Thursday, March 29, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Opposition takes Mayor to task
* MC meeting adjourned
* Ruling members absent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
A determined BJP-SAD opposition held up the proceedings of the House of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation for about an hour today, pressing the Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, to clarify the allegations pertaining to his ''illegal'' activities figuring in the media, and on his refusal to do so they demanded his resignation. Such was the level of resentment that the meeting had to be adjourned for the day.

It is for the first time in the history of the House that the ruling party abstained from the meeting chaired by its own party's Mayor.

As soon as the House met this morning for transacting the general business, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Des Raj Tandon, asked the Mayor to clarify his position on the allegations pertaining to assault case on a person outside the Divya Yoga Mandir, Mani Majra, and construction of 54 "unauthorised" shops in Mani Majra. "A person against whom such serious allegations had been levelled had no business to preside over the meeting of the House and occupy the office of Mayor", he declared, adding that the Congress, which was in a minority, had no business to run the House.

The situation became more grave since all the four councillors of the ruling Congress, including the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, Mrs Satinder Dhawan, Mrs Kamlesh and Mrs Sunita, were not present, virtually isolating him in a House dominated by the BJP and SAD councillors.

This led to an immediate uproar, forcing the Mayor to adjourn the House. As soon as Mr Goyal walked out of the hall, the BJP councillors followed him to his office and virtually gheraoed him, raised slogans and demanded his resignation. They kept chanting "Mayor Sahib, kursi chhodo" for nearly 10 minutes. The Mayor sat through the ordeal and tried to put up a brave front by saying that all allegations against him were wrong and baseless. The Opposition was trying to take undue advantage of its majority and such conduct lowered dignity of the House.

Talking to the media after adjourning the House, Mr Goyal took pains to explain the allegations and said that this was merely a political move to tarnish his image in public and the good work he was doing.

Several BJP councillors, including Mr Gian Chand Gupta and Mr R.L. Arora, declared their intention of requisitioning a special meeting of the House within a week to ask the Mayor to explain his position on these allegations.

They further alleged that the Mayor had lost the confidence in the House, for his own party councillors were conspicuous by their absence. How did he propose to conduct the business when there was none to second him from his own party, said one of them.

Another BJP councillor, Mr Prem Sagar Jain, asked as to why there had been no response to his letter to the Commissioner seeking the Mayor's clarification on the illegal construction of shops in Mani Majra and why the same had not been placed on the agenda even though the letter was given on January 24.

The Congress councillors, when contacted, cited personal reasons for staying away from the House, but their collective absence from the meeting only indicated that the same was planned, keeping in view the prevailing differences between the Mayor and the four Congress councillors. While Mrs Kamlesh and Mrs Sunita said that they were held up on personal fronts, Mrs Dhawan said she had gone out of station. However, Mr Kala said that he had not deliberately made it, for the Mayor did not cooperate with them nor did he take them into confidence on agenda items.

Sources reveal that the Congress councillors are also unhappy with the party President, Mr B.B. Behl, who despite repeated assurances that the differences will be resolved shortly and that meetings will be held before every House meeting, has so far not even called a single meeting. They even intend giving Mr Behl a letter in this regard tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the BJP-SAD councillors, including Ms Des Raj Tandon, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohinder Singh, Ms Ranjana Shahi, Mrs Kamala Sharma and Mr Kanhya Lal Sharma, met the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, later in the evening and apprised him of the allegations levelled by the public against the Mayor. They demanded that an inquiry should be conducted into the allegations by the Commissioner or any other officer.

The Mayor should not be allowed to go scotfree if found guilty. They pointed out that the functioning of the MCC was also suffering ever since he had taken over and that no meeting of the House to transact the general business had been called by him during the past three months.

The Governor is learnt to have said that he will hear the version of the Mayor also on these issues.

All the BJP-SAD councillors, except Mr O.P. Goyal were present in the House. As many as five nominated councillors, who were present, were mute witnesses to the drama.

While uproarious scenes in the House are not uncommon, the procedural formalities were also given a goby today, for even the National Anthem was not played following the Mayor announcing the adjournment of the meeting.

The Mayor, when asked if he would take action against his party councillors for not coming for the meeting and the authorities for not playing the National Anthem not being played, said that he would look into it.


Villagers rejoice, govt to move SC
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, March 28
The cancellation of the Anandgarh notification by the Punjab and Haryana High Court here today has evoked mixed responses. While the move of the High Court can well be termed as a shot in the arm of the villagers, who are more than happy with the decision for the obvious reasons, it comes as a severe blow to the prestige of the Punjab government.

