Monday, February 26, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


District Courts sans fire-safety equipment
By Kiran Deep

CHANDIGARH, Feb 25 — In case of a major fire the District Courts Complex in Sector 17, may become a virtual “death trap” on account of inadequate fire safety measures. There is no fire extinguisher, sand buckets or water hydrant system or any other fire fighting gadget inside the court rooms and in the retiring room of the judicial officers and in the corridors outside the court rooms.

At present there are 19 courts in two buildings and hundreds of chambers, the judicial officers, lawyers, about 300 employees and hundreds of litigants regularly visit the court.

Despite the fact that many Public Interest Litigations had been filed in the courts to strengthen the fire services in the Union Territory and directions were reportedly issued to the Municipal Corporation officials to ensure the safety of the building. But till now no fire equipment has been installed in the courts to ensure the safety of the people.

It may be recalled that a devastating fire broke out in the record room of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1999 and a large number of valuable documents had been destroyed. But the authorities seem to have failed to learn a lesson as thousands of documents and record files in the record rooms in the District Courts are lying either in the wooden cardboard or in open and no step has been taken to ensure their safety.

However, a number of lawyers said fire security equipment was required for the safety of the public. They complained that there was no water tank in the whole of the courts complex.

There are only two entrance and exit gate in each building and there was very little space to move around in the stairs. These were so congested that only one person can afford to move through at a time. In case of fire it will not be possible for a large number of people to leave the building. The lives of the undertrials are also not safe as the make-shift jail in the basement was not having any fire-fighting equipment.

Mr Arunjeev Singh Walia, General Secretary of the Lawyers for the Social Reform, said lives of hundreds of people were always on stake as there was no provision of any fire fighting equipment in the courts. He informed that he had moved in PIL in this regard and it was disposed of with the direction to Chandigarh Administration to provide fire safety equipments.


S. P. Dhawan not to be arrested
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 25 — Directing the authorities against arresting former Controller of Examinations-cum-Registrar of Panjab University S.P. Dhawan in a criminal intimidation case, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, yesterday clarified that the stay order earlier granted by the court “would not hinder the authorities in conducting an investigation into the matter”.

Dhawan was earlier booked by the Chandigarh Police on the directions of UT’s former Civil Judge (Junior Division), Mr Jasbir Singh, for allegedly causing hurt and other offences under Sections 186, 189, 352, 323 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

The directions to register the case and investigate the matter were issued to the Station House Officer of the Sector 11 Police Station on April 25 last year, after a bailiff alleged that attachment of Panjab University’s property ordered by the court could not take place due to resistance by the petitioner.

Claiming to have been implicated in the case, Dhawan, on the other hand, stated that one Satinder Parkash Srivastava, who had obtained decree against the University, had used derogatory language after entering his office along with the bailiff on January 7, 1997.

Seeking the quashing of the first information report registered against him, Dhawan also sought directions for quashing the Civil Judge’s orders directing the registration of the case.

Admitting his petition, Mr Justice Nijjar observed, “Further proceedings in this case have been stayed by order dated August 25, 2000. Counsel for UT states that they should at least be permitted to investigate the matter so that the necessary report can be kept ready to be presented in the court”.

Mr Justice Nijjar added, “It is clarified that the stay order granted would not hinder the authorities in conducting the investigations into the matter for assisting the court during the final hearing. It is also made clear that the petitioner will not be arrested”. The case will now come up for final hearing on April 26. 


City feels tremors
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 25 — An earthquake jolted the city and its surrounding areas at 7.55 a.m. today. The earthquake that had its epicenter in Hindukush in Afghanistan, measured 6.5 on the richter scale. Residents rushed out of their houses in fear.

However, the tremors did not last long. Today being Sunday, most persons were still in bed when the earth shook.


Jassi blooms in Rose Festival
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 25 — The city could not have gone more wild than it did tonight. Boisterous beats, mesmerizing songs, and great performance — the evening at Leisure Valley today offered a perfect recipe for absolute excitement. The much-awaited live performance by Jasbir Jassi, got better and stronger with each passing moment, finally bringing the zing back to the Festival of Gardens which met its conclusion today.

Another interesting point which stood out was that all the important UT Administration officials, who were conspicuous by their absence on the two previous shows by Sonali and Roopkumar Rathod, Chanchal Bharti and Sarfraz Chisti, were present today. The UT Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, and the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, also joined the crowd in cheering the singer.

