the wall of a house in the same sector.Back


Bhatnagar case
Change presiding officer: defence
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 —The contents of a letter, allegedly written by a Brigadier to the presiding officer of a General Court Martial trying a Major for the dereliction of duty, were the topic of heated arguments during the proceedings today.

The Commander, 50 Para Brigade at Agra, had reportedly written a demi-official (DO) letter to the GCM’s presiding officer, Col Vinod Bhatnagar, which, the defence maintained, was illegal and indicated mala fide. The defence demanded that the presiding officer be changed.

The GCM is trying Maj Maneesh Bhatnagar, of 5 Para, on charges of wilful disobedience of lawful command and acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline during Operation Vijay in 1999.

Major Bhatnagar argued before the court that the contents of the letter were questionable and in what capacity had the Brigade Commander and the GCM’s presiding officer been corresponding with each other on issues related to the trial even before it commenced.

As per Major Bhatnagar’s contention, the DO letter had been dispatched from Agra by hand on January 3 and was received here the next day. Terming the letter to be illegal, Major Bhatnagar contended that the Brigade Commander could not send a letter direct to the presiding officer and this should have been done through the N-Area Commander.

The letter allegedly contains the telephone numbers of Brigadier Shivrain as well as Major Bhatnagar’s Commanding Officer, Col A.K. Srivastava, on which they could be contacted, besides mentioning some dates on which certain witnesses may be summoned by the GCM, as well as other “directives” on their movement.

Major Bhatnagar contended that even though Brigadier Shivrain mentioned in the letter that he had learnt of the court martial “informally”, the contents of the letter indicated a liaison among the three officers, and that the Brigade Commander was aware of all facts pertaining to the trial even before it had commenced.

The court, which was adjourned before lunch to debate on the allegations levelled against the presiding officer, maintained that it was not aware why the letter was written direct by Brigadier Shivrain to Colonel Malik. The arguments before the court by Major Bhatnagar were recorded by the Judge Advocate.

Yesterday, when the GCM had reassembled after having remained adjourned for five days, Major Bhatnagar had raised objections against the presiding officer as well as another member, Major S.K. Pandey. While the court had replaced Major Pandey by another officer, the objection against Colonel Malik had been overruled.

Major Bhatnagar objected to Major Pandey being a member of the court as he had been attached to the latter’s regiment — 8 Mountain Division Signal Regiment — during the court of inquiry against him and he feared that the latter might be biased against him.

Major Bhatnagar’s objection against Colonel Malik, Deputy Commander of an artillery brigade, had reportedly been that the presiding officer had remained in touch with 50 Para Brigade, of which Major Bhatnagar’s unit was a part.

It was alleged that Colonel Malik had received a letter from the Para Brigade Commander, Brigadier Shivrain, on January 4, giving information on when witnesses from this formation could be made available for cross-examination.

Major Bhatnagar had reportedly contended that since his trial had commenced on January 5, the letter being received by the presiding officer a day before revealed an apparent lack of confidentiality as well as mala fide on the part of the authorities. This objection was overruled by the court.

The GCM had been convened on January 5, but had been adjourned on the same day as the accused officer had raised an objection that the defending officer provided to him was not of his choice. It reassembled yesterday after the defending officer sought by the accused was made available by the Army for the trial.


Poor public response puts question mark on
By A.S.Prashar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — A less-than-enthusiastic public response to the PUDA’s prestigious Rs 250-crore housing project in Sectors 76 to 80 at SAS Nagar has put a question mark on the viability of the mega project in the present adverse market conditions.

The project covers 1350 acres of land spread over five sectors which is yet to be acquired. The scheme offers a total of 3950 residential plots ranging between 125 sq yds to 1000 sq yds. The big 1000 sq yds (2-kanal plots) were highlighted as the main attraction of the scheme.

The scheme opened on November 27 and was due to close on January 2, 2001. It has since been extended to January 15, 2001, apparently because of lukewarm response from the public.

So far, the 1562 applications have been received for 850 plots of 125 sq yds, 2387 applications for 850 plots of 150 sq yds, 3215 applications for 700 plots of 200 sq yds, 768 applications for 500 plots of 250 sq yds and only 521 applications for 500 plots of 300 sq yds.

It is the higher category plots which have failed to attract an adequate number of prospective buyers. Only 291 applications have been received for 300 plots of 400 sq yds while 200 plots of 500 sq yds (1-kanal) have attracted only 181 buyers. However, it is 1000 sq yds (2-kanal) category plots which have failed miserably to find buyers. Only 6 applications have been received for 50 plots offered by the PUDA in this category.