As the notification stands revoked by the court of law, the Punjab Government’s entire strategy behind the ambitious project comes under a cloud. And while the government picks up bits of fractured ambition, the villagers are already rejoicing, as now no more land will be acquired. The news of the High Court ruling spread in the villages which were to acquired for the project like wild fire. It seemed that everyone in the 29 villages happened to know the news. The villagers were in jubilant mood and distributed sweets. Over 30,000 people are directly effected by the judgement.

According to the highly placed sources in the Punjab Government, the government would be immediately filing a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court. The SLP is likely to be filed in a couple of days. When contacted Mr R.K. Verma, Additional Chief Administrator of the Anandgarh Development Authority, said, ‘‘We are waiting for the copy of the judgement and the government would be moving to the Supreme Court after consultation with the Advocate General, Punjab’’.

Residents of the Kansal village, which was recently in the news because of the purchase of land by some Punjab MLAs, welcomed the High Court judgement. Ratan Chand, sarpanch of the village, said the judgement is widely welcomed by the residents of the area.

However, the credit go to the Anandgarh Hatao Sanjhi Sangharsh Committee for its sustained struggle against the project. It was the committee which kept the Anandgarh movement alive among the villagers. Mr Jasbir Singh Dhaliwal, General Secretary of the committee, called up the Tribune office and informed about the ruling.

Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, has too welcomed the decision of the High Court. He said the decision of the High Court has saved thousands of residents of the villages in the vicinity of Anandgarh project from displacement.

Mr Dewan Singh, sarpanch of Mullanpur — Garibdas village, which was to be acquired for the project said, ‘‘It is the victory of the people and their united fight against the Badal government’’. Arvind Puri, another resident of the village, feared that the Punjab Government would be moving the Supreme Court. He distributed sweets in the village. The mood in the Sanimajra village was also the same. Prem Singh, son of Bakshish Singh, sarpanch of the village, said finally they have won the battle. 


Architect Satnam Singh dies at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Mr Satnam Singh, a noted architect, died at the PGI here this evening after a prolonged illness. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the PGI on December 18 after he was diagnosed to be suffering from the GBS (guillan barre syndrome). He was 56.

A product of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, he started his practice in 1966. Mr Satnam Singh was one of the consultant architects for Anandpur Sahib for the Khalsa tercentenary celebrations. He designed Nishan-e-Khalsa. In November, he won the competition for designing the proposed city of Anandgarh. He was also the chief architect for Baba Farid Medical University in Faridkot. He also won an all-India competition to design a new naval academy near Cochin. He is survived by his wife, Namita, also an eminent architect of the city, and a son and a daughter.

Mr Satnam Singh had won several prestigious awards, competitions and contracts as an architect, planner and designer. He also headed the North Zone body of the Architects Association. He will be cremated tomorrow at the Sector 25 cremation ground at 11.30 a.m.


B.Sc (hons) in computers and biotechnology
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Panjab University is introducing professional courses in B.Sc ( honours) in computer science and applications and B.Sc (honours) in biotechnology, in affiliated colleges from the forthcoming session.

Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, has announced extending the BCA course in colleges by one more year to make it a four-year course for those desiring to do an honours degree. A new course in Masters in information science would also be introduced in selected colleges. “ We believe that this five-year course in MIS would provide an opportunity for higher education in the field of information technology’, according to the statement.

The university has also announced that it was in the process of starting two other courses MBA (Information Technology) and Masters in e-commerce. This was being done with the twin objective of meeting the requirements of society for professional, degree and vocational courses, as also to mobilise additional financial resources ‘.

The university has also announced restarting the Master degree course in defence and strategic studies from the forthcoming session. The course existed till 1998 before it was closed down. It was pointed out in the last senate meeting, that a centre, with particular reference to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia was the need of the hour under the changed world scenario.

The Correspondence Studies Department will start new courses in M Com, B.Lib and MA (sociology). The PU regional centre at Muktsar will start classes in MCA as reported earlier.

English (compulsory), which is a subject in the first year of the B.Sc will now be compulsory in B.Sc II instead. BA, B.Com BBA and BCA courses have the subject in the first year itself.

For admission to B.Ed courses, courses in BBA and BCA have also been included as options. The university will now also have a post graduate diploma in women studies (two semesters), and an M.Phil in gender studies in addition to Ph.D.

