Saturday, April 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Centre rejects UT demand for 313 teachers
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, April 6
Education services in the city will suffer in the future. The Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) has rejected the demand of the Chandigarh Administration for the creation of 313 posts of teacher in government schools in the Union Territory.

The Government of India, citing instructions of Ministry of Finance, on austerity measures has decided to defer the proposal for creation of even 313 posts, said well placed sources in the Administration.

The decision of the MHRD would have far-reaching consequences as planned opening of new schools and upgradation of existing primary middle and high schools was envisaged in the 9th plan proposals for 1997-2002. ‘‘ All this would now remain on paper as an exercise in futility’’ said an official.

It would be difficult to assess its long-term negative social and political consequences. The Director, Public Instructions (DPI), Schools, was not available for comments on the issue.

The Chandigarh Administration had asked the Government of India about two years back for creation of 313 posts of teacher and other staff needed for newly opened and upgraded government schools during 1997-1998 and also on account of increase in enrolment over a number of years.

This was based on the calculations made on enrolment as on March 31, 1999. According to the norms fixed by the Government of India under its education policy of 1986, the teacher-pupil ratio had to be to 1:40 to make curriculum teaching effective. Going by these calculations, at least 550 posts are needed in Chandigarh.

More and more schools are being upgraded but teachers are being employed on a part-time basis, leading to lack of continuity in education. From time to time during the past two years innumerable queries have been raised by MHRD. The Education Department of the Administration has been justifying it and even the Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), made a personal intervention in the matter.

However, the requirement for additional posts of teacher as on date is believed to have been assessed for approximately 550 posts.

School principals and educationists in the city are amused at the attitude of the babus in Delhi’s corridors of power who consider even education of youth as luxury!

The men who matter in Delhi have shown total bankruptcy of ideas in the new millennium when every where the talk is about creating a knowledge based society, said a senior teacher.


Police remand for Jerath
Our Correspondent

A big question mark was put on the dismal security arrangement of the district courts yet again today when former UT Chief Engineer K.K Jerath was produced in a court at 11.30 am Not even one security personnel was present there. Even the metal detector at the entrance was not there.

The security arrangement are particularly lax during Sundays and other holidays when neither the metal detectors or any security personnel are present in the vicinity of the court premises. Otherwise also, the security personnel are deployed at the entrance gate during the working hours on weekdays. The metal detector is also installed only during the working hours.

Chandigarh, April 6
In less than two weeks after Chandigarh’s former Chief Engineer K.K. Jerath was released from the Burail Jail following the grant of bail by the Supreme Court, he was remanded in police custody till April 9 by a local court after being arrested in yet another case registered a year ago by the UT Vigilance Department.

The case, under the Prevention of Corruption Act, pertains to alleged misuse of official position in utilising the services of 15 workers of the Engineering Department at his official residence, besides using two official vehicles for personal work.

Jerath, according to sources in the Police Department, was taken into custody yesterday in the case after he reached the Sector 9 vigilance police station in connection with another pending inquiry.

Today, arguing before the Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr Ajay Singal, the public prosecutor sought police remand for five days. He stated that custodial interrogation of the accused was required as the former CE was to be confronted with the record taken into possession by them.

Opposing the plea, defence counsel said the CE had surrendered to the jurisdiction of the Special Judge in the same case twice earlier also but was not taken into custody by the prosecution claiming that he was not required.

He also stated that an attempt was being made to prolong the detention of the accused. The case, he stated, was registered while the accused was in judicial custody as the prosecution was expecting his release on bail in four other cases registered against him.

Counsel added that Jerath, as apprehended, was arrested after being released on bail with a view to harass him. The Supreme Court, he added, had observed in their detailed order that the accused had already been in custody since November 27, 1998.

Appearing before the Magistrate, Jerath read out the apex court orders granting him bail in the other four cases. He added that it was impossible for him to tamper with the records as he had already been dismissed from service.


Admn yet to notify freehold policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Thousands of city residents, who have been waiting several years for the commencement of a scheme to convert leasehold property into freehold, may have to wait a little longer as the Chandigarh Administration is yet to formally notify the policy which will lay down the rules and guidelines to carry through the scheme.

Last month the Union Ministry of Urban Affairs allowed the Administration to start the scheme for conversion of property from leasehold to freehold. Under this even General Power of Attorney (GPA) holders could get residential property changed to their own names by first paying a fixed conversion charge and also 12.50 per cent of the present market value as stamp duty. This made residents have a sigh of relief, especially among GPA holders.

