Wednesday, February 14, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Revised budget passed with Rs 146.58 crore outlay
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — The Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh passed the Rs 146.58 crore budget for the year 2001-02 today. The committee had met under the charge of the Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal. The budget was passed amid protests by a BJP councillor, Ms Ranjana Shahi. The budget earmarks Rs 105.72 crore for the non-plan expenditure and Rs 40.86 crore for the planned expenditure.

Besides this, there were also discussions on different resources of the MC for generating an additional revenue of Rs 15.25 crore in the revised budget.

Sources said the Mayor, while passing the budget, had forgotten his promises that he would not impose property tax and would rather try to reduce the water tariff. Property tax and water tariff continue to be part of the proposed budget. Rather, the proposed projection receipts from water tariff and sewerage cess have been increased. The proposed receipt from water tariff has been increased from Rs 25 crore to Rs 27 crore, even as the recovery from this past year was Rs 23 crore.

The receipts from sewerage cess have been increased from Rs 2 crore to Rs 3 crore, even as the recovery from this was 1.5 crore past year. Sources said this indicated that the Congress had no intentions of reducing either of these.

It was proposed that Rs 1 crore per year out of the Rs 15.25 crore additional revenue for various development works would come from leasing out four sites for construction of marriage palaces. However, a proposal in this regard is yet to be framed. Rs 25 lakh per year would be raised by imposing advertisement tax passed by the House. However, the Administration is yet to approve the bylaws.

Besides this, disposing of the MC property like booths will yield another Rs 9 crore, though most of the property disputes are still in court. The proposed increase in water tariff and sewerage cess is estimated to yield additional revenues of Rs 2 crore and Rs 1 crore, respectively. The auction of old stock will generate another Rs 2 crore.

Sources said, in the budget passed today, nothing had been earmarked under the head of electricity, which was mainly about the provision and maintenance of streetlights in the city. They said this showed that the MC wanted to keep the city in dark.

Members also earmarked Rs 18.41 lakh for laying storm-water-drainage systems in Transport Area and Phase II of Bapu Dham Colony in Sector 26.

The committee approved of a reserve price of Rs 35,000 per square yard for auctioning 12 SCO sites in Pocket No. 1 of Mani Majra. This reserve price has been reduced from Rs 43,000 per square yard. The reserve price for auctioning each of the 22 sites for booths in motor market of mani majra has been fixed at Rs 6.25 lakh. A reserve price of Rs 7 lakh has been fixed for auctioning three already developed booths in motor market of Mani Majra.

The members have approved of a minimum reserve price of Rs 15,000 per month for five already built booths in Butrela village. However, these would be given to the highest bidder only. The reserve price for 11 SCO sites in Sector 9 is Rs 40,000 per square yard now.

All estimates proposed by the previous Roads Committee have been passed. This includes the Rs 10.14 lakh for recarpeting of roads in Ram Darbar and Karsan rehabilitation colony and Rs 14.36 lakh for recarpeting internal road of the Transport Area.

Meanwhile, the Finance and Contract Committee has recommended to the House that a monthly rent of Rs 1,000 be charged from parties who hire community centres for holding yoga and martial arts classes. Permission has been granted to the Consumers Forum for organising a Consumer Awareness fair in the Sector 22 Nehru Park from March 14 to 18. For setting up every stall there, Rs 2,500 per day would be charged.

The meeting had been adjourned on February 9, following heated discussions on the issue of imposition of property tax. The anticipated receipts from the imposition of this tax is Rs 15 crore. The Mayor, Mr Goyal, had asked the Commissioner to revise the budget. The idea was to save the city residents from the burden of property tax by devising ways of generating an additional revenue of Rs 15 crore.

However, now that the property tax has been included in the budget, the possibility of it being imposed soon cannot be ruled out. The Mayor and the Congress leader, Mr B.B Behl, had been saying that the tax would not be imposed.

MC Budget 2001-02



  • Money for drainage systems in the Transport Area and Bapu Dham
  • Additional revenue from auction of old stock, sale of property
  • Reserve price for auctioning SCO booths down
  • Property tax and water tariff continue to be part of the budget
  • Proposed receipts from water tariff and sewerage cess increased
  • Nothing for maintenance of streetlights



How Punjab, Haryana missed IT revolution
By A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13An American computer giant which was scared by the Punjab militant violence into changing the location of its proposed IT unit from Chandigarh to Bangalore nearly 16 years ago may have led to the whole of Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh to miss the first phase of the IT revolution now sweeping the South.