A Bachelor in Business Administration student, will now be eligible to appear in the entrance examination for admission to M.Com. Earlier only those students who had done their Bachelor degree in Commerce (B.Com) were eligible. The university has also proposeda semester system, instead of the annual system in the MCA course. With particular reference to the MFC course, a candidate who has qualified for the award of MFC degree will be allowed to re-appear as a private candidate in case he wants to appear for improvement.


Induction orders ‘held in abeyance’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
A former Commander of 70 Infantry Brigade, Brig Devinder Singh, today stated before the general court martial trying Major Maneesh Bhatnagar that the orders issued to the latter to induct his company at the base of Point 5203 were held in abeyance, though he (Devinder Singh) continued to utilise the personnel of the company for various tasks in furtherance of his aim to capture the point.

Stating this in reply to the court’s question on the locus standi of his orders when the matter was referred to the GOC, 3 Division, after briefing on June 15, Brig Devinder Singh said the GOC himself was coming the next day to meet the company commander and that further instructions were to be conveyed to him by the GOC from Kargil around June 17. Brig Devinder Singh added that he had already been informed that the CO, 5 Para, Col A.K. Srivastava, was being moved to the location to take stock of the situation that had arisen in the company.

Replying to another question, the Brigadier said that the attack operations at Point 5203, for which the assault was launched on the night of June 20, had commenced immediately after our own positions had been consolidated after the partial capture of the Point 5203 feature, which was on June 9 -10.

Brig Devinder Singh also stated that he had made it clear to the accused officer during the briefing that he had to undertake an operation, including the capture of Point 5203, and that the company’s problem of fatigue and understrength was brought to him after the briefing. He also said that he did not remember if he had met Major Bhatnagar before the briefing on June 15.

Meanwhile, the prosecution’s question, asking Brig Devinder Singh about the stages of attack, which had stirred a debate on its admissibility yesterday, was disallowed by the court today. In reply to another question, the Brigadier stated that he did raise the issue of giving Major Bhatnagar another chance of attack with the latter’s CO, Colonel A.K. Srivastava, after June 18. However, the CO did not give Major Bhatnagar another chance due to the criticality of the situation.

The Brigade Commander also stated that as per the GS pamphlet, there were three stages of attack: preparation, assault and re-organisation. Preparation, he added, included briefing, planning and the issue of orders, if any.

MSP “often below” production cost
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Even as the Union Government is being criticised by some circles for ignoring the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices and enhancing the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat, Mr Ramesh Chand, an Agriculture economist, says that farmers make only very little profit by selling their produce at the MSP. The economist, in fact, argues that the MSP of crops is often below their production cost.

In a paper, “Status problems and constraints of Punjab and Haryana agriculture in relevance to WTO”, Mr Chand stated that although much had been made of the benefits provided to the farmers in terms of giving a remunerative MSP and an effective MSP by marketing operations to the advantage of farmers of Punjab and Haryana, it actually needed to be really evaluated as to how far the MSP had been meeting their cost of production.

Mr Chand, who is also a member of the committee headed by Mr Y.K. Alag, which has been working to formulate a strategy to safeguard Punjab and Haryana’s interest in the WTO regime, said the cost of production of wheat increased from Rs 118 per quintal in 1981-82 to Rs 464 in 1998-99. The cost of production, culled from the cost of cultivation data of the Government of India funded scheme, had some methodological underestimation of the costs.

He cited, for instance, that the land rent, a major fixed cost, was restricted to actual or one-third of the value of the produce as per the State Legislation Act, whichever was less. However, Mr Chand argued that in 1981-82 , 18 per cent of the farmers’ land rent was more than 30 per cent of the total value of output, but in 1992-93, 72 per cent of the farmers were paying a rent of more than 30 per cent.

According to Mr Chand, comparison of the absolute increase in cost with the increase in the MSP showed that in nine out of the 17 years between 1981-82 and 1998-99, the increase in cost was more than the increase in the MSP. In certain years, the increase in MSP was Re 1 per quintal compared with Rs 12 per quintal increase in the cost of production.

During 1994-95 and 1995-96, when the cost of production rose by Rs 24 and Rs 44 per quintal, the MSP was raised by Rs 10 and Rs 20 per quintal, respectively. In 1997-98 and 1998-99, when the MSP was stated to have been raised substantially by Rs 35 and Rs 40 per quintal, it was not enough to cover the increase in cost which was by Rs 49 and Rs 52 per quintal, respectively.

