Saturday, March 31, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Power policy favours slum dwellers instead of local inhabitants
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
A hard working person collects some savings, takes a loan, buys a small residential plot in one of the 18 villages in the Union Territory and constructs a small house. Now starts the bad news, the Electricity Department says an individual power connection cannot be released as the plot is outside the lal dora of the village.

On the other hand, a migrant labourer comes in from Uttar Pradesh or Bihar, builds a jhuggi by encroaching upon government land and starts stealing power. The Administration virtually trips on its feet to woo him and agrees to release an individual power connection. However, the slum dweller does not bother and continues to steal power.

These are not stray examples but glaring lop-sidedness in the policies of the Administration in the distribution of power in the Union Territory. Official sources say this is like having a different yardstick for two different sets of people both unauthorised under the legal framework.

The Administration has formed two sets of policies. The only difference is that one favours the slums dwellers, while creating hurdles for the average employee who cannot afford the exorbitant costs in Chandigarh and per force opts to construct a house in one of the villages.

Almost all such residents — more than one lakh people living outside the lal dora of the villages — are salaried class, law abiding and tax paying and primarily belong to the region.

Mr Vinod Nagpal, whose father has built a house in Daria village, says: ‘‘We are being treated as second-class citizens in our own country. And all this after paying taxes while the Administration's policy favours unauthorised people living in slums.’’

Why should a slum dweller benefit more than anyone who has first spent money to buy a plot of land and then spent money to construct a house, he asks.

A resident of Raipur Khurd village, who is fearful of getting his name in print being a government employee, adds: ‘‘We are being discriminated against, while the Administration is favouring slum dwellers. Why this indifferent attitude towards us.’’

Officials say the Administration is committed to provide individual power connections to slum dwellers who were on electoral rolls before December 8, 1996. In case of houses outside the limits of the lal dora nothing can be done till the limits of the lal dora are extended. This in itself is a cumbersome process which needs intervention from the Central Government.

Sources say it is baffling to have two policies for these two sets of residents — in villages and in slums. And interestingly people living in villages are virtually running after the Electricity Department to get a connection. In the case of slum dwellers it is the other away round. Sources say the Administration is virtually on its knees in dealing with slum dwellers.

A government employee living in his own house built a few years ago outside the lal dora of the village questions ‘‘does this mean the Administration will reward and frame favourable policies for lawless people while ignoring common law-abiding people ?’’

How the two policies work 

For people living outside lal dora
Not entitled to get an individual power connection. A group of residents have to approach the Administration collectively to take one bulk connection from a designated point fixed by the Electricity Department and distribute power among themselves on their own through their own cable network. The department has nothing to do with the residents in case of breakdowns beyond the tap-off point of bulk power, problems of cable, distribution and bill disputes. All the department does is to collect the bill of the power consumed at the tap-off point of the bulk connection.

In the case of slum dwellers
Are entitled to an individual power connection. The Chandigarh Administration has decided to provide connections at the doorstep as it does in the case of sector-level development. All breakdowns and problems of distribution are handled by the Administration.



Unidentified man killed in Sec 17 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30 
A man was murdered by being hit on the head with a brick in Sector 17 this morning. The victim was found in an unconscious state near the bushes on the path between the Sector 17 police station and the Football Stadium. He later succumbed to his injuries in the PGI.

It is learnt that an unidentified man was found lying in an unconscious state by a few passers-by near the bushes at around 8.30 a.m. As a few people gathered around the dying man, the in charge of the Neelam police post, Mr Ramesh Chand, too, came there on a routine patrol.

The police officer managed to rush the victim to the PGI for treatment. The man died at around 10.55 a.m. The police has, however, so far been unable to identify the deceased. When contacted, the ASP (Central), Mr H.G.S Dhaliwal, said that as many as seven police parties had been dispatched to various colonies with the photographs of the deceased and allout efforts were on to identify the deceased.

It is learnt that the victim had been hit on his head and near the ears. The police also found a brick and a stone smeared with blood, lying near the victim.

Though the police was unable to find any signs of identification from the person of the victim, it found a slip of an STD booth. Upon making inquiries, the police was able to locate the STD booth in Mani Majra. The slip also had something scribbled in Urdu. The STD booth owner told the police that the owner of daily needs shop in the vicinity was well versed in Urdu.

The shop owner, when contacted by the police, reportedly said that his brother was the one who knew the language and could have written on the slip. He, however, read out the scribbling as 30 packet soap.

