Wednesday, February 28, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC budget thwarted in House
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — A determined BJP-SAD opposition, which commands a clear majority in the 29-member Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh today thwarted a bid by the ruling Congress to push through the annual budget estimates for the year 2001-2002 at a stormy meeting of the House held here today.

The Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, had also to withdraw a move to impose property tax from the budget, following stiff opposition from the BJP, which also received unexpected support from two Congress councillors on the issue. The passage of the budget was stalled by objections from different sections of the House including the BJP, SAD and nominated councillors who wanted the budget to be recast and presented again tomorrow with more allocation for developmental works in the city and less for government expenditure. The meeting was subsequently adjourned by the Mayor for getting the revised budget passed tomorrow.

It is for the first time that the Mayor could not get the budget passed in the House because of strong objections raised by a majority of the members on the inclusion of property tax in the proposed budget passed, even though the same was not to be imposed, a reduction of Rs 17 crore under the planned head of expenditure meant for development works in the city and the discrepancy in the figures presented by the Mayor in his speech and the ones mentioned in the budget copy.

Members, including nominated councillors, criticised the Mayor for allocating lesser funds under the planned head for developmental works and more under the non-plan head for government expenditure, especially in the last year of the MC. BJP councillor, Mr O.P. Goyal said that the proposed budget outlay for developmental works has been reduced from approximately Rs 57 crore last year to approximately Rs 40 crore this year and due to the resource crunch development work would suffer. At the same time, the proposed budget outlay under non- planned head has been increased from approximately Rs 100 crore last year to Rs 105 crore this year, despite the Mayor claiming in his speech that government expenditure would be reduced.

The Mayor was in a tight spot all through the meeting he had simply overlooked similar objections.

Members also asked the Mayor to explain what he proposed to do with the Rs 25 crore surplus. It was pointed out that the outlay proposes receipts worth Rs 171.99 crore, while the expenditure shown was Rs 146.58 crore. BJP councillors alleged that the figures presented in the budget were notional and not realistic. They further said that why the surplus amount has not been allocated under various heads.

The councillors also opposed the additional sources of revenue worth Rs 15.25 crore proposed by the Mayor to compensate for the property tax, for they were simply projected sources and could not be regarded as concrete sources of income for the civic body e.g., advertisement tax has not been implemented, but the receipts from the same have also been added.

Air Marshal R.S Bedi ( retd) reiterated that if property tax is not to be imposed that anticipated receipts of Rs 15 crore in the budget be deleted. BJP councillors further pointed out that the Mayor has also gone back on his promise of reducing water tariff and sewerage cess.

The proposed anticipated receipts from water tariff in the budget are Rs 27 crore even as the recovery from the same last year was approximately 23 crore. Similarly, the receipts from sewerage cess has been increased to Rs 3 crore, even as the recovery from the same last year was Rs 1.5 crore. These are mere indications of the increase in these tariffs, pointed out Mr R.L. Arora. Former Mayor, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, also opposed the exaggerated figures of Rs 34 crore as state receipts from property’s income, even as this figure was Rs 10 crore last year.

Nominated councillors, Mr R.K. Aggarwal and Maj Gen (Retd) Gurdial Singh, Mrs Surya Pandit also sought an increase in the allocation of funds for roads, electricity and horticulture for development of green belts and opposed reduction under planned head., Mr Gupta said that the budgetary allocation of Rs 6.5 crore under this head would not allow the Corporation to keep its promise of recarpeting V6 roads 100 per cent, let alone the V-4 and V-5 roads.

The BJP also raised objections on the budget, allocating more funds for the development of Mani Majra, which happens to be part of the Mayor’s ward. Councillors, Mr Rajinder Kumar and Mrs Kamala Sharma said that there was no separate provision for the development of colonies and four villages of MC in the budget.

The creation of more posts in various wings was also opposed for increases the government expenditure. Mrs Saudamini Bambah also said that rather than recruiting more people, more work should be taken from the existing workers. However, she favoured some taxes which generate more revenue for developmental works.

The leader of the Opposition, Mr Des Raj Tandon, said that the BJP was ready to co-operate to pass the budget, but the same has to be realistic with more funds allocated for development of the city.