Mr Chand wrote that the absolute increase in the cost of production per quintal of wheat and paddy in Punjab between 1981-82 and 1998-99 had been Rs 346 and Rs 261, respectively. The absolute increase in the MSP during this period had been Rs 408 and Rs 390, respectively.Back


Helmet is for safety

TWO ninth standard students died in a road accident in Sector 38. Both died due to head injuries. These teenagers fell victim to their youthful exuberance, immaturity and an impatient desire to overtake everything in life. If only they had worn helmets, today they might have been planning their vacation.

It is common to see two-wheeler drivers as well as pillion riders hanging their helmets on their arms instead of wearing these on their heads. The helmet is a life saving protective gear and not a cumbersome baggage to be carried to avoid a challan. How many more lives have to be sacrificed before we realise the utility of the helmet?

As long as doting parents keep giving two-wheelers to their underage school-going children, such accidents will keep happening. If we love our children, then we should forbid them from driving till they reach the age of maturity.

A little effort by the Principals in schools, the traffic police on the roads and the parents at home, can make a difference. The youngsters should be educated about road safety and the risks of underage driving.

Harinder Mohan Singh

Inflated bill

I have received electricity bill for 482 units in respect of my house No 1576, Sector 33-D. But I have been billed Rs 9892 including a surcharge of Rs 90. The bill includes sundry charges of Rs 8950. I am not aware of how this amount of Rs 8950 has been included in my bill. My enquiry to the Engineering Department has brought no response. Their stock reply is that the bill includes arrears of electricity charges. No one is ready to say anything beyond this. Knowing the high-handed attitude of the Engineering Department, I deposited the money so that electricity supply to my house is not discontinued.

I would like the authorities to hold a full and proper enquiry into how this amount of Rs 8950 was included in my bill without any reason. I am sure if a property inquiry is held, I shall be entitled to a refund with interest.


Commemorating Kairon

The Punjab Government has decided to organise year-long celebrations to mark the bicentenary of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh which falls on April 12.

The 100th birth anniversary of Sardar Partap Singh Kairon, a great freedom fighter and the builder of modern Punjab, who gave us the city of Chandigarh and institutions such as the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Research, the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and Punjabi University, Patiala, also falls this year on October, 2. So far the Punjab government has taken no step to celebrate his birth centenary in a befitting manner, despite the fact that his grandson, Mr Adesh Partap Singh, is a cabinet minister in Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s cabinet. The Punjab Government has also constituted a committee to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of artist Shobha Singh, this year. Himachal Pradesh has named the Horticulture and Forestry university at Nauni near Solan, after Dr Y.S. Parmar, but there is nothing in Punjab to perpetuate the memory of Partap Singh Kairon. This ommission needs to be corrected.

Narinder Singh

Pre-nursery classes

Admissions to pre-nursery classes are made when children are about three years old. There are a large number of English medium schools for this purpose. The fees charged by these schools are so high that even middle class parents find it difficult to afford the expense. These fees are higher than those of university classes or engineering colleges.

There are some vernacular schools but these exist is the slum areas. The Government will have to come to the rescue of the parents of these children.

Gian Singh


Sweating out to get water meters replaced
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
It is an ordeal for the city residents to stand in long unending queues, face rude uncooperative officials and make repeated visits to the subdivisional offices. Getting faulty water meters changed before the March 31 deadline is just not easy.

After receiving a number of telephone calls from irate residents who complained of a callous attitude of officials, ‘Chandigarh Tribune’ decided to find out the truth. This reporter reached the Sector 18 subdivisional office at 9 am.

About 20 persons were in the queue (which is normal in Chandigarh) outside Room 3 that was locked. Half-an-hour later, an official opened the door, softly humming a tune. “Switch on the fan,” he told a person in the queue before settling down.

Those in the queue were then asked to deposit Rs 65 in Room 1. They obeyed, only to be told that they would have to return the next day for the receipts. “Engineer ‘sahib’ is out in the field,” the official said. Another day has been wasted.

The next day, the residents return for the receipts before handing over the meters to the official. They are asked to get the meter tested. They fail to follow the logic because the meters are ISI-marked.

They get these tested, nevertheless, but the trouble is not over yet. For days together, either the husband or the wife misses the office and stays home waiting for the plumber to come and install the meter. They are angry at being harassed. Surveys of the other centres revealed similar stories.

Mohinder Pal, a government employee, has made more than three visits to the Sector 32 office of the Subdivisional Engineer to get his meter replaced.

Another person said the officials were supposed to be present in the office from 9 am to 1 pm, but they blatantly told consumers that there would be no one in the office after 11 am.