The Chief Administrator of PUDA, Mr Karanbir Singh Sidhu, however, says that the rather lukewarm public response to the project does not undermine the viability of the project. As a matter of fact, there are still three days to go before the scheme closes on January 15 and the past experience is that most of the people rush in towards the close of the scheme. There will be no further extension in the scheme.

As regards the poor response to 2-kanal plots, PUDA may convert the 2-kanal plots into 1-kanal plots and offer them to the public. He says that the land acquisition process is in the final stages. Once that is completed, development work will start for which loan from HUDCO has already been tied up.

He said that a sum of Rs 60 crore has been received so far as earnest money along with the applications from the public of which only Rs 33 crore would be retained after the draw of lots is held in about a couple of months.

Observers here say the continuous slump in the real estate in the entire region is one of the major factors which has affected the public response to the PUDA project. A simultaneously housing scheme floated by HUDA in the neighbouring Panchkula, which is regarded as better choice, has also affected the Mohali project. Another factor said to be weighing with the prospective buyers is the uncertainty which generally surrounds the land acquisition and developmental process in urban estates.


Encroachers in for tough time
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Jan 12 — The Municipal Council has decided to be tough with encroachers in the town. Illegal rehris will be impounded, illegal stalls on road berms be removed and market verandahs will be got vacated for the use of the public.

Mr Kulwant Singh, President of the Council, said here today that illegal rehirs plying in the town were proving to be a traffic hazard. The shopkeepers were also unauthorisedly keeping their goods in the verandahs which had become a nuisance for the public. He, however, said he would soon be holding a meeting with the shopkeepers in this connection.

Work relating to the collection of tehbazari and impounding of animals has been divided. A daily progress register will be maintained in this connection and the president and the executive officer will be carrying a weekly review of the work in both cases. Staff members, too, had been reshuffled.

The president said orders to this effect were issued last evening. Mr Kulwant Singh said this had to be done because earlier one person looked after the two wings and as such the work suffered. He said till date the council had earned only 50 per cent of the targeted income from both the tehbazari and cattle pound.

According to the orders, the tehbazari section now will be looked after by a senior clerk, Mr Ashok Kumar, while the cattle pound work will come under Mr Bhupinder Singh, a junior assistant.

The tehbazari section will maintain records of the tehbazari income, impounding of illegal rehris and the penalty imposed, impounding of goods kept unauthorisedly in market verandahs by shopkeepers and the penalty amount collected and removal of illegal stalls on road berms.

In the case of cattle impounding work, the employees concerned will keep proper records of the number of animals impounded and the fines imposed. A report will also be presented regarding stray animals and their transport elsewhere from the cattle pound.

The work in the two sections will now be looked after by Mr Tarlochan Singh, superintendent.Back


41 pc hike in auto fare
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — Travelling by autorickshaws in the city will be costlier by close to 41 per cent. The Chandigarh Administration issued a notification here today enforcing the new rates. Autorickshaw owners have been given 90 days’ time to install meters after which action will be initiated against violators by the administration.

This is the first hike in autorickshaw fares since August 1996. According to the notification no luggage charges will be levied for baggage upto 20 km. Any article above 20 kg will attract a charge of Rs 2. Night charges will be Rs 25 extra on travel made between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. For hiring an autorickshaw from the city airport the hirer will have to pay 50 per cent over and above the normal fare. Three passengers will be allowed at no extra cost while more than three passengers would not be allowed.

New rates/ old rates in Rs

First 1.6 km or part 13.00/9.00

For every subsequent km 4.00/2.40

Waiting charges upto 40 min nil

40 minutes to 1 hour 10.00/5.00

Every subsequent hour 10.00/5.00


Window pane of Judge’s house smashed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — Tension prevailed among senior officers of the Chandigarh Police after a window pane in the official residence of Mr Justice M.L. Singhal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court was found smashed in the afternoon today.

The incident, according to sources in the Police Department, was of a serious nature as “someone could have even fired at the house”. Mr Justice Singhal was in the high court when the incident took place.

Sources added that a marble was found near the shattered window pane of the first floor room. They added that chemical examination of the glass would confirm if it was broken by the marble or by some other object.

Senior police officers, including the Senior Superintendent of Chandigarh Police Mr Parag Jain, reportedly rushed to the spot after receiving the information. A team of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory will also visit the spot tomorrow to remove the glass for chemical examination.Back


Youth’s death: mystery deepens
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — The mystery shrouding the death of a youngster, whose body was found in a nullah last week, deepened today with the postmortem examination revealing that the victim had died of 95 percent burn injuries.

The examination, sources in the Police Department said, also revealed that the victim was in his mid-twenties. They added that the possibility of foul play would be confirmed only after the report of chemical examination was received. The viscera, sources further added, had been sent to Patiala for the purpose.