Panel to appoint CE today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — The Department Promotion Committee (DPC) will meet here tomorrow to appoint a Chief Engineer of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), a few days before the new Chairman joins the board.

Sources said the agenda for the DPC meeting had been circulated among members of the panel late in the evening today. The DPC panel include the Joint Secretary Finance (JSF), the Chief Engineer and the Chief Architect. Officials have questioned the idea of appointing a full time Chief Engineer as with the board has no major projects ahead. The present incumbent, Mr S.K. Jain, is an Acting Chief Engineer.

The agenda for the meeting will include aspects of Mr Jain’s tenure as Executive Engineer and Superintending Engineer.


Repeated births as bad as abortions: IPPF chief
Geetanjali Gayatri

Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — “No woman wants to undergo an abortion but desperation drives her to commit such an act. While abortions are terrible, repeated births are equally bad for the health of women and we are doing our bit to eliminating their pain,’’ Ms Angela Gomez, President of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), said here today.

Stressing on literacy and spread of education, Ms Gomez said if a woman wanted to undergo abortion, no law or religion of any country could prevent her from doing so. “We are, however, emphasising on reproductive child health programmes,’’ she informed.

With a view to legalising abortion, Ms Gomez said the IPPF was advocating the Pregnancy Protection Bill, an euphemism of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy. To be passed by the Nepalese government where, she alleged, abortion was illegal and women were in the pits, the organisation was building up pressure for its implementation.

“It is alarming that in this age and stage, the woman undergoing an abortion is put behind bars. The doctor carrying out the abortion as well as the man involved are allowed to go scotfree in the country. The whole idea is shocking,’’ she exclaimed.

Quoting statistics, Dr Nina Puri, President of the Family Planning Association of India, accompanying Ms Gomez, said despite the legal backing to abortion, “only one of the 11 million abortions are carried out by registered medical practitioners”.

“Besides educating women, it is also essential to back it up with health services. The stigma attached to undergoing an abortion, the social-cultural milieu and the traditions our society is seeped in makes the task of remoulding minds difficult but we have tasted success which has encouraged us,” Dr Puri contended.

The Regional Director of the IPPF, Dr Indira Kapoor, said lack of education and economic dependence was weighing heavily on women. For any improvement in their standards of living and better status in society, she said an interface between education and empowerment was a must.

“The three important issues dominating the Indian scenario are that of education, son-preference and the abysmally low ratio between boys and girls,” she stated.

Against 100 males, there are only 80 girls in Haryana. The situation is no better in Punjab or Chandigarh. This is against a ratio of 106 women for every 100 men on the international front. “Where are these 26 women in Haryana going? Is it the sex-determination tests, an obsession for sons or the high rate of deaths of women taking its toll on their numbers,” they question.


‘No misuse of funds at PU’
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana

News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — At present there is no complaint pending against misuse of amalgamated funds in any college affiliated to Panjab University in the college branch.

This has been pointed out in an official note of Panjab University, which comes up during the ongoing debate of a high-level committee meeting on subjects of misuse of amalgamated funds and service conditions, besides others.

It has been repeatedly said that the college amalgamated funds collected for a purpose of student activities were often siphoned off to other channels of expenditure, particularly in a section of private colleges. It has been alleged that the funds were utilised for paying salaries to the staff and on other infrastructural construction work on the institution campuses.

Notes on the subject have mentioned remarks of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, in the December 26, 2000, senate. “So far as payment of salary to the teachers in colleges was concerned, it was true that they were not getting full salary. The university always tried to enforce regulations, but colleges, being autonomous in nature and run by managements, did not listen”.

The VC said “The quality of education in colleges had also been deteriorating. It was the responsibility of the teachers to teach the students well, but this was not being done. Teachers were not delivering the stipulated number of lectures. Their responsibility had to be fixed.”

The staff of Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women, Ludhiana, in a letter to the Campus has said that “A student and staff committee for monitoring amalgamated funds does not exist in the college”. Staff and student representation in a committee to study use of amalgamated fund was recommended by a committee about a decade ago. Yet, the practice is literally non-existent in a majority of the colleges.