A number of persons like these, even after paying the required charges and getting the meter tested, are waiting for the plumber to come and replace their meters. A resident of Sector 47 has even approached the area councillor to help him get his meter replaced.

With only a few days to go before the deadline expires, about 70 per cent of 54,000 or so defective meters remain unchanged. A visit to to the Public Health Offices of Divisions 4 and 5 revealed that piles of meters were lying there for testing. Due to a shortage of staff, these are now being returned to consumers.

When contacted, the Superintending Engineer of Public Health, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, said the department had already replaced about 15,000 meters in the city and he had not received any complaint. He, however, said some persons might be facing these problems indeed.

He said the problem had risen as the deadline was near near and the number of persons wanting to get their meters replaced was increasing every day, making it difficult for the staff to cope up with the rush. On an average, 200 meters are being installed everyday and the rush is expected to increase in the next few days. This is because of the fear of penaly after the deadline expires.

He said, though the deadline had been extended two months ago, residents had ignored it till now and suddenly the deadline was near. He said no rent would be charged from those buying these meters at Rs 350. He also said they would actually be saving Rs 60 anually, thereby, recovering the cost of the meter in the next five years. However, the others who had not changed the meters would have to pay the rent. Service charges, enhanced recently by over five times, would be charged from all consumers.

The notification with regard to passing the responsibility of maintaining and replacing defective water meters to consumers was issued on June 5, 2000. Those who fail to comply with the order, will be charged double the rate of the average consumption of water. The exercise would ensure that bills in future are issued on the basis of true readings and not average consumption.

Mr Singh has asked those facing any problem in this regard to contact him in his office on telephone number 713727 or the Executive Engineer of Public Health-II, Mr Swaran Singh Kanwal, on telephone number 746118.


HEWO’s draw of plots
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 28
The draw of lots for 498 flats of the HUDA Employees Welfare Organisation (HEWO) was held at the Mansa Devi Complex here yesterday.

A large number of employees, serving and retired, had gathered at the venue where a draw for 85 houses in the super delux category, 106 in the delux, 115 in the utility and 111 in the economy houses category and 81 houses for the economically weaker sections was held.

These flats were built under the first scheme launched for the HEWO and flats were built in Gurgaon and Faridabad. With the draw of lots for flats in Panchkula, the first phase of handing over possession of flats has been completed.

On account of greater demand for these flats after the successful completion of the first scheme, enrolment was opened to members for the second scheme during 1998.

Under this scheme, the HEWO had been allotted 10 acres at Gurgaon, five acres at Faridabad and 3.50 acres at Panchkula.Back


Agitations in police ‘cause for concern’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Regretting the “poor state of affairs” as far as the management of police forces is concerned, the Director-General, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Mr Gautam Kaul, says that agitation in police forces are a cause for concern.

Stating that such agitations should not take place, he cautions that if the police forces are not content, it will adversely affect the law and order situation and the justice system. He was speaking to mediapersons at the Basic Training Centre, Bhanu, near here, today.

Mr Kaul, who was on a farewell visit here, retires on March 31 after a stint of about three years as DG. Mr S.C. Chaube, an Uttar Pradesh cadre officer of the 1996 IPS batch, will succeed him. At present posted as DG (Administration) in the state police in Lucknow, Mr Chaube has had a stint as DG, Indo-Nepal Border Police, a wing of the UP police.

Mr Kaul said that among other reasons, discontent and mismanagement in the police forces was the result of a lack of understanding and interest in the executive and political leadership. This had become a problem as the current or upcoming generation of political leaders did not know how to handle police administration.

All these issues and other causes of discontent in police forces, he said would be taken up in a book, “Police Agitations: Causes and Effects,” which he would be writing after retirement.

Mr Kaul said that he was at present engaged in writing a book on the history of the ITBP, which would be completed in about six months. Stating that this task was turning out to be more difficult than imagined as information pertaining to the 1960 - 78 period was scanty, he added that the book would bring out interesting stories about valour, sacrifice and adventure.

Another book he would be writing was on Dalit Cinema. Dalits, he said, played a very important part in Indian politics. He cited the example of Tamil Nadu, where cinema based on the Dalit community had profoundly affected the political scenario.

He, however, ruled out the possibility of being appointed the Governor of a state, adding that he would instead prefer working in the Himalayas in the field of disaster management.

Stating that he was retiring with the satisfaction that he had touched every “corner” of the ITBP, which none of his predecessors had managed, Mr Kaul said that there had been a qualitative change in the facilities that hadbeen put in place.