Mr Dhaliwal said that the police would compare the handwriting on the slip with the handwriting of the brother of the shop owner.

The deceased was wearing a striped shirt and pants and was sporting a moustache. The police maintain that the victim looked like a migrant labourer.

The police has registered a case under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC which was later changed to Section 302 and 34 of the IPC.


Dodgers to be issued traffic violation information slips
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Perturbed over the large-scale violation of the traffic rules regarding the use of mobile phones and smoking and the failure to nab a sizeable number the accused, the city traffic police has decided to issue traffic violation information slips (TVIS) to all accused who to flee.

A direction to this effect was issued verbally to all the challan officers in the city traffic police here today. Confirming this, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Traffic, Mr S.S. Randhawa, said that this order was issued keeping in view the large number of such violators escaping the police net.

Thus all such violators who manage to escape while disobeying the High Court directions should now be wary of the traffic police personnel if they manage to take note of their vehicle’s registration number. The police after finding the ownership of the vehicles will be issuing notices to the owners under Section 133 of the Motor Vehicles Act and asking the violator to face the challan in the city traffic lines.

It may be recalled that it was on the orders of Mr Justice Swantantar Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the use of mobile phones and smoking while driving were prohibited. The directions to this effect were issued to the concerned officials in Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The court had also banned the use of black films. Pronouncing the directions in the Traffic Violation and Pollution Control Case, Mr Justice Kumar had held that the violators would be liable to be proceeded against the Contempt of Court Act.

According to the figures available from the police, there has been a sharp hike in the number of such challans over the past three years. In 1999, 306 people were challaned for smoking while driving, which rose to 1794 in the year 2000. Till today, as many as 141 persons have been taken to task during this year.

In case of violators of the rules regarding the use of cellular phone while driving, as many as 46 violators were challaned in the year 1999, 368 in the year 2000 and 20 challans have been issued till date in the city.

Senior traffic police officials concede that most of the people using mobile phones and smoking while driving are difficult to get by as they do not indulge in this violation near the major crossings and intersections, where the traffic police personnel are stationed.

Also, the amount charged as challan being quite nominal for most violators, provides another reason for lack of deterence. “A fine of a meagre Rs 100 is charged to the violators and is payable on the spot. This means that the violators are also saved the trouble of having to go to the Traffic and Security Lines or the court for paying their challans, which also fails to deter them from carrying on to suit their conveniences”, said a senior police officer. 


Puranjit posted city CE
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh March 30
Mr Puranjit Singh, Chief Engineer, Municipal Corporation, was tonight posted as Chief Engineer Chandigarh Administration, while the Superintending Engineer Municipal Corporation, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, was posted as Chief Engineer MC.

Both officials will hold current duty charge, which means they will work as Chief Engineers but without official promotion. Mr Puranjit Singh replaces Mr R.K. Jain, who retires tomorrow. The departmental promotion committee (DPC) to select a Chief Engineer for the Administration is scheduled to be held on April 16. This will be held as per the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) guidelines.

Meanwhile, Mr Krishanjit Singh, an XEN, has been posted SE on current duty charge replacing Mr Kuldip Singh.


Two suspended in octroi evasion case
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 30
Even as two employees of the octroi wing of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council were today suspended by the president of the civic body in connection with their involvement in yesterday’s case of evasion of octroi at the Sohana octroi collection post, the Local Government Department marked an enquiry into the case by its Vigilance Cell.

The two clerks, Rakesh and Sucha Singh, had allowed a truck carrying plastic granules to pass without paying octroi of around Rs 10,000. The truck carrying the consignment was seized by members of the local truck union in Industrial Area, Phase 7 here after the driver of the truck, Joginder Pal was assaulted by the owner of a unit.

The truck was escorted to the factory from the octroi naka no. 5 at Sohana by a motorcyclist ( no. CH 03C 2334) to the factory on the night of March 28.

When news about the evasion of octroi spread, the owner of the factory, in connivance with the officials of the civic body, deposited the fee at Balongi Octroi naka no. 1 yesterday.

The councillors of the opposition, led by Mr S.S. Patwari had alleged that the Executive Officer did not visit the spot even after being informed about the incident. The superintendent in charge had even reported that no truck or consignment was found at the site , said Mr Patwari.

Enquires revealed that every effort was made to hush up the case.


2 crusaders to get Neerja Bhanot Award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Two crusaders for women’s rights, Ms Alice Garg of Jaipur and Ms Ashamma from Karni village in Andhra Pradesh, have been selected for the prestigious Neerja Bhanot Award - 2000. Both will get a citation, a trophy and Rs 1.5 lakh at a special ceremony to be organised next month.