Confirming the information, Senior Superintendent of Chandigarh Police, Mr. Parag Jain, said DNA sample was being preserved “to enable identification at a later stage”. The highly decomposed body was pulled out of a nullah about 500 metres from the road dividing Sector 31 and 47 on January 5. Initial investigations by the police had revealed that the youth had probably been murdered before being dumped.

Senior police officers had claimed that the body bore marks of external injuries. The face was smashed and the absence of clothes pointed out that the youth had probably been murdered, the officers had concluded.

The body, it may be recalled, was discovered by a boy residing in the Sector 31 colony. Ajay Kumar 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.


Use Bal Bhavans for slum kids: Jacob
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 12 — The Punjab Governor, Lt. Gen. J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today urged the Punjab Child Welfare Council to use its Bal Bhavans for the upliftment of the slum children. He was speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of a state-level Bal Bhavan in Phase 4 here this afternoon.

After the building of the Bal Bhavan here was raised, the council must keep two hours exclusively for the slum children, he said adding that every child has the right to play to incorporate team spirit. He suggested the council to take steps to provide play fields, gymnasium and cyber-cafe for the children. He opined that the slum children should be provided the facility to surfing the net free of cost or at a highly subsidised rates.

The Governor hoped that the Bal Bhavan would emerge as a model for the region. He said the council had planned to start painting, dance, art and craft and computer classes. Opening a creche and library at the Bal Bhavan was part of a decision of the council to set up a state-level Bal Bhavan in the town.

Ms Uma Ratra, Secretary of the Child Welfare Council, Punjab, spoke on the activities of the council. Mr S.C. Aggarwal, Secretary to the Governor, and officials of the district administration were also present on the occasion. The proposed three-storeyed building of the Bal Bhavan would cost Rs 1.15 crore.Back


No arrangement for parking

IT appears that the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) forgets an important aspect of planning — adequate space for parking — while allotting land for government departments. The site on which the foundation stone of the Bal Bhavan was laid today by the Punjab Governor is located right next to a junction of V 3 and V4 roads — the most chaotic traffic intersection in the town. The effective width of the main road in front of the site is at times reduced to half due to haphazard parking of vehicles by the persons visiting the main telephone exchange building. Sources in PUDA said though the allotment of site for the Bal Bhavan was not new earlier the authority was planning to allot another better site near the ITI in Phase 5.


Cold wave recedes, fog to continue
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — The ongoing cold wave in the city and surrounding areas today receded marginally as the minimum temperature rose to 2 degrees celsius while the maximum was recorded at 13.4 degrees celsius, a rise of 1 degree and 1.4 degrees celsius, respectively.

A blanket of thick fog continued to engulf the city reducing visibility to a few metres and affecting the movement of trains and vehicular traffic. The local meteorological office said fog and mist would continue tomorrow also. The minimum temperature in the city today was 5 degrees below the normal average.

The mercury was hovering between six to two degrees below normal till yesterday.

According to Railway sources, several mail and express trains, including Shatabadi, Himalayan Queen, among others were running about one hour late due to foggy conditions.

The met office has predicted respite from the ongoing dry weather by forecasting light to moderate rain at isolated places in Punjab and Haryana during the next 24 hours. 


2 officials nabbed for taking bribe
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — The vigilance cell of the Chandigarh Administration with the assistance of the state vigilance bureau today reportedly nabbed two officials while taking bribe .

The General Manager of the Haryana Financial Corporation was arrested while taking a bribe of Rs 5,000 for settling pending accounts.

In another case, an assistant in the office of the Registrar, Firms and Societies, was caught accepting a bribe of Rs 300 from an advocate for the registration of firms. A case has been registered.Back



Gurdas Mann leaves for Mumbai
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — The noted Punjabi pop singer Gurdas Mann was discharged from the GMCH, Sector 32, today morning. The singer accompanied by his wife and relatives left the hospital at around 9.30 a.m. and has reportedly left for Mumbai.

The singer was admitted to the hospital on January 9, when the vehicle in which he was travelling had collided head on with a truck near Seona Majra village, 6 km ahead of Kurali on the Ropar highway.

Gurdas Mann had suffered minor injuries above the eye and on the forehead. He has been advised complete bed rest for atleast a month.

Meanwhile, visitors from all over Punjab hoping to get a glimpse of their favourite singer and to know about his health and welfare, continued to visit the hospital in Sector 32.

Billa Manewalia, a Head Constable with the Punjab Police and also an aspiring singer, had travelled all the way from Faridkot in Punjab to meet his adarsh, (role model). “I started from Faridkot at 4 a.m. in the morning,” he said.