Claiming that there had been some “record achievements”, the outgoing DG stated that the ITBP had become the first police force to receive the ISO 9002 certificate, for the services provided by it. The challenge, he added, now lay in maintaining the standards.

Another major achievement, he said, was the government agreeing to grant 50 per cent concession in air fare to the ITBP for transporting personnel and material to Ladakh. This concession came after a private airline had already agreed to grant a similar concession.Back


Training period of ITBP recruits increased
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Keeping in view future requirements and to meet the envisioned force profile for the 21st century, the duration of basic training for recruits of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBPF) has been significantly enhanced.

Revealing this while addressing ITBPF personnel at the Basic Training Centre, Bhanu, near here today, the outgoing Director-General, Mr Gautam Kaul, said that the training period for raw recruits had been increased from the earlier 36 weeks to 52 weeks.

Stating that no other police force in the country was being trained in the manner in which ITBPF personnel were moulded as professionals, Mr Kaul said that in the last two years the ITBPF was working towards improvements and changes required for effective performance in the 21st century.

Speaking on the occasion, the Additional DIG, Mr S C Nayar, said that the training curriculum for recruits, besides basic training in drill, weapons, firing and field craft, now incorporates aspects of counter-insurgency operations, information technology and tactics.

Earlier, presiding over an impressive passing out parade and attestation ceremony, Mr Kaul reviewed the parade and took the salute. As many as 237 recruits were absorbed into the ITBPF on completion of basic training today. The recruits, which included three women constables, are from the 126 and 127 batches.

The ITBPF chief also gave away prizes for outstanding achievement in various disciplines. The toppers from 126 and 127 batches, respectively, are Chur Singh and Anusuiya Prashad (over all), L Ramesh and Sunil Purohit (drill), Suresh Kumar and Sanjay Semoral (PT), Ajyesh Singh and Jetendera Rawat (weapons), Balwinder Singh and Gambhir Singh (firing). Head Constable Balraj Singh was declared as the best instructor.

Later, the Director-General visited the ITBPF transport battalion near the Chandigarh airport and inaugurated a workshop established to fabricate bodies for truck and bus chassis purchased by the ITBPF. He also inspected a guard of honour and was given a warm send-off by the battalion Commandant, Ms A S Chhina, officers as well as other ranks.


IT offices to remain open on March 31
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 28
The income tax offices all over Haryana will remain open on March 31 to enable people to file returns of income and other documents, the Commissioner, Income Tax, said here today. The department has also requested the authorised banks to receive tax payments throughout the day.

Parwanoo: As per Mr S.P. Gupta, Income Tax Officer, Parwanoo range, the local income tax office will remain open on March 31 to receive income tax returns and other documents.


Gianiji’s biography releases skeletons out of cupboard
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
‘Memoirs of Giani Zail Singh — the Seventh President of India’, a biography of the former Head of the State of India, was released by Babu Parmanand, Governor of Haryana, here today. It traces the former President’s life from the times of his struggle against feudal rule and foreign domination to that of the blossoming of the Indian democracy.

The former President’s Officer on Special Duty and close aide, Manohar Singh Batra, has written this book based on his four-year-long interaction with Gianiji. In the prologue, Batra writes that Gianiji assigned him to pen these memoirs when he took over as the OSD in 1986.

The memoirs have been published after about six years of Gianiji’s death, but the author says that the President had read the and approved the final drafts. Batra says that, “Gianiji wanted his memoirs to be published only after his death.”

The Constitutional relations between the Head of the State and the Head of the Government form an important feature of these memoirs. This book is also about human relations, capable of baffling any person. It contains an account of the late President’s tenure that was marked by controversies and Constitutional clashes.

According to the memoirs, the late President’s address to the nation on Doordarshan and All-India Radio was censored twice — on August 14, 1986, and January 25, 1987. The memoirs say that Giani Zail Singh wanted to bid farewell to the nation on radio and television and the government wanted to know the contents of his speech. In the book, Gianiji says, “This was my personal message, for which, I did not need the advice of my council of ministers.”

The book that has 50 chapters, is about Gianiji’s childhood, his struggle against the Maharaja of Faridkot and the British. Chapter 30 is about Operation Bluestar and Chapter 35 is about Gianiji’s differences with Rajiv Gandhi. The memoirs say that the former President never wanted a second term and he had informed the Prime Minister about this five months before his retirement.