Sources in the Estate Office and the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) — the two agencies which will implement the scheme at the ground level — say all aspects like formulas to calculate the market value, stamp duty, papers for executing the conveyance deed in favour of the GPA holder are ready.

The necessary notification is a waited and without this nothing can start. Hundreds of city residents have been approaching the Estate Office and the CHB for the past three days as the Administration had promised through newspapers that the scheme will start in first week of April. Officials at the Estate Office and the CHB say ‘‘We are helpless without a notification’’.

The Estate Office will deal with members of public concerning plots and the CHB in case of flats or land allotted on chunk basis to cooperative societies for further allotment to society members.

Sources say the most worried lot are the GPA holders. It may be recollected that the scheme had come in 1996, however, the GPA holders were not being considered . A committee under the chairmanship of Ms Meenakshi Dutta Ghosh, the then Chairperson, was formed. The committee recommended the deletion of provisions related to GPA holders.

Seeing the position that close to 20,000 residential properties had been sold on the GPA basis, the Administration again constituted a committee with the Finance Secretary as the Chairman.

Meanwhile, CHB flat owners are pressing the CHB to delete the clause which asks the allottees to remove all violations. Allottees and GPA holders are seeking permission to allow need based changes. Sources say the CHB may not be averse in allowing need-based changes but will not allow any kind of construction which may endanger the super structure.

More than 20,000 persons own flats under the LIG, MIG, HIG or the independent housing schemes launched by the CHB since 1979. Another 5,000 flats are coming up under the cooperative housing scheme. Thousands of residents own leasehold plots allotted since 1973.


Court of inquiry may be doctored: pilot’s father
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Five months after an Mi-8 chopper crashed in the Rann of Kutch, killing its pilot, Sqn Ldr Anil Sharma, and some BSF, officials, the pilot’s father has expressed fear over the IAF possibly doctoring the court of inquiry and apportioning blame on his son.

Stating that the family had not received any benefits so far, Mr H.P. Sharma, talking to TNS here today, said he had written to the IAF authorities several times but no reply had come so far.

He said while there were indications of the chopper having been shot, his correspondence with the IAF authorities suggested that it was taking a different stance.

It may be recalled that on November 12, 2000, an IAF helicopter carrying a BSF party headed by DIG S.C. Yadav had crashed “mysteriously” after it descended to check out several boats spotted in the creek. Squadron Leader Sharma, DIG Yadav and four other BSF officials were killed. The chopper, which had taken off from Koteshwar, was flying “at least” 10 km inside the Indian territory. Almost 28 hours after it “lost contact”, its wreckage was located 17 km inside the Indian territory — about 10 km from the place where a Pakistani Atlantique spy plane was brought down by IAF fighters in 1999.

Maintaining that all clues and statements of survivors indicate that the chopper had been shot by the enemy, Mr Sharma, who had served with the IAF before joining the customs and central excise, said he had written several letters to the AOC-in-C, South Western Air Command (SWAC), in this regard.

Stating that he had highlighted the statements made by the co-pilot, survivors and the Air Chief, suggesting that it was shot, Mr Sharma said he had addressed a number of questions to the IAF, which related to the wreckage and the manner in which the helicopter crashed and its technical specifications.

He said so far none of his queries had been answered, although a letter from the Senior Air Staff Officer, SWAC, ruled out enemy action, stating that human error had not been ruled out.

Mr Sharma said while the IAF had claimed it to be a routine sortie, the fact that it was undertaken on a Sunday and carried a high-level BSF team indicated otherwise.

He said he had written to the IAF that he was willing to appear before the court of inquiry to demonstrate how the chopper was hit by a missile or brought down by high pressure waves created by a passing missile.


“No rift” between BJP, RSS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The damage caused to the image of the Atal Behari Vajpayee government by the expose notwithstanding, the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ms Sushma Swaraj, today questioned the genuineness and motive behind the tapes, saying that these could be manipulated.

Addressing a press conference at the Chandigarh Press Club, Ms Swaraj said if the motive was to expose corruption in the system, then it was a welcome step. However, if the motive was to malign certain political parties the extent of damage the expose had done could not be gauged, she said while adding that the inquiry report would bring out the truth before the public.

Answering a question on the “unprecedented” address to the nation by the former Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, the Minister clarified that it was Mr Fernandes’ statement which