However, disappointment was writ large on his face when he failed to meet the singer. He said that he was thankful to God that Gurdas Mann is all right and had been discharged from the hospital. 


Raising day celebrated
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 12 — The Central Reserve Police Force’s 5th Signal Battalion celebrated its 12th Raising Day here today. Various activities like professional and general awareness competitions, games and a seminar for children marked the occasion.

A bara khana was also organised at the unit headquarters. A fete was also organised. Giving away prizes to winners of various events, the battalion Commandant, Mr S N Rudrappa exhorted his men to enhance their professional competence and rededicate themselves to the service of the nation. He added that the CRPF’s communication set-up was being modernised and computerisation was taking place in a big way.

Directions to 1/6 scheme assessee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — The Commissioner of Income Tax clarified today that all residents of Chandigarh, covered by the 1/6 scheme of the Income Tax Act, must file returns of the income in Form No 2-C.

Those, who have filed return for earlier years and still have no taxable income and fulfil any one condition of the scheme are advised to file their returns this year as well. Non-filing of the return will attract the penal provision, a press note added.Back


‘DD centre to function from February’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — The local Doordarshan relay centre will start functioning from February next.

The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj,will inaugurate it, according to Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP. He said. he called on Ms Sushma Swaraj yesterday in Delhi and informed her that the building of the relay centre had been completed. .

The bhoomi pujan for this building was performed by Ms Swaraj in July 1998. The project was scheduled to be completed last year.


Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — Mrs Sneh Lata Jain (53) wife of Mr Hem Chand Jain, Senior Operator, The Tribune, died in PGI here today after a brief illness. She suffered from brain haemorrhage. She leaves behind a son.


Four hospitalised following mishaps
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — In separate road accidents, at least four persons were admitted to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research with serious injuries.

According to sources in the police department, 72-year-old Gurmeet Singh of Ropar district was admitted to the hospital after the scooter he was riding was hit by an unidentified bus in front of Sector 11 Government College late in the evening.

Rohit of Mansa Devi Complex was, meanwhile, admitted to the Institute after the scooter he was riding skidded in front of his house. Sources added that 22-year-old Rohit was returning home when the accident occurred.

Fakir Chand of Burail village sustained injuries after being hit by a buffalo. Sources added that 65-year-old victim was walking when he was attacked.

Bhulla Singh of Saharanpur was admitted to the hospital after the scooter he was riding skidded. He is stated to be 65 years old. A senior police officer, when contacted, said further investigations into the accidents were on.

Cars stolen
Four cars were stolen from different parts of the city during the past 24 hours. Ms Dimple Bakhshi of Mani Majra, in a complaint to the police, alleged that her Maruti car was picked up while it was parked in Sector 26.

In the other complaint, Mr R.K. Aggarwal of Sector 15 alleged that his Maruti car was stolen while it was parked in front of his residence. Mr Karam Chand of Sector 45 said his Maruti car, also parked at his residence, was stolen at night.

Another complaint alleging the theft of Maruti car was lodged by Mr D.V. Gupta of Sector 20. He alleged that the car was stolen while it was parked in front of a bank in Sector 35.

Theft attempt
In a complaint to the police, a Mani Majra resident, Mr Ravi Shankar, alleged that an attempt to break the lock of his shop to commit theft was made by someone. Taking up his complaint, the police has registered a case under Section 457 of the IPC.

Liquor seized
At least 100 pouches of liquor were reportedly seized after two persons were arrested under the Excise Act. According to sources, the two have been identified as Ram Khilawan of Panchkula and Thakur Dass of Sector 37.


Lawyer surrenders
A lawyer, Satish Katyan, booked for allegedly assaulting a senior advocate, surrendered before the police today. He was later granted bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr VP Gupta.

Truck thief held
The police arrested Jang Bahadur for stealing a truck from Sarswati Vihar colony in Mansa Devi Complex. He was nabbed by a team led by ASI Jagat Ram from Delhi.

IA’s promotional fares extended
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 — The management of the Indian Airlines has decided to extend promotional fares from Chandigarh to various destinations in the country till April 30 this year.

According to Mr Rajinder Kumar, Station Manager of the airlines here, the promotional one-way fare from Chandigarh to New Delhi and vice versa would continue to be Rs 900 while the return fare on the Chandigarh-Delhi sector would continue to be Rs 1700, which is Rs 40 less than the return fare in the executive class of Shatabdi Express for Chandigarh-Delhi sector.

Similarly, the one-way fare of the Chandigarh-Delhi-Mumbai sector will continue to be Rs 5410 while for air fare to Kolkata from Chandigarh will be Rs 6230. Travelling from Chandigarh to Guwahati by Indian Airlines will cost Rs 6720.Back

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