Chapter 45 — ’‘The Indian Post Office (Amendment) Bill, 1986’ — is about the former President not signing the Bill that had already been passed by both Houses. Gianiji neither approved the Bill nor returned it to the Parliament.

The author says that Gianiji did not use to maintain any diary or notes all through his public life and depended entirely on his memory.


BSP wants PM to quit
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
The local unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party yesterday organised a cycle rally to protest against the involvement of the NDA government in defence deal as the facts were uncovered by the Tehelka.

The party condemned the ministers, politicians and officials of the NDA government who are allegedly the main culprits in the defence deal. The party demanded that the Prime Minister should tender his resignation on moral grounds.

The leaders demanded that the guilty should immediately be arrested and punished as per the laws. The leaders said that while our soldiers sacrificed their lives for the motherland, politicians, ministers and officials were making money through defence deals.

The Enquiry Commission was meaningless and would not serve any purpose. This was a serious crime and the alleged culprits should be booked without delay.Back


Peoples’ participation must for development: experts
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
Highlighting the need for acquiring multi-purpose skills like mechanical, social, communication and participatory activity oriented by the grassroot technicians, the experts at the workshop for technicians and hand pump operators suggested public participation in the maintenance of the handpumps.

Rural water supply scheme depends upon the maintenance of pumps. The quality and access to drinking water largely depends upon the skills which the pump operator possess, opined the experts at a three-day workshop at Mohali.

The Jan Shikshan Sansthan has organised a training programme of these grassroot technicians to equip them with the skills to efficiently operate and maintain pumps ensuring clean drinking water with the active involvement of the community.

The Director of the Institute for Development and Communication, Dr Parmod Kumar, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune, said the community needs to be involved in proper use and timely maintenance of pumps. The workshop would help in improving the functional utility of the pumps thereby ensuring the availability of the safe drinking water.

During the three-day technical workshop, 135 operators and technicians participated. The first session discussed the problems faced by these operators and technicians like irregular power supply, non-availability of funds and infrastructure for repair and lack of people’s running these schemes.

The Chairman of the Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Prof J.N Joshi, stressed that how the people’s involvement in the common welfare programmes can be beneficial for the development of a village community. 


CHB to work on Sector 51-A
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The board of directors of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) at its meeting held here today decided to launch a housing scheme in Sector 51-A soon. According to sources, the meeting also fixed priorities for 2001-2002. Apart from the new housing scheme, which will have 930 MIG and HIG dwelling units, construction of 1,066 dwelling units for the rehabilitation of the slum-dwellers in Sector 56 will also be undertaken during the year. Besides discussing ways and means to cut down on non-productive expenditure, the meeting decided to start the remaining development work in Sector 34 here.


Rain in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Chandigarh and its surrounding areas of Punjab and Haryana had a spell of rain this evening. The rain, which came after a prolonged dry spell, brought the temperature, which had begun to rise during the past few days, down. The rain was preceded by a strong gale. It continued to rain intermittently.


Husband, brother-in-law booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, march 28
The police has arrested the husband and the brother- in- law of the 23-year- old woman, Saroj Bala, who was found hanging at her Palsora residence yesterday morning on charges of the dowry death. A case under Section 304-B of the IPC has been registered against Chaman Lal and his elder brother, Jagdish, at the Sector 39 police station.

The case has been registered on the complaint of the father of the deceased, Mr Pratap Chand, who has alleged that his son-in-law, Chaman Lal, had been continuously harassing her daughter for bringing less dowry. He also alleged that his daughter took the extreme step when she could no longer bear the torture.

The deceased had been married to Chaman Lal, a mechanic in the Telecom Department, four years ago. After a few months of marriage, he had allegedly sent the deceased to her father’s house in Sanheka village in Kangra district. However, it was upon the interference of the village panchayat of Gangat, Chaman Lal’s native village, that Saroj Bala was taken back and the couple began residing with the elder brother of Chaman Lal, Jagdish.