The awards, instituted in the memory of Neerja Bhanot, an air hostess who gave up her life while saving hundreds of passengers on board a Pan Am aircraft hijacked in Karachi in 1986, were decided by a specially constituted jury comprising Mr Hari Jaisingh, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune group, Mr M. Sarin, a reputed advocate and former Solicitor-General of Haryana, and Mr Harold Carver, an educationist.

Neerja Bhanot is the only woman recipient of India’s highest peace time gallantry award, Ashok Chakra.

According to a statement issued by the Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust, Ms Garg (61) has been the epitome of courage under adverse circumstances and a relentless campaigner for the rights of women and the oppressed. She is secretary of the Bal Rashmi Society and has helped more than 178 women in cases involving atrocities, rape, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, discrimination and divorce.

She has been bringing to the attention of the nation crimes against women and even faced the wrath of a political party, which tried to implicate her in several criminal cases. The cases against her were later dismissed or withdrawn.

Ms Ashamma, a 35-year-old illiterate agricultural labourer, has been working to put an end to the practice of “jogini” — a system where women are married off to the village deity and used by men of the village to gratify their sexual desires.

Ms Ashamma, who was forced to become a “jogini” at the age of nine years, left her village some years later after giving birth to a daughter. She joined the Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samatha Society and started working in Mahabubnagar. Influenced by various issues discussed in the forum, especially about the need for women to enhance their self-confidence and fearlessly demand their rights, she decided that she would never work as a “jogini”.

Even though she faced economic hardships, she remained firm in her resolve, and impressed with her attitude, the forum elected her as their leader in 1997. She has been carrying out her work and been a source of inspiration to many women striving to save themselves from this practice.


Mission to improve Senior Citizens Home ends in fiasco
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
“Room of peace. Negative talk prohibited,” proclaims the notice pasted on the front door of the living room of Justice Surinder Singh, a former Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at his residence in Sector 9. But Justice Surinder Singh is hardly at peace with himself these days. The unceremonious manner in which he was forced to quit the Senior Citizens Home, Sector 43-C, within a month of moving in there for setting up a base for “Helpline for Older Persons” in Chandigarh has upset him.

Justice Surinder Singh was recently appointed Zila Aadhar Member for UT by the National Council for Older Persons established by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. He was informed some time ago that consequent upon the announcement of national policy on older persons by the Government of India, some socially committed individuals and organisations had been identified, who would be willing to provide assistance to senior citizens, whether of legal, medical or social nature. These individuals would be a network to form voluntary action groups and to operate as a local helpline for older persons.

The appointment did not carry any emoluments or perks of any nature whatsoever and was purely voluntary in nature. Neither any infrastructure nor other assistance was to be provided to the Zila Aadhar member so identified, who was to act absolutely with his own financial resources. The appointments, says Justice Surinder Singh, was thus more of an honour than anything else. Senior citizens home which was in the process of becoming functional could take off in the near future provided the persons who could make effective use of the same were motivated to do both from the economical and psychological angle.

With this mission in mind, he had gone ahead to apply for accommodation in the Home and to set up kind of a base to render whatever assistance was required by way of help to the inmates as also the prospective candidates at the spot.

During his stay in the Home for about a month, he tried his best to arrange things and create an atmosphere which should provide a “soul” to the body i.e. the building and bricks and mortar called Senior Citizens Home. He convened a meeting of a small group of persons and organisation in the Home on March 3 which was presided over by Ms Madhavi Kataria, Managing Director, Child and Women Development Corporation. Those who responded and attending the meeting appreciated the effort and promised all help but it turned out to a mere lip service.

He was signatory to a joint request made by the occupants of the Home for certain amenities, improvements and reduction in the tariff but nothing was heard from the Administration.

The story of the Resident Manager for the Home having felt morally compelled to shell out from his own pocket a paltry sum of Rs 124 (which was initially spent by Justice Surinder Singh and was later refunded) did not speak well about the whole affair. With this type of a precedent, he could hardly expect any sympathetic approach from the Administration to carry out the mission assigned to him.

Recently, he was asked to arrange some activity in the shape of a cultural evening. The function was held on March 18 and was well-attended by the elite of Chandigarh as well as many senior citizens. What was disappointing was the fact that the Home authorities did not agree to offer even a simple cup of tea to the invitees. The result was that three occupants of the Home alongwith Col Kulbir Singh in his personal capacity had to pool together to pay the sum of Rs 460 for expenses incurred on the function.