The staff of RSD College, Ferozepore, in a letter to the VC, has protested against an appointment of a director in the college. It has been clarified that the Panjab University calendar does not have provision to create a post and pay from college funds.

There are complaints in this are regarding Guru Nanak College, Ferozepore. The official statement however denies any such complaint.

An official statement of Master Tara Singh Memorial College says that the college committee for amalgamated funds exists in the form of a purchase committee. The college committee, however, does not mention representation of any student on the committee.


Special post created by PSEB to favour candidate
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 27 — Controversy refuses to die down in the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB). Despite a ban on fresh recruitment and creation of posts by the Punjab Government, the board authorities have created a regular post of an Officer-on-Special Duty (OSD) to the Chairman. The regular post, earlier on contractual basis, had been created allegedly to benefit a specific candidate.

Interview of the candidate against the new post has already been held by an Establishment Committee, comprising the Chairman, Education Secretary, DPI schools and other board officials. Appointment of the “selected” candidate — already serving as OSD to the Chairman on a contractual basis — was expected to be taken up for approval in the board meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

The Chairman of the Board, Dr Kehar Singh, was not available for comments. Sources in the board said the item for a regular post of the OSD was approved in the last meeting of the board. The interview was held after inviting “applications”. In 1999, the board had turned down a proposal to create a regular post.

The Employees Service Regulations of the board says that applications for direct recruitment be invited through the employment exchange or be advertised in newspapers. The board authorities opted to invite applications from the employment exchange. It could not be, however, ascertained whether applications of the apart from those of the candidate in question were received. Sources say applications for Class II and Class III posts were generally invited from the employment exchange.

The regular post was got approved of in the board meeting without taking the item in the finance committee meeting, mandatory as per the financial regulations of the board. The Finance Secretary was a member of the Finance Committee.

For the past ten years, the post of the OSD was on a contractual basis. Incidentally, the present woman incumbent had joined in 1999, after being removed from the post of Deputy Director (Publications) in the board following an inquiry. The inquiry had been held after a direction from a court to give an opportunity to her before taking any action against her.


‘Free’ energy from solar tubewells
By Bipin Bhardwaj

DERA BASSI, Feb 27 — In a scheme to harness solar energy to meet the needs of the agriculture sector, the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) will sink 25 solar energy tubewells, against the sanctioned strength of 40 in this subdivision for irrigation purposes.

Two tubewells introduced by PEDA, have been installed in Hambran village near Banur, two in Nagla village and one in Rampur Sainia village near Lalru. Sinking of these tubewells not only replaces diesel energy with ‘‘free’’ power but also helps farmers in making agriculture eco-friendly.

Around 500 solar powered tubewells sanctioned for the area are to be sunk at a cost of Rs 22.80 crore in various districts of the state. In the project, Rs 18.05 crore is being shared by the Centre, while Rs 3 crore will be contributed by the state government.

Over 525 pieces were received against the sanctioned strength in the state. Of these, 280 solar energy tubewells have already been sunk in parts of the state. The target will be completed by the end of this financial year, PEDA authorities claimed.

The state, earlier, was divided into 12 blocks for the purpose, but keeping in view the increasing public demand, the number of blocks were increased to 40, sources said.

Sources in PEDA disclosed that an expenditure of Rs 4.56 lakh would occur on the installation of one such tubewell on a lease-hold basis, of which Rs 35,000 will have to be paid by the farmer to the agency. The state government would contribute Rs 60,000, while the rest of the amount would be borne by the Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA). Farmers having a minimum of three acres of land are entitled to avail themselves of the benefits of the scheme.

Experts say that such tubewells, set up in areas of 25 feet to 35 feet deep water table would prove suitable. Moreover, tubewells installed at the areas which remain water logged would not only deplete the underground water table but also make the land fit for agriculture once again.

Equipped with a solar panel of 18,000 Watt capacity and a motor of two horse power (2HP), the tubewell will pump out 1.20 lakh litres to 1.40 lakh litres of water in a day, which would be sufficient to irrigate five acres of land.