It has also been alleged that when the deceased became pregnant, he was again sent back to her father’s house and relations further strained between the couple after a baby girl was born to her. When the deceased came back here she hung herself and ended her life on the intervening night of March 26 and 27.Back


Sodomy cases on the rise
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28

  • March 15, 2001: A five-year-old child was allegedly sodomized by a 17-year-old school going youth, Hanif Ansari, residing in his neighbourhood. The accused had taken the victim to his hut on the pretext of showing him a programme on the TV.
  • July 5, 2000: A 10-year-old child was physically abused by a 20-year-old youth, Krishan Lal Saini, in the Sector 45 Rehri Market.
  • June 21, 2000: A 19-year-old youth was brought to Bapu Dham colony and allegedly sodomized by three youths — Maheshi Kumar, Raj Kumar alias Raju, Rakesh Kumar alias Kaku — all between the age group of 20 to 22.
  • June 18, 2000: Unknown persons are alleged to have sodomized a threeyear-old girl in the Mauli Jagran locality. This is perhaps the only reported case where a girl has been sodomized in the city.
  • May 23, 2000: A three-year-old boy was sodomized by a 14-year-old boy, Jasbir Singh alias Jassi, in Faidan, near Sector 47. The child was badly injured and had to be admitted in the hospital for several weeks till the time he was able to get back in the usual rigmarole of life.
  • April 9, 2000: Seven-year-old Class II student of a local school was physically abused by a 23-year-old Kalicharan alias Charan Das at a Sector 21 house.

Sodomy is lurking in the city for quite some time now. The figures available from the police show that such cases have increased manifold during the past five years.

According to the figures available, it was learnt that such cases, though haven’t become a rule, but from a minimal one or two cases to as many as four to five cases were being reported in the city for the past two years. As many as five such cases were reported from different parts of the city last year, four cases in the year 1999 as against one case each in the year 1996 and 1997.

It is impertinent to mention here that the police itself claims that the total number of reported cases would not even be 50 per cent of the total cases that take place in the city. The social stigma attached with such cases and the fact that usually the accused are either close relatives or acquaintances, forces the victim’s families to let go off such crimes, opines a senior police officer.

The police also maintain that though these crimes are criminal in intent, they are more of a sociological concern. Says the UT Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, “The police on its part take a serious note of any such case. In cases, where there is a continued offense or the accused is a repeat offender, history sheets are prepared and bails are generally opposed as there is possibility of the accused striking again.” 


One killed, two hurt in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
In yet another case of hit-and-run accident, one person was killed and two others were injured when the cycle-rickshaw they were riding was hit by an unidentified vehicle on the jail road last night.

Kanhaiya Lal and Gurprashad were being ferried in a rickshaw by Rajinder Prasad when they were hit by an unidentified vehicle. All of them were admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital where Kanhaiya Lal succumbed to his injuries. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered.

Three cases of theft have been registered in the city during the past 24 hours. A handbag containing Rs 17,000, an identity card and some documents belonging to Ms Indu Joshi was stolen from the GPO, Sector 17, on March 26. In another case, a stephany and shield of a scooter belonging to Mr Jagdish Singh Saini were stolen when it was parked in the Sector 34 market on March 23. A water meter was stolen from the B.D. High School on the March 26 night. The peon of the school, Shankar Dass, has filed a complaint under Section 379 of the IPC.

Liquor seized
Three bottles of country liquor were seized from Thakur Dass, a resident of Baterla. The accused has been booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

Purse snatched
An unidentified person of 18 to 20 years of age is alleged to have snatched a purse containing Rs 150 and some documents from Mrs Ishwar Malwai from Sector 16 last night. A case under Section 356 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 17 police station.

One injured
Inderjit Singh Saini, a resident of Hansi, near Hisar, was injured when his scooter skidded near Matka Chowk this afternoon. He has been admitted to the PGI.


Cooling time is here again
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chandigarh, March 28
With rise in mercury people selling chiks, cooler-pads and earthen pottery have come back in parts of the city and its surrounding areas. This year they expect a brisk business as summers arrived earlier than expected. However, increasing trend to go for water coolers among the neo-rich executives has affected the earthen pottery business drastically.

Residents of the city have already started preparing for the forthcoming summer season by placing orders for chiks to be used as heat defenders and pads made of khaskhas for their air coolers. A survey by Chandigarh Tribune team revealed that vendors making straw-pads for coolers have come up in almost every sector. Over 20 such vendors, including that of making chiks, have started refilling the cooler-pads and making chiks on the inner road dividing Sector 22-C and D in Chandigarh.

Mr Nand Lal, a 77-year-old chiks vendor, said that the summer has set in about one month earlier and hoped that the season will prolong as there were few rains this year. “The sale of chiks and cooler-pads goes to the peak by middle of April, nowadays the customers is just testing the market.”

Mr Ratti Ram, a potter, who is in this business for the last over 35 years, said that people’s interest has diverted towards refrigerators from earthen pottery.

But now they have developed a hobby of decorating their drawing rooms with earthen vases and other decorative. Earlier, there was a great demand of pitchers in government offices, but that to has decreased due to use of water coolers.

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