More important than the listing of various songs which Jasbir Jassi sang for the smitten crowd, is the mention of the mass support which Jassi drew. The entire Valley was resounding with voices of sheer, thanks to the energetic performance by Jasbir who began with the Gurbani and went on to offer a power-packed sequence which was dotted with a great medley of songs — both Punjabi and Hindi.

The best part of Jassi's performance was his humility. He often descended from the stage to join the revelers, and he also kept encouraging the fleet of children which gave him constant dance support in the beginning of the show. Not just that, he kept insisting that the cameraman threw lights on the cheering crowd.

So as the performance progressed, more and more fun kept getting injected into the ambience. Jassi sang everything from Kudi kudi too Mirza; from Dil le gayi to Gale se laga lo bas keh do huzoor haan.

The singer proved to be quite a bundle of energy on stage. He sang a number of folk songs, especially his latest hit — Aa le gale vich paa le nishani yaar di. He also presented many legendary Hindi film hits like Kajra mohabbat wala, Uden jab jab zulfen teri and reshmi salwaar kurta jaali da.

For well over about two hours, Jassi gave a non-stop performance. Interestingly, the crowd was not prepared to let him go even at about 9.40p.m. As for the UT police, it did have a hard time containing the enthused spirit.


SD College wins Rose Quiz
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 25 — On-the-spot painting and the Rose Quiz competitions were the highlights of the concluding day of the three-day Festival of Gardens which concluded here today.

Today being Sunday, thousands of people, attired in colourful dresses, thronged the festival. In the morning on-the-spot painting contest was a big draw as 737 entries were received for the contest in five different categories. The UT Chief Architect, Mr Sarabjit Singh Sandhu, was the chief guest. At the Government Museum and Art Gallery, where the Rose Quiz was held, the PU Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, was the chief guest.

The Adviser to UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, distributed prizes to the winners of different contests. In case of band competition, the performance of all brass and pipe bands was considered superb and all were given trophies and certificates.

Meanwhile, Labour Chowk on the Chandigarh-Ambala road, which is being maintained by Milkfed, has been adjudged the second best during the festival. The following are today’s results:

On-the-spot competition — Category A(3 to 6 years): Arshita Sharma 1, Aarzoo Ahuja 2 and Daya Sini Das 3; Category B(6 to 9 years): Soumyadeep Das 1,Rahul Aggarwal 2 and Parmod 3; Category C(9 to 12 years): Srishty Chadha 1, Karishma Mishra 2 and Prabhnoor Kaur 3; Categroy D(12 to 15 years): Ram Shankar 1, Ankita 2 and Nitiz Gupta 3; and Category E(15 to 18 years): Simranjeet Singh 1,Sonia Sahni 2 and Neena Majumdar 3.

Rose Quiz — School category: Richa Sethi and Divya Goswami, (Government Girls Senior Secondary School) 1; and Asheem Bindal and P Sunita (Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 22) and Nabinder Kaur and Jyoti(Government Model Senior Secondary School,Sector 46) 2. College category: Ipinder Kaur and Sikha Bansal, GGDSD College, Sector 32, 1 and Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, 2.


Indian Airlines to revise tariff soon
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

More than 46 per cent increase in fuel prices since February last year, the increased landing and navigation rates and the variation in dollar prices have put an additional burden of Rs 360 crore on the management of Indian Airlines which has no choice but to revise its tariff soon.

Informed sources in the airline reveal that during the current financial year, the additional burden on account of the increased cost of fuel alone would be Rs 262 crore. Landing and navigation charges had gone up by nearly Rs 50 crore this year as compared to last year and the variation in dollar prices accounted for another loss of Rs 50 crore this year.

To offset these additional financial liabilities, the management had proposed to revise the tariff last year but an unfortunate disaster at Patna led to nosediving in the business of Indian Airlines. Now when the airline had re-established its credibility somewhat and improved its passenger ratio, it contemplatted revising its tariff.

Until January 31 this year, the total loss of Indian Airlines for the current financial year stood at Rs 137 crore.

CHANDIGARH, Feb 25 — Indian Airlines is all set to double the frequency of its services between New Delhi and Chandigarh to four besides linking the city with Jammu with a twice-a-week service. These additional services are reflected in the ensuing summer schedule of the airline which has already been approved and will be effective from April.