Texas Instruments, an American computer hardware multinational, which was scouting for a suitable location for setting up IT manufacturing facilities in 1984 somewhere in the North visited Chandigarh as well. It was reportedly impressed by the planned city, its excellent infrastructure and the generally clean environment and worldclass ambience.

But Punjab terrorism was then at its height. An unremitting wave of militant violence, Operation Bluestar, the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi and the subsequent anti-Sikh riots all took place in 1984. All this was enough for the American company to opt out of Chandigarh and settle for Bangalore for setting up its unit. The relatively mild climate of Bangalore was an additional factor which persuaded the Americans to set up base there.

According to officials in the UT Administration familiar with IT scene, Texas Instruments was among the first IT multinationals to set up its unit in Bangalore. Soon other foreign companies too began to set up units there and before long Bangalore emerged as the IT capital of India. Its success story was duplicated by Andhra Pradesh’s computer-savvy Chief Minister, Mr Chandra Babu Naidu, who has successfully turned Hyderabad into another cyber destination in the country. As many as 5,000 IT companies are operating in Hyderabad alone.

The importance of IT has now been recognised in Punjab and Haryana as well. Both the states along with the UT of Chandigarh have come out with their IT policies offering a host of facilities to those willing to invest in the IT sector. The Department of Electronics has been converted into a Ministry for Information Technology in the government of India. The big IT multinational companies too are beginning to look towards North for setting up their IT units.

There has been an explosive growth of IT industries in Gurgaon. Companies like GE Capital, Hugh Software are among a host of units coming up in Gurgaon which enjoy an obviously locational advantage over Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.

But the UT Administration is doing its best to promote Chandigarh as the best IT destination. Several companies have been authorised to lay fibre optic network in the city. These include HFCL, Spectranet, RPG, Bharti Telecom, Hathway and Powergrid.

Punjab too is now trying to put its best foot forward. The Punjab State Electronics Development and Production Corporation in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry and The Indus Entrepreneurs is organising a conference at on Punjab: The Next IT Destination here on Thursday. Mr Kanwal Rekhi, Founder and Past President, The IndUS Entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley, USA, Mr Dewang Mehta, President, NASSCOM, Mr Kailash Joshi, President TiE. Silicon Valley are among those who are expected to address it.


Washington Consensus 'pretext to privatise'
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13The need for introspection on how India can evolve a strategy to redefine the role of the state so that the doctrine of self-reliance and the philosophy behind public ownership are not lost sight of at the altar of globalisation was stressed by Prof S.K. Goyal of the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development on the second day of the three-day international conference on "Beyond the Washington Consensus: convergence and the public domain in contrasting economies: the cases of India and Canada".

Professor Goyal spoke about the consensus that the country had on the need for having a planned economy which, under the dictates of the Washington Consensus, was being systematically dismantled. He also talked about how the role of the state as a stakeholder to bring about development was being attacked with a demand for its withdrawal from economic initiatives.

In the process, Professor Goyal said concepts like self-reliance were being replaced by an increasingly heavy dependence on foreign capital. The Washington Consensus was a pretext to privatise under the specious arguments of non-performance and non-viability of the public sector.

Prof H.K. Manmohan Singh argued how the pre-market regime had increased inequality and social tensions and how it had an adverse impact on unemployment.

Prof R. Nagaraj sought to demolish the notion that the high growth rate brought about by liberalisation policies had not in fact led to a reduction in poverty, as claimed by supporters of the reforms era. In fact, there had been an increase in the incidence of inequality in various dimensions, rural and urban, organised and unorganised workers and managements.

The next session dealt with the questions relating to market intrusiveness governance, civil society, state and economy with papers presented by Prof Daniel Drache, Prof Harry Arthurs and Prof Kuldip Mathur, who argued how good governance and democratisation led to an enabling role for the civil society as an aftermath of the withdrawal of the state from market economies.

In the last session there was an attempt to understand the public sphere as understood in Canada, India and other countries with a paper by Prof David Cameron, which argued for an increasing role of the public in the decision-making process and leaving the economy to the initiative of the free market forces.

In their paper on human security, Prof Arbinda Acharya and Prof Amitav Acharya sought to link the increasing awareness for human security with the developing campaign against pro-globalisation policies which had thrown the security of the people at the mercy of market dynamics, decreasing the threshold for survival. It was argued that since state capacity had an inverse relationship with the promotion of human security agendas, the discussions for increasing or decreasing the role of the state needed to be carefully calibrated.

Dr G.S. Bhalla, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, chaired the first session while the next session was moderated by Dr Marcia Rioux of York University, Toronto.