Swami Mitrananda of the Chinmaya Mission, Bombay, was invited by the Administration to address the Senior Citizens on “Ageing Gracefully” on March 27. In spite of short notice, the turnout was sizeable. But before the function, the Resident Manager announced that even though the Administration was hosting the visit, not a single penny would be spent for this purpose.

The result was that Justice Surinder Singh and another person were forced to arrange the formalities of receiving the spiritual dignitary, offering them a cup of tea each and some “prasad”. To add insult to injury and in disregard of the protocol towards the visiting speaker, not a single representative of the Administration cared to attend the function. All this left Justice Surinder Singh with no option but to withdraw from the Home.

Justice Surinder Singh said although he had quit the Home, he would still want that immediate steps should be taken to infuse the missing “soul” in the “body” of bricks and mortar by making it a place of dignified living by the aged, instead of a commercial enterprise.


Lending a hand to the small farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Farmers with large land holdings, especialy from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh, have emerged as major beneficiaries of the bank loans for agricultural growth in the region.

These remarks were made by Dr B.S. Ghumman, Department of Public Administration, in a working session on “Globalisation, WTO trade and related issues” organised by the CIDS at Panjab University here today.

Dr Ghumman said in case of long term loans, the medium and large farmers had cornered maximum share of bank loans. Small and marginal farmers had to depend on informal sector services. As a policy matter, the banks needed to strike a balance on loan service between different categories.

Dr Gopal Iyer, Department of Sociology, presented a paper on ‘Dilemma of small farmers in Punjab’. He made a comparative study of rural services in Andhra Pradesh, Karnatka and Punjab. He said that 70 per cent of the total suicides were in cases of small and marginal farmers during 1990-98.

Mr P.K. Aggarwal, a joint project director from the Ministry of Agriculture, spoke on how World Bank assisted programmes had improved the living standards of targeted local population groups.

Dr S.S. Somra, University of Rajasthan, pointed out that small farmers could not sustain themselves on their small farms. They had to depend on non-farm earnings. The future looked gloomier with further decrease in land holdings.

Dr Manjeet Kalra emphasised that small farmers should not be taken as producers only, they should be visualised as human beings who have aspirations and expectations in today’s world. She suggested that agricultural tax should be imposed on big farmers and the revenue generated should be utilised for helping the small farmers.

Dr O.P. Gaur, former head, Indian Farm Forestry Development Corporation, presented a paper on ‘Opportunities for small farmers in agro-farm forestry’. His paper was based on the experiment of agro-forestation in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. As many as 143 societies, which were ‘self-help groups’ had been formed. The membership was 24,175. The societies developed wastelands and grew medicinal and fruit trees. The benefits were shared between them.

Among the leading speakers were Dr (Mrs) Vipla Chopra, Punjabi University; Mrs Madhu Gill, chairperson of the National Bee Corporation; Prof S.P. Singh, Panjab University; Dr Sashi Jain, Dr G.S. Dhillon and V.K. Mahajan besides others.


Tipnis arrives at Air Force Station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal A. Y. Tipnis arrived at the Chandigarh Air Force Station on a two-day inspection today. He was accompanied by Ms Molina Tipnis, president, Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA).

According to a statement issued here today, the Air Chief on his arrival at the airfield was received by the Air Officer Commanding, No.12 Wing, Air Cmde V. S. Govindarajan, Air Officer Commanding, No.3 Base Repair Depot, Air Cmde Ambrish Kumar, Major General Air Defence Artillery, Western Command, Maj Gen Veerpal Singh and other senior officers. Ms Tipnis was received by Ms Geeta Govindarajan and Ms Reeta Kumar, presidents of AFWWA units of 12 Wing and 3 BRD respectively.

A mess function was organised at the Officers’ mess and the senior NCOs Mess in the evening. The Air Chief will inspect No.12 Wing and No.3 Base Repair Depot tomorrow. He will also address Air Force personnel at the station. Ms Molina Tipnis is scheduled to go around the Air Force camp to see the ongoing welfare activities being conducted by AFWWA. She will also visit schools located in the camp and address AFWWA members.


Discussion on Citizens' charter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
A discussion on the Citizens' charter was organised by the Nodel Centre of Adult Education Department, Chandigarh Administration, at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, here today. About 100 women participated in the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Surinder Verma, Chairman of the Citizen Awareness Group, Chandigarh, said the charter was one of the most important administrative techniques to make the standard of public service more explicit and visible in tune with the expectations of the citizens.

He exhorted the audience to own responsibility of educating at least one illiterate person of the area.


Villagers to light diyas
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 30
In the light of quashing of notification for acquiring land for the Anandgarh project by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, member of the Anandgarh Hatao Sanjhi Sangarsh Committee have decided to light diyas to express their happiness.

A spokesman of the committee said villagers would express their gratitude to the Mata of Janti Majri temple for listening to their prayers for not being dislocated from the area.

A procession would be taken from Mullanpur to the Janti Majri temple on April 1, he added.


Oram to visit city today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Mr Jeol Oram, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, will visit Chandigarh tomorrow to attend an All-India Tribal Students Association function.

The minister will be given a warm welcome by BJP leaders and workers including BJP councillors led by Mr Dharam Paul Gupta, president, at the railway station.


PO held after 23 years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Almost 23 years after a case of fraud was registered against him, the local police claimed to have nabbed a proclaimed offender this evening.

A resident of Phillaur, Tarsem Lal, was apprehended from the Sector 17 bus stand by a team from the Sector 36 police station.

According to police sources, a case under Sections 420 and 120 of the Indian Penal Code was registered against him in 1978.

He, along with several other persons, had allegedly been involved in running an immigration racket and had duped some people of money.

He had later moved to Nakodar in Punjab and following a tip-off was caught by the Chandigarh police.


Servant at it again!
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 30
Three occupants of a house in Phase 2 were heavily drugged by a Nepali servant and robbed of their valuables last night. A German Shephard dog of the owner of the house was also drugged by the robber.

The servant, Raju, was engaged 15 days ago, after their regular servant, Subash, went on leave. The victims, Mr Gurcharan Singh, his wife, Ms Rajinder Kaur and son, Dr Sandeep Singh, a Medical Officer in Kiratpur Sahib, were admitted at the Phase 6 Civil Hospital by their neighbours this morning.

The neighbours came in when Dr Sandeep after regaining consciousness, sought help. Investigations by the police revealed that a brother of the servant, also called Raju, had also committed theft of electronic items from a factory (no. D 159) of his employer in Industrial Area, Phase 8, last night. Both the brothers reportedly escaped together after committing robberies at their respective employers’ place.

Dr Sandeep Singh said he, along with his family, took dinner as usual, but started feeling giddy and went to sleep. When he woke up in the morning, he found the almirahs had been ransacked. He said he was yet to ascertain the loss. The servant was smart enough to drug the dog.

A police official said a servant verification survey in the area had been completed a few days ago and they had the record of the earlier servant, Subash with them. But the owners of the house failed to furnish the details of the new servant. A case under Sections 380, 457 and 408 of the IPC had been registered and was being investigated.


Motorcyclist hits cop on naka duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
A traffic police constable on naka duty was hit by a motor-cyclist at a turning near Guru Nanak Public School in Sector 37 here this morning. He sustained a fracture in the right leg and has been admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

It is learnt that constable Raghbir Singh was on a naka duty under ASI Sohan Singh in Sector 37 this morning when he asked a motor-cyclist to stop by for routine checking. However, the other person banged into the constable and the latter fell off.

The police immediately arrested the motor-cyclist, Baljit Singh, a resident of Sector 37 and the motor cycle (PB-26B-5181) has also been impounded.


Two cases of theft have been reported from different parts of the city. A car stereo was reportedly stolen from a car (CH-01Q-2174) on March 27 night, while it was parked at the residence of the owner, Mr Dheeraj Mittal, in Sector 43-B.

In another case, some miscreants had stolen a rear tyre and rim of a jeep ( CH-03C-7028) while it was parked in front of the residence of Mr R.P. Bhatia on March 28 night at Burail village.

In both incidents, the police has registered cases under Sections 379 of the IPC.


Two silver statues were stolen from the factory premises of Mr B.K. Singla in the Industrial Area (Phase I) on March 28 night after breaking open the lock. A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.


Vishal Bharti was allegedly assaulted by Gopal and his brother, Nitti, at the Shiv Shakti Mandir in Sector 30 last evening. A case under Sections 452 and 323 of the IPC has been registered at the Industrial Area police station.

Three held

Somy and Ashok Chopra were arrested by the police from Colony No. 5 on the charges of apprehension of a breach of the peace.

In another case, Arun Sharma was booked by the police under various sections of the Police Act while he was creating nuisance at a public place in an inebriated condition.

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