Mr Ramdin, a servant, operating two solar tubewells in Nagla village for the past two months said “The pump, sunk about 60 feet deep, delivers a discharge of over 1.5 lakh litres daily, and is useful for irrigating over four acres of land.

“The pump work more efficiently from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as it gains maximum solar energy during these hours. A cloudy day affects the water discharge adversely. But our expenditure on buying diesel has been reduced to nil since the installation of the solar powered tubewell, he added.


Only independent women can exercise rights’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — “Society is to be blamed for the gruesome practice of female foeticide, killing of new born girls, through poisoning, throttling, plain starvation or neglect. Preference for a son over a daughter seems to be accepted behaviour”, said the Advisor to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, while speaking at a symposium on female foeticide here today.

“All this has already resulted in the lowering of the male/female ratio, which unfortunately, in the City Beautiful is 1000/740 and one of the most imbalanced in India. This sex ratio is appalling”, she added. The symposium was organised by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, UT, Chandigarh.

Ms Nanda further said that the government, may do its best to implement preventive laws but it is ultimately the will of the people which would uproot this evil. She called upon NGOs also to help check the bias against the girl child. “All out efforts should also be made to educate women and create awareness among the public about the evils of female foeticide. Also the status of women needs to be raised in society”, she said.

In his keynote address, Mr Rakesh Singh, Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary Health, Chandigarh, said that all our progress in the field of medicine, information technology or any other field is irrelevant, when we kill our little daughter in the hope of getting a son. It may be the parents, who decide to abort the girl child or the doctor, who does the ultrasound to reveal the sex of the unborn child or the gynaecologist who performs the MTP, all are a part of this heinous crime. Unless this is checked, the social frame work would crumble and it would yield to a barbaric and ruthless society. As such, he stressed upon changing the mindset of the future generation in not differentiating between daughter and the son.

Dr B.N.S. Walia, former Director, PGI, Chandigarh said “If women are economically independent, no one can compel them to kill the female foetus. She can thus exercise her right to have the child of her own choice, which even UNICEF allows her to have. Hence, society needs to have more and more enlightened and empowered women.

Prof Indu Gupta, Department of Obstetrics and Gynae, PGI, Chandigarh, was of the view that mushrooming of such nursing homes, which indulge in illegal abortions to make money, should be checked.


Five veterans of 1962, 1971 wars get 
allotment letters
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — Five war veterans of the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1971 Indo-Pak war today received allotment letters of Chandigarh Housing Board dwelling units allotted out of turn by the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd).

Among the two veterans who were present at a simple function organised at Punjab Raj Bhavan were Mr Kulbhushan Dev, a 1962 war veteran, and Mr Jagroop Singh Sekhon, a 1971 war veteran. Mr Dev is a 100 per cent disabled and has been allotted an LIG house in Sector 52, whereas Mr Sekhon is 60 per cent disabled and has been allotted an LIG house in Sector 52.

Ms Neeru Nanda, Adviser to the Administrator and Chairperson of the CHB, informed the Administrator that five persons namely Major Hakam Singh, Mr Kulbhushan Dev, Mr Banta Ram, Mr Jagroop Singh Sekhon and Mr Ajit Singh have been allotted HIG, LIG and EWS houses from Administrator’s discretionary quota. She said with the allotment of these five houses the discretionary quota of the Administrator had been exhausted. General Jacob said he was happy that a transparent system having no discretion had been adopted by the board.

With today’s allotment nearly 126 dwelling units of the board of various sizes have been allotted to three categories of persons. As many as 16 houses have been allotted to war veterans of 1962, 1965, 1971 wars, Operation Pawan, Operation Vijay and Operation Rakshak. In the second category, 46 war widows got allotment letters and in the third category 64 victims of terrorism got allotment. Till today, 13 HIG (Ind.), nine HIG (Upper), 11 HIG (Lower), 38 MIG, 40 LIG and 15 EWS houses have been allotted to these three categories of beneficiaries.


IT raid on sanitary dealer
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — A team of the local office of the Income Tax Department today raided the shop and residence of a sanitaryware dealer Kushi Ram and Sons in Sector 26, well-placed sources said.