Rose thieves bloom on Valentine’s Day
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — This might sound strange, but roses are not always synonymous with a good time — ask employees of the Horticulture Department who are guarding Rose Garden from flower thieves who strike on Valentine’s Day. Enthusiastic students, for the past five years, have been thronging the garden on Valentine’s Day to pluck roses for their girlfriends.

The menace has grown to such an extent that, for the past three years, the Horticulture Department has been regularly asking for police security in the garden on this day. This year the need of police security there is greater, as the Festival of Gardens is to be held in a week’s time from now.

Fearing that students, especially those of colleges near the garden, might create problems tomorrow, the Executive Engineer of the Horticulture Department, Mr Dilbagh Singh, today wrote to the SHO of the Sector 17 police station, asking him to deploy his men in the garden.

According to reports, about 15 police personnel, including some havaldars and constables, will be on duty in the garden tomorrow to prevent any damage to flowers. The Supervisor of the Rose Garden, Mr Gurdev Singh, said, “College boys come here in groups of seven to 10. They not only pluck flowers and destroy flower beds, but also indulge in eve-teasing.” Recalling one such incident that had occurred in 1999, he said the garden authorities had faced a lot of embarrassment then due to eve-teasing by boys in the garden. “We had a tough time scaring off those students. Such incidents are common here now, particularly on Valentine’s Day.

The reason for this mad rush to steal flowers is perhaps that prices of rose buds shoot up on Valentine’s Day. On this day, one bud sells for a good Rs 10. For most boys, it is an easier option to just get into the garden and pluck some fresh flowers.

Uday Singh, member of the Rose Garden staff and eyewitness to many such incidents in the past, said, “This problem has aggravated in the past five years. Boys who pluck flowers come in groups, which makes it difficult for us to handle them. Past year also, we had chased off about 20 such boys. Boys attack the garden mostly in the morning on February 14, as this is the time when they buy Valentine’s Day gifts.”

The Rose Garden staff will also be there tomorrow to guard flowers. The Section Officer of the garden said about seven gardeners and two watchmen would be on duty in the garden tomorrow to prevent any nuisance. They will carry canes, for any eventuality.

Music to set the tone on Valentine’s Day
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13The much-awaited day is here, and after all the preparations are through, the only thing which remains to be seen is which place is the best to suit the enthusiastic moods. The city clubs do not seem to have risen to the occasion, with none of them planning any bash tomorrow.

The Chandigarh Club officials are too caught up with elections to think of anything else. The Golf Club also has nothing special on the cards — just a routine service. The Defence Services Officers Institute, Sector 36, the Chandigarh Press Club, Sector 27 and the Lake Club, all follow the same line of inaction.

That leaves the city enthusiasts with just two main choices — either manage their way into Fun City where Shail Oswal, singer of the Kahaan hai tu fame will perform live, or get an entry into any of the discotheques around. In the category of amusement, some good time can be expected at Cascade, the open air restaurant of Hotel Aroma, which opens to fabulous music tomorrow. Other hotels have chosen to abstain in view of the Gujarat tragedy.

Coming to discotheques — Aerizzona has a performance by Delhi-based group Modus Operandi which will organise a theme party ‘Gates of Heaven’. Romantic English music mix by DJ Sanjay will offer the much-needed punch. Party has been planned in two slots — 1 to 6 pm and then 9 pm onwards.

Las Vegas Den in Sector 34 also has a party on a romantic theme. Ambience will be furthered with a decoration which goes with the Valentine spirit. Here also there are two parties (1 to 6 pm and then 9 pm onwards).

Jailhouse Rock also plans a celebration in the same time slots. With DJ Bijan setting the pace, there is sure to be some peaceful music here.

Tornadoes, the disco at Hotel Solitaire in Manimajra, will have a music mix by DJ Christo. There are two parties here also.

Last but not the least in the line is Cloud 9 which will have music by Mickey, Glady and Vicky Bajwa, also owner of the disco. Entry fee is specified: Rs 250 per couple for the day party and Rs 350 per couple for the evening party.


No holiday in any college
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — With no holiday in any college of the city tomorrow, the all-girls and coeducational colleges here have made special arrangements for maintaining order on the campus on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. On the geri route between Sectors 10 and 11, policemen and policewomen deployd in plain clothes. They were on duty there even today. The Principal of the Sector 11 Government College for Girls, Ms Vijaylakshmi, said she would rather have preferred to have a holiday in the college this year, too.

Students will be allowed to enter the coeducational colleges like the Sector 32 SD College and the Sector 46 Government College only by showing the college identity-cards. Ms Mohini Sharma, Principal of the Sector 42 Government College for Girls, said no special arrangement had been made in her college.

Cops ready for V-day
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — Hooliganism on the city roads for the past three years on Valentine’s Day has forced the police to prepare for a hectic day tomorrow.

At a press conference here today, the IG of the Chandigarh police, Mr B.S. Bassi, said the police would taking no chances this time and securitymen in adequate numbers would be deployed in various parts of the city to avoid any untoward incident.

He said the Traffic police had also been asked to keep a check on violators. Valentine’s Day revelers using pressure horns, official cars of parents and overloaded open Jeeps etc would be issued challans and their vehicles would be impounded. Mr Bassi said if anyone was caught indulging in eve-teasing, a case would be registered against him under various Sections of the IPC and the Police Act.

He said there would be adequate security in the university, various colleges and markets, where senior police officials would be ready with their reserve squads for any eventuality. He said even the IG’s reserve squad would be put on alert. It has also been decided to put up special checkpoints at all exit points of the city to check hooligans who come here from outside on Valentine’s Day.


NGO adopts 25 quake-hit villages
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13Lions Gujarat Earthquake Committee has adopted 25 villages in Bachau taluka in Kutch district. The committee, headed by Lion Rohit C. Mehta, Past International President, envisages a rehabilitation programme of building pucca dwellings for 5,000 families with the cooperation of like-minded organisations at a cost of Rs 16.5 crore. Lions Clubs Committee has also taken up relief measures to provide immediate succour to 5,000 families of 25 villages in Bachau taluka by providing kits containing 32 essential items at a cost of Rs 3000 per head totalling Rs 1.5 crore.

Meanwhile, Lions Clubs International Foundation has announced a donation of $ 1.53 million as an emergency relief and Lions Clubs of Japan have pledged $ 1 million aid for earthquake victims.

Lions of District 321 F, comprising about 150 Lions Clubs in Chandigarh and Punjab, have sent 20 truckloads of relief material and rice, wheat flour, pulses to the state.


Ms Cheema is St John’s Principal
By A S Prashar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — In a major break from the past, a non-Christian has been appointed as Principal of St John’s High School, a top Christian educational institution of Chandigarh.

Mrs Pushpinder Cheema, who has been serving in the public school in different capacities for the past more than a decade-and-a-half, will take over as Principal from April 1, 2001, from Brother C.D’Abreu, who has been appointed as Director of Education for all the Christian brothers’ schools in India. Mrs Cheema is the wife of a Punjab IAS officer.

St John’s is run by the congregation of Christian brothers in India which is based in Calcutta. The news of Mrs Cheema’s appointment was conveyed in a letter addressed to the parents of students in the school by Brother S.G. Alvarez, Provincial Leader of the Congregation. “As part of the new policy and thrust of the congregation of Christian brothers to serve the poor and needy in India, they have over the past decade been moving to schools in rural and urban areas to work with children who are underprivileged.”

“This does not mean that the Brothers are withdrawing completely from their traditional institutions. They will continue to be association with these but in reduced numbers, working in collaboration with our ‘lay’ teachers, who are being increasingly involved in the administration of our schools.

“A major objective of the Christian Brothers in India, and in the world today, is to involve and include ‘lay’ men and women in the shared leadership and governance of our schools. This flows out of a Christian Brother Vision of Education today, that places great value and importance on the empowering of ‘our’ lay staff and on our working with them as one team.

“It has, therefore, been decided to introduce a new system of management for the administration of St John’s. Mrs P. Cheema, with several years of administrative and teaching experience, has been appointed as principal and will be assisted by a team in the administration of the school, with effect from the new academic years, beginning April, 2001”.

In a talk with TNS, Brother D’Abreu and Mrs Cheema denied that the move for appointment of a non Christian as Principal of a high-profile public school in Chandigarh could be part of an exercise to blunt anti-Christian propaganda allegedly indulged in by the RSS and certain other organisations in the country.

They also do not agree that the appointment of Mrs Cheema as Principal was a step towards secularisation of the Christian institution. “As a matter of fact, St. John’s has always been secular”, say Brother Abreu and Mrs Cheema. As a matter of fact, only 80 of the 1700 students in the school were Christian. The rest belonged to other communities.

Similarly, 80 per cent of the staff of the school was non-Christian. A person’s faith and religion has never been an issue in the school, which has always functioned along secular lines. Therefore, it will not be correct to say that the Christian educational institutions were being “secularised”.

As regards the appointment of a non-Christian to the top post in the school, this was also not of recent origin. The first appointment took place as early as 1990 in Asansol where a non-Christian was appointed as Principal of the school run by the Congregation of Christian Brothers in India, they assert. In Chandigarh, it would no doubt be a milestone but this would be the seventh Christian Brother school in India whose Principal was not a Christian brother but a ‘lay’ person.

Mrs Cheema said that ever since her appointment as Principal of the school has been announced, she had flooded with calls from wellwishers complimenting her on her achievement. Some of them say that I have broken into a Christian bastion. But I want to tell them that there is no such thing. The school is run along secular lines. “Religion of an individual is hardly an issue here”, she added.


Dharna by municipal councillors
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 13 — Municipal councillors belonging to the opposition group and representatives of some local resident welfare associations sat on a one-day dharna in front of the council office in Phase 7 here today to oppose the hike in the water and sewerage charges.

The participants raised slogans against the ruling group led by the President of the civic body for not rolling back the hike as promised earlier.

The councillors gave 15 days' time to the civic body to roll back the hike, failing which the agitation would be intensified. Mr S.S. Patwari, a councillor, said they were voicing the concern of the residents. "We have won the elections on the basis of people-oriented policies but the hike has angered the residents." He said the President had been promising to look into the issue since the first meeting of the civic body held in December last but nothing had happened.


14 jhuggis gutted
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — Property worth Rs 1.5 lakh, mostly household belongings, were destroyed when 14 jhuggis were gutted in a major fire which broke out in the area near Gursagar Gurdwara, near the Sukhna Lake, this morning.

However, no loss of life was reported. The cause of the fire could not be ascertained.

According to sources in the fire department, four fire engines, one each from the Sectors 11, 17, 32 and the Industrial Area (I) fire stations were rushed to the spot to control the fire. They were able to do so after one and a half hours. 


More women into jobs now
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — If you thought the number working women in the city was high, take a fresh look. The data available with the Census Department says only 10.39 per cent of the city women are working. However, city women do more work than their counterparts in Punjab or Haryana where just 4.40 per cent and 7.36 per cent of the women, respectively, work.

But during the ongoing census operations — being conducted after 10 years — the figure is going to be higher. Since then a large number of women have become doctors, professors, lawyers, engineers, architects, journalists and also joined the information technology field. At the lower end, the number of women labourers has gone up.

Besides all this, the Government of India has included unpaid work done by family members as economic activity as also agricultural labourers, women employed in knitting woolens, sweaters, caps, carpet-weaving, manufacturing of rope, fishing nets, newar, leaf or paper cups and plates, baskets, grain storage bins, wooden toys, lamps, plaster statues. Book binding will also be counted in economic activity. Help rendered by women in ploughing, sowing, harvesting and collecting farm produce is to be introduce.

During the census operations, the residents will face a set of 23 questions and 16 sub-questions. In addition, there will be a question for households engaged in cultivation or plantation.

Part I of this questionnaire contains information on location particulars, like name of the state, district, tehsil, town, village, householf number, type of household. Part II will compromise questions on individual particulars. Part III contains a question on households engaged in cultivation and plantation, disclosed Mr Shamlal Goyal, Director, Census, at a press conference here this evening.

For the first time in the history of census, a provision has been made to obtain signature or thumb impression of the respondent and his relationship to the head. In addition to respondent’s signature, enumerator will collect the details information about the household. Lists will be compiled district wise, state wise and for the country as a whole. Provisional population totals are expected to be released during March 2001 itself.

List of questions contained in part I and III are like name of the person; relationship to had; sex (male/female); age on last birthday (in completed years); current marital status; age of marriage (in completed years); religion (write name of the religion in full); If Scheduled Caste, write name of the Scheduled Caste from the list supplied.

If Scheduled Tribe, the name of the scheduled tribe from the list supplied; mother tongue; other languages known (enter up to two languages; in order of proficiency); literacy status (literate. illiterate); highest educational level attained; (for diploma or degree holder with subject of speclialisation) is to be entered. If the person is attending educational institution, it will be listed. Same will be true for persons who are physically or mentally disabled. Economic activity of main or marginal workers will be listed.

Birth place is also to be listed. To know migration trends, the last place of residence. Reason for migration and duration of stay in the present place since migration (in completed years) is also to be listed. In case of women, fertility will also be listed. This will include currently married, widowed, divorced or separated women. Number of children surviving at parents are to be listed and will include daughters and sons presently not staying in the household.

This is the sixth census operation of independent India and 14th overall.

* The data cannot be used as evidence in any court case or the Income Tax Act, 1961.

* Persons not wishing to disclose their religion can hold back information, and their wish will be accepted.

* It is obligatory for members of the public to allow census staff into their houses and to allow painting of number on the house and to give correct information to the best of his/her knowledge.

* Any violation can invite punishment with fine up to Rs 1000 under Section 11 of the Census Act, 1948.

* The census staff cannot ask offensive or improper question to the people and they cannot disclose particulars to anyone.

* A violation invites punishment up to three years’ imprisonment, besides fine.



No decision on Anandgarh land prices
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — Amidst a boycott call given by the Anandgarh Hatao Sanjhi Sangharsh Committee (AHSSC), the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, held a meeting of the district land price fixation committee to discuss the prices for the land to be acquired for Anandgarh, here yesterday.

Reportedly no decision regarding the land prices could be reached in the meeting. Another meeting has been called on February 15.

Out of the total 23 villages, only seven sarpanches representing eight villages attended the meeting. According to sources in the Anandgarh Development Authority, the government is keen to issue the notice under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, before March 12, 2001.

According to information available, three sarpanches belonging to SC and ST categories, including that of Mullanpur Garibdas, had gone to attend the meeting but after reaching there they decided against attending it.

When asked why they did not attend the meeting, Mr Dewan Singh, sarpanch of Mullanpur said: ‘‘I have no land and I have no moral right to attend any meeting where prices are to be fixed’’. He also questioned the logic of calling only sarpanches when there are other members in the panchayat.

When contacted Mr Jasbir Singh Dhaliwal, general secretary of the AHSSC said, a boycott call was given and thus none of the sarpanches having affiliation with the committee attended the meeting. He claimed the government was discussing prices of the land with sarpanches who do not own land. He claimed those who attended the meeting were not landlords.

Mr Bakshish Singh, sarpanch of Sanimajra, boycotted the meeting. He said: ‘‘When we are not going to sell our lands then what is the logic in attending any such meeting’’. However, officials in the DC office denied that any boycott call was given and were hopeful that in the next meeting all of them will turn up.

When contacted, Mr G.S. Grewal, DC, Ropar, admitted that only seven sarpanches turned up. The DC said: ‘‘I had detailed discussions with the sarpanches and I have called up another meeting on Thursday’’.

When asked why the turn-up at the meeting was so thin, the DC said that he was not aware of the reason. When asked whether the land falling near Chandigarh will be priced more, he said: ‘‘Location aspect is most important while fixing the price for land and, definitely, that will be kept in mind while deciding the prices’’.

When asked to give any tentative prices, the DC said: ‘‘I cannot tell the prices offhand’’, and added, ‘‘let me have the recommendations of the sarpanches’’.

The sarpanches who attended the meeting were Mr Darshan Singh of Bharaunjian and Devinagar, Mr Karnail Singh of Thaska, Mr Ratan Singh of Kansal, Mr Harbhan Singh of Ranimajra, Mr Harnek Singh of Dhodemajra and Mr Sodhi Ram of Bhagat Majra.


Molesters transferred by Local Govt Dept
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 13 — In connection with the case of a clerk and junior assistant of the local civic body allegedly outraging the modesty of a woman colleague in October last, the Local Government Department, Punjab, today ordered the transfer of the accused employees, Bhupinder and Suresh, to the Octroi Wing with immediate effect. The department has asked the civic body to initiate action against the duo under Rule 8 of the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1970.

An official of the council said action against the employees could mean stopping of increment or termination from job. The Deputy Director ( Administration) in a communication to the Executive Officer of the civic body, said enquiry against the two employees had revealed that they had outraged the modesty of the woman colleague, Satinder Kaur, a stenographer-typist.

It may be pertinent to mention that the local police had registered a First Information Report (FIR) under Sections 354, 506 and 34 of the IPC against the two men. The complainant, Ms Satwinder Kaur, had also made a representation to the Principal Secretary, Local Government. An enquiry had been conducted by the Deputy Director (Administration) of the Local Government Department.

The two employees, Bhupinder Singh and Suresh Kumar said that they were being implicated in a false case under some conspiracy. They said a case was already going on in the Human Rights Commission and action at this stage was unwarranted.

The SAS Nagar Municipal Council has failed to constitute a committee for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment, despite the guidelines of the Supreme Court.

In July last year, the heads of various Departments, Deputy Commissioners, and Sub Divisional Magistrates had been asked by the Personnel Department, Punjab, to constitute such a committee. The authorities concerned had been asked to involve representatives of non-government organisations (NGOs) or some other body, familiar with issue of sexual harassment, in order to prevent any possibility of any undue pressure from senior officials.

Not only the committees, but the concerned officials were to provide appropriate work conditions, generate awareness of the rights of female employees and make provisions in conduct rules regarding prohibition of sexual harassment. But the instructions remain on files. 



Unplanned railings drain exchequer
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 13 — It is no more a city of concrete. Instead, it would be accurate to describe this urban conglomerate as a “city of iron railings”, with mindless erection of tonnes of mild-steel railing along road berms and other open spaces. And the contributors to this “indiscriminate” spending of public money are the local civic body and the horticulture wing of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).

Rules to erect the iron structures do exist, but are seldom followed. As no coordination exists between the government-run development agencies, over 1,000 tonnes of mild-steel railing, by rough estimate, has been erected in the town in the past few months. Sources say that the civic body had spent over Rs 2 crore on the railings, weighing around 700 tonne, in green belts and open spaces in residential areas. The contribution of the PUDA’s horticulture wing in erecting the structures is noless. They say that as per an agreement the commercial areas were with the PUDA and the residential areas with the civic body.

What to talk of environmental concerns, officials appear to be oblivious of the practice of using minimum iron structures on road dividers in Chandigarh. Some unique examples of the mindless planning of PUDA can been seen on the central verges dividing Phase 1 and Phase 2, Phase 3B 1 and Phase 7, where a double row of mild-steel railing, erected to plug punctures in the central verge, has become a death trap for road users. In many cases, the railing has been erected right on kerb channels.

Sources say the development agencies in their zeal to spend public money, have in many cases spent money on the same project. A councillor said after the horticulture wing of the PUDA had completed half the work of erecting railings around a park, the civic body started work on the same. A few months ago the Town and Country Planning wing of the PUDA had protested against the unplanned manner in which the railing was being erected in the town. An official in the Town and Country Planning Department said the civic body officials and the PUDA officials hardly consulted them while planning the railing.

As per the norms of traffic engineering and transport planning, the guard railings were meant to guide pedestrians for surface crossing and to prevent them from spilling into the carriageway. The railings should be at least half-a-metre from kerb channels to give enough clearway to passing vehicles. Moreover, the design of the railing should discourage people from climbing over or through it. But at certain points in the town, the railing on the central verges had already been broken for throughfare. Mr S.L. Kaushal, a Senior Architect with the PUDA, said the railing should look aesthetically good. He reasoned that the railing had became necessary to discipline pedestrians.

The President of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh acknowledged the unplanned erection of the railing, but added that he had not allowed any new development work in this regard.


More buses to ply from Sector 43 ISBT
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — In order to ease congestion at the ISBT, Sector 17, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to run more buses from the Sector 43 ISBT from Thursday. More than 400 buses will be running from here between 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A spokesperson of the Administration said today that the new routes will be Chandigarh-Bilaspur-Sarkaghat-Mandi-Kulu-Manali; Chandigarh-Nangal-Talwara-Jwalaji-Kangra-Dharamsala; Baijnath-Una-Hamirpur-Sujanpur Chandigarh-Ropar-Hoshiarpur-Pathankot-Jammu and Chandigarh-Ropar-Nalagarh Chandigarh-Ropar-Nawanshahr-Jalandhar-Patti-Tarn Taran-Batala-Gurdaspur-Amritsar-Matewal-Kapurthala side.

Besides this, additional local bus services will also ply from the ISBT, Sector 43, to different sectors of Chandigarh and the adjoining areas:

Route 13: ISBT, Sector 43 to High Court (20-minute duration).

Route 14: Sector 43 to PGI (30 minutes).

Route 35/20: ISBT, Sector 17, to ISBT Sector 17 via Aroma, Sector 35/36, Attawa, Sector 37/41, 40/41, Badheri, Sector 42/Kajheri, Mohali. Ph VI, Milk Plant Balongi, Kharar, Santemajra, Landran, Lakhnour, Sohana Mohali Ph. VII, ISBT, Sector 43, 44/45, 34/35, Labour Chowk, Sector 22/23 (10 mts).

Route 20/35: Kharar to ISBT, Sector 17 via ISBT, Sector 43 (10 mts).

Route 36-A: PGI to Mohali, Sector 71 via ISBT, Sector 43 (35 mts).

Route 82: PGI to Maloya via ISBT, Sector 43 (one hour).

Route 123: ISBT, Sector 17, to Mohali Ph XI via ISBT, Sector 43 (30 mts).

Route 132: ISBT, Sector 17, to Ram Darbar via ISBT Sector 43 (one hour).

Route 141: Sector 47 to Mansa Devi via ISBT, Sector 43 (30 mts).

Route 19: PGI to Mohali Sector 70 via ISBT, Sector 43 (20 mts).


Monkey menace in Sector 9
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Feb 13 — Old age, it seems has not withered away the mischievousness of this monkey. Though the monkey has lost its teeth and is unable to chew hard things, it has become a menace for residents of Sector 9 here.

The simian, which seems to have performed for some madari in its younger days, still has some tricks up its sleeve. The monkey is seen around the Sector 9 Shiv temple and atop the surrounding houses.

The animal spends most of the daytime at the flower shop of Mr Kali Prasad. Residents complain that the monkey has many a time snatched hand bags and taken away their items and eatables.

Mrs Raj Gupta (80) complains that the monkey has attacked her thrice since February 2. Mrs Gupta is a paralytic patient. She was later advised by a doctor to get herself vaccinated against rabies.

The flower shop owner, Mr Kali Prasad, complains that his business has been adversely affected as customers are scared to come to his shop. He keeps on sitting near the cash box and the customers avoid coming to the shop.

‘‘Some madari has broken the monkey’s teeth and abandoned him in old age so that he may hunt for food itself. The monkey found the temple suitable and started living in this area. Moreover, devotees of Hanuman offer it eatables, making the animal stay permanently near the temple’’, pointed out Mr Ravinder Bhardwaj, a resident of Sector 7.

Residents have given representations to the Haryana Wildlife officials regarding the monkey menace in the sector.


Kangra resident missing
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — Karam Chand, a 60-year-old man, is reportedly missing since February 1 after he went for a morning walk, from here. He had come from Kangra, for treatment at the PGI and was staying at his son-in-law’s residence in Sector 4.

According to the information available, Karam Chand was suffering from ‘‘a mental problem’’ and was undergoing treatment at the Neurology department of the PGI. On that morning, clad in a white kurta and wearing a black shawl, he left the house for a morning walk. According to his son-in-law, Suresh Kumar who is a servant at the residence of a High Court Judge, Karam Chand had Rs 150 in his pocket when he left.

Suresh Kumar claimed that he had searched him in and around the city and towns like Ambala but to no avail. According to Karam Chand’s daughter Ujawala Devi, ‘‘My father can speak only kangri language and was suffering from amnesia’’. Suresh Kumar has ruled out the possibility of his returning back to his native village. However, he claims he had checked up his native village also.

The police was reportedly informed on the day he went missing.


ASI arrested on corruption charge
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — An Assistant Sub Inspector has been arrested by the police on charges of corruption. He was caught red handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 2,8,00 from a businessman in Sector 18-C market last night.

According to the information available, ASI Karnail Singh, the beat officer of the Sector 18-C market, has been booked under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on the complaint of Mr Raman Gupta, proprietor of the K.P. Gas Agency. He has alleged that the accused used to visit his shop and demand money and other favours like gas connections and cylinders.

It is alleged that the accused police officer, a recruit of the 1979 batch of policemen, had been frequenting the offices of K.P. Gas Agency in the Sector 18 market for the past one week and demanding the money. “It was then that Mr Gupta called up the CBI office and sought their help last afternoon. He also asked the accused to come at around 7 p.m. in order to collect the money,” informed Mr B.D. Garg, president of the Chandigarh Shopkeeper’s Market Association, Sector 18-C, while addressing a press conference here today.

A number of shopkeepers of the market, who were present during the press conference, also alleged that the accused was in the habit of “extorting money and other goods” from the shopkeepers of the area and would allegedly say that he had been sent by his seniors on the “collection spree”.

The shopkeepers demanded that the Station House Officer of the Sector 19 Police Station, Mr B.S. Chaddha, be transferred. They threatened to resort to agitation in case the SHO was not transferred within the next two days.

Meanwhile, the UT IG, Mr B.S.Bassi, when contacted denied that there was lawlessness in the area or that the senior police officers were in collusion with the accused.


Four cases of theft, robbery in city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 — Of the four cases of theft and robbery reported during the past 24 hours, a Maruti car, bearing registration number PB-58A-2995, was reportedly stolen from the residence of the owner, Navneet Singh, in Sector 34-D on the intervening night of February 11 and 12.

In another case in Sector 21-C, Mr Lehmar Singh alleged that his servant, Raju, decamped with Rs 14,000 from his shop during the intervening night of February 11 and 12. In a similar case in Sector- 38, gold ornaments, a walkman and Rs 2,000 in cash have allegedly been stolen from the residence of Mr Mohinder Singh. A case under Sections 380 and 454 of the IPC has been registered at Sector 34 police station.

Ms Kamla Devi, a resident of Indra Colony in Mani Majra has also alleged the theft of gold and silver ornaments from her house on the intervening night of February 12 and 13. A case under Section 380 has been registered.

A pick-pocket, Dinesh, has been arrested from the ISBT in Sector 17 and a purse containing Rs 120 recovered from him.

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