In a chat with The Tribune here last evening, Mr V.P. Arora, Regional Director; Mr Naresh Chand, General Manager (Operations); and Mr Vijay Kumar , General Manager (Finance) of the airline maintained that the commitment made by the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the airline to double the frequency of services to the Union Capital would be fully honoured.

“The delay,” they said,” was on account of the non-arrival of five aircraft which the airline hoped to acquire by November last year. Two of the aircraft were already in Singapore for their mandatory biannual technical inspection. Though they were ready, “we expect to induct them into our fleet on April 1.”

One of the reasons given for the delay in the acquisition of the leased aircraft, including Boeing and Airbus, was that the company given the contract, though a top-ranking finance company, was new to leasing business.

Though the management of Indian Airlines was keen to use the aircraft during the peak season, which was between December and February, unavoidable problems and procedural methods had delayed the acquisition.

During the summer months, there would be no shortage of aircraft for the airline. Besides doubling the frequency of the New Delhi-Chandigarh services to four, the airline proposed to link Chandigarh with Jammu also. Other connections, including with Mumbai from Chandigarh, were under consideration.

The approved schedule said that the new services will operate on the New Delhi-Chandigarh-Jammu-New Delhi sector twice a week in addition to the existing twice-a-week flight on the route.

Once the new aircraft became available, some additional services to Jabalpur and the delinking of Raipur from Nagpur are also expected.

On the international front, the proposal to increase services to Bangkok from thrice a week to daily is almost through. The airline also proposes to spread its wings to Hong Kong, a new international destination, which is also expected to get clearance from the Minister of Civil Aviation.

Mr Arora said that after Gujarat was ravaged by a massive quake on Republic Day, Indian Airlines airlifted 600 tonnes of relief material free of cost besides operating 48 additional flights. An additional flight to Ahmedabad was announced immediately after the quake, Mr Arora said.

In Bhuj, it was not only the office of the airline but also the four-storeyed residential building for its employees that escaped the fury of the quake. Some staff members of a private airline died in the quake.

The airline officials hoped that the process of disinvestment would be completed by June-end.

Talking about the services, Mr Arora said that the airline had gone in for a complete change of interior of its Boeing aircraft. The new interior had been designed by the National Institute of Fashion Technology. Other changes had also been made in the on-board service. Even the uniform of the cabin crew had been modified.

After October last year, there had been days when the airline carried more than 28,000 passengers a day. Otherwise, it had reached 70 per cent of its passenger capacity now. During the fog months, he said, the management took special pains to keep its passengers informed about the exact flight position by activating not only the interactive voice response system but also mobilink lines and 1-400 telephone lines.


Telecom link snaps again
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 25 — The city’s telecommunication system broke down once again today. This time, the digital exchange (DTAX) that routes all STD and ISD calls had developed a snag, snapping city’s link with the other parts of the country and the world.

The snag that occurred at about 5 p.m. was rectified at about 7. 30 p.m. Due to the fault, the business of the STD PCO owners here suffered, while subscribers, on dialling outstation numbers, heard only the recorded message that said the route was busy.

Contacting persons in Panchkula and SAS Nagar on telephone was also a problem till the link was restored. Mobile telephone users also could not connect to outstation numbers. All stations that have recently been included in the local-call radius, were also inaccessible.

Sources said, after the introduction of the new local-call radius in the Punjab Telecom Circle, the DTAX had been overloaded. Top officials of the local BSNL office had held a meeting about two weeks ago, where it had been decided to increase the numbers of lines between each station and the city, as the call traffic had increased.

Past week, the telephone link between Chandigarh and Shimla had snapped. Telecom links between Chandigarh and its adjoining towns have often been down in the past month. Within the city underground cables have been damaged during road-widening and the other public works.


Left to brave winter of neglect
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 25 — For the 20-odd inmates of the Sector 15 Old Age Home, an hour of cultural show had no significance. Pain had returned to their eyes even before artistes of the Swami Ram Tiratha Memorial Society wound up the 45-minute cultural show that had been organised on the premises of the home. This, however, does not disprove that the day brought happiness for them, though only for a while. One of them said, “Life is otherwise a long winter of neglect.”

While the inmates watched artistes of the Sector 24 Ram Tirath Cultural Centre perform, one could see a fear on their faces — the fear that they would be left alone again after a while. The show began with a dance sequence by the Supervisor of the centre, P. Punita. This was followed by a ghazal by the music instructor of the institute, Satwant Kaur. The ghazal she presented was Ye Haqiqat Hai Ki Hota Hai Asar Baton Mein, Tum Bhi Khul Jaoge Do Chaar Mulakaton Mein, originally sung by Jagjit Singh. The performance left many eyes moist.

When the programme concluded, organisers of the show distributed towels and fruits among the inmates. When the show got over, the ambience was filled with silence.

Lajwanti Pal, an inmate, was sitting sadly in a corner, perhaps recalling her past. She said, “I still can’t accept that my own flesh and blood abandoned me.” The story of every other inmate there was similar. Call it ugly “urban sophistication” or simply dehumanisation, the truth is that elders are now considered family burdens and unwelcome obligations.

Tears rolled down the cheeks of Dhani Ram Chowdhry as he said, “I still remember the days when I a successful the journalist on The Patriot. Today, I am standing in a queue to receive towels. I wish that no one pass through this phase of life.” The fast declining moral obligation of children is forcing such senior citizens into fatal depression.

A social psychologist said, “Ageing in itself is painful, as it causes immunological degradation and senescence. If there is no support system in this age, depression sets in. Every inmate of any old-age home must be suffering from depression because their egos are shattered.”

Veeran Bai, the oldest inmate of the Sector 15 home, said, “With age, defence mechanism and capacity to withstand stress decline. Thanks to our children, we are all a disheartened lot.” A social psychologist said, “After constant loneliness, elders start fearing company because they cannot bear to be left alone afterwards.” An inmate of the Sector 15 home said, “The more concern people show, the more vulnerable we feel. Everything here is a farce.”

For these inmates, life is a long winter of neglect. It is for us to turn this winter into a summer of renewal. We have grown up holding the hands of our elders, so, we can at least be with them when they need us in their old age.


Draw for plots soon
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 25 — A draw for 1,100 residential plots in Sectors 27 and 28 will be held next fortnight, according to the latest scheme of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). Meanwhile, 125 commercial sites in various sectors of the city will go under the hammer on February 28.

Also, HUDA has invited applications for housing societies to be spread in 70 acre of land in the sectors. The new schemes are likely to lead to a fall in property prices .

Applications have been invited for the draw of plots for Panchkula extension of Sectors 27 and 28, where the making of the site plan is in its last phase. Besides, the exercise to determine the costs of the plots is also at the government level.

The decision to conduct the draw comes from the tremendous response received by HUDA for the draw of 47 residential plots in Sector 15. Over 10,000 applications were received for the same and nearly Rs 100 crore was collected. In view of the interest it generated and the response to HUDA’s auction of commercial sites in sectors, the scheme was forwarded to the government for approval.

In addition, HUDA has floated a scheme for housing societies in the city with 14 to 70 of them to be constructed, depending on the response it elicits from the public. One society can come up in as little as one acre and can be spread over a maximum of five acre of land, according to norms.

Accordingly, if 40 societies come up in the area, each getting a go-ahead for construction of 60 units, it would mean the availability of 2,400 houses. Officials of HUDA are hopeful that under the group housing scheme of 2001, they would be able to net Rs 70 crore to Rs 100 crore.

Besides Panchkula, applications have also been invited for group housing schemes in 35 to 63 acre of land in Gurgaon and Faridabad, 51 acre of land each in Sonepat, Panipat, Rewari, Karnal, Rohtak and Yamunanagar. The auction of commercial sites on February 28 includes that of shops in Sectors 8, 9, 20 and 25, most of these being three-storey SCOs with basements.


Residents want some clean-up
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 25 — The Sector 33 Welfare Committee in a meeting held recently emphasised the need to improve environment and security of the sector so as to make it a model sector.

Major-Gen ( retd) Gurdial Singh, councillor, in a letter written to the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, has highlighted various problems of the sector. It was pointed out that the cleanliness of the sector was far from satisfactory and the area around the garbage bins remained filthy. As wheelbarrows were not available, so the sweepers could not carry the garbage to the bins. Another suggestion was to fine defaulters.

Mentioning about the menace of the stray cattle, they said the sector seemed to have become a part of Burail village. These animals have caused many accidents in the area. It was suggested that a security wall be built around the sector and a cattle trap be made on V5 road leading to the sector from Burail village. Further it was suggested that private contractors should be engaged to catch stray cattle.

Lack of security was also highlighted in view of the migrants coming from railway station, bus stand and labour chowk and passing through the sector. Thefts in the school have also gone up.

The residents also complained that water-meter readers did not come to check readings and flat rates were charged though their meters were fully functional. They urged the Chief Engineer to look into the issue.

They have also sought that all the wayside shops should be removed immediately as these places often become convenient spots for antisocial elements to watch and select the house for theft and robbery.

Among those who attended the meeting was Mr B.K Sharma, a representative of the MOH staff who assured to take up the sanitation problems of the sector. However, the representative of the police was present. A copy of the letter has also been sent to the Adviser to the Administrator, Mrs Neeru Nanda, and the Inspector General of Police, UT.


Misfire injures 8-year-old girl
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Feb 25 — Ms Manjinder Kaur, an 8-years-old was seriously injured when she was fired at by a barati in a marriage party in nearby Popna village near here today.

According to an FIR lodged with the Kharar police by Mr Paramjit Singh, a resident of Popna village, the marriage of Ms Ranjit Kaur daughter of Mr Nachattar Singh had been fixed for today and the marriage party arrived from Kansala village. At about 11 a.m. when the ribbon cutting ceremony was on, a member of the marriage party fired in the air with his 12 bore double-barrel gun. He was stopped from doing this as it could have injured someone, but Manjinder Kaur, a class II student was shot, she was immediately taken to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The accused ran away from the scene along with his gun. The local police has registered a case under Section 307 IPC and under the Arms Act against Achar Singh of Kansala village and has started investigations.


Rally by oppn councillors
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 25 — As part of their agenda to oppose the hike in water and sewer rates, the municipal councillors of the opposition group and representatives of some religious bodies staged a rally in a public park in Phase XI here today. The participants raised slogans against the ruling group in the civic body.

Mr SS Patwari, leader of the opposition group in the civic body, 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 stated. He said the president had been promising to look in to the issue at the first meeting of the civic body held in December last but nothing had happened.


Shop gutted
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 25 — A fire which broke out in a television and video repair shop in the Sector 37-C market this night caused a loss of thousands of rupees with a number of televisions and other electronic goods being destroyed.

It is learnt that the fire broke out at around 9:30 p.m. in B.K. Electronics. A fire tender was called from the Sector 38 Fire Station and the fire could be extinguished only after half an hour. Mr Rohit Sood, President of the Sector 37 Market Association, said that the fire was caused due to a short circuit.


Youth held for trying to molest minor
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 25 — A youth has been arrested by the police for attempting to outrage the modesty of a minor girl. A case has been registered against the accused, Raj Kumar, under Sections 354, 363 and 366 of the IPC.

The accused had kidnapped the six-year-old girl from near her mother’s hut in Janta Colony. The girl stays with her father in a servant’s quarter in Sector 24 here, but was visiting her mother in Janta Colony.

The accused was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when he visited his sister in the colony. He allegedly lured the child and took her to a remote spot near the Sector 25 Narvodaya Vidyalaya in a rickshaw. When he tried to molest the girl, she got scared and shouted for help.

The watchman of the school heard her cries and came to her rescue. He, then, took Raj Kumar to the police and the accused has now been sent to a 14-day judicial remand.

Fake cheque
A case has been registered against an Ahmedgarh-based businessman, Devinderjit Singh, for giving a city resident a fake cheque of the Central Bank of India, Ludhiana, for Rs 5.13 lakh. A case under Section 420 of the IPC on the complaint of a person named Mr Pradeep Sethiya has been registered at the Industrial Area police station.

Burglary cases
Two cases of burglary have been reported in the past 24 hours. Mr Anup Kumar, a Sector 55 resident, has alleged that someone broke into his house and decamped with gold ornaments and Rs 1,000 cash.

In the second such incident, burglars broke into the Sector 29-A house of Mr Bhupinder Singh and decamped with gold ornaments and Rs 4,000 cash. Both cases have been registered under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC.

Briefcase stolen
A briefcase containing Rs 40,000 cash and some documents was reportedly stolen from the car of a person named Mr Naresh Goswami. The car was parked in front of a house in Sector 22 yesterday when the incident happened. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.

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