Acting on specific information that the dealer had paid cash to purchase two industrial plots in Industrial Area, the tax authorities conducted a raid in which the house and shop of the dealer were searched simultaneously this evening. The purchase of the said properties had not been reflected in the income tax returns, sources said.

The Director Investigation, Mr C.K. Vohra, confirmed the raids.


Tentative seniority list for house allotment
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — The Haryana House Allotment Committee today prepared a tentative seniority list for the allotment of Type IV and Type V government houses to eligible state government employees at Panchkula and Sector 39-B, Chandigarh.

The secretary of the Committee said the applications for allotment of these houses had been invited till August 31 last. After scrutinising, a list of both eligible and ineligible applicants were prepared by the committee.

The secretary said the concerned official might see the seniority list in the office of the Secretary, House Allotment Committee between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on any working day and submit objections within a period of 15 days. He said after March 12, no objections would be entertained by the committee.


PU professor dead
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — Prof K. Ambarish Kumar from the University Business School of Panjab University passed away after a decade long battle with cancer yesterday. His mortal remains were consigned to fire today.

Professor Ambarish, born in 1941 near Hyderabad ( Kakirala), did his faculty development from Indian Institute of management, Ahmedabad. He joined Panjab University in 1972. He became a reader in 1984 and a Professor in 1996. The eminent academician specialised in marketing and management creativity.


Found dead
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — A 56-year-old ex-serviceman reportedly died near the Cricket Stadium, Sector 16, here yesterday morning. Pancham Singh, alias Fauji, was reportedly suffering from some ailment. Sources in the police department ruled out any possibility of foul play.


Goods stolen

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — Three cases of burglary have been reported in the city during the past 24 hours.

Electronic goods worth several thousands of rupees were stolen from a shop in Sector 22-B. Mr Vinod Sharma, owner of popular Electronics, has reported that a Panasonic video cassette player, an Akai VCP, a VCD player, one Sony Cordless telephone and one Casio digital diary have been stolen. A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

In another incident, two music systems were stolen from the house of Mr I.S. Chaddha in Sector 36, while he was away for a few days in between February 18 and February 26. A case under Section 380 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 36 police station.

Gold jewellery, cash and other valuables worth thousands of rupees were reportedly stolen from the house of Sq Ldr R.S. Shearon in Sector 31 yesterday. A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

A case of hit-and-run accident has also been registered during the past 24 hours. Rai Prakash, a resident of Kabari Market, was hit by a car (HR-04-6906) while he was going on his scooter near fire station, Industrial Area. He was injured and admitted to the GMCH, while the driver of the car fled away from the spot with the vehicle.

Two persons were injured in two accidents here on Tuesday. Kiran was injured near the Arya Samaj Mandir, in Sector 22, when her TVS scooty was hit by a scooter. Pradeep Kumar, a cyclist, was hit by a scooter in Sector 31. Both have been admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16.

Two persons namely Harbans Lal and Sanjay Kumar have been admitted to the General Hospital Sector 16, after they sustained injuries in a clash in the Sector 26 grain market.


Police questioning all sources
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — The city police has its hands full with investigations on into the two recent murders, one of Mrs Pritha Singh on February 18 and the other of Mrs Prem Lata Soni on February 26 at her Sector 32 residence.

Although two of the accused in the Sector 10 murder of Mrs Pritha Singh have already been arrested by the police, they are still clueless about the whereabouts of the third accused, Barinder alias Beeru. Even in the recent murder of Mrs Prem Lata Soni, the police has reportedly not made much headway.

Police sources inform that the scope of investigations into this murder has been sufficiently widened as all the friends or even casual acquaintances of the family are being questioned. The police has reportedly also conducted raids at a few places in and around the city. It is also learnt that the Sonis were deep in debt and around eight financiers, one of them from Ambala, was involved in litigation with them. The police is also likely to question all these financiers.

The police also say that the husband of the deceased, Mr R.P. Soni, who is settled in Saudi Arabia, had strained relations with the family and had last visited them in 1998. It is alleged that he had not even visited his family at the time of the marriages of his daughters. Meanwhile, the post mortem of the deceased was conducted here today and the report has established that the death occurred as a result of sustaining head injury due to a blunt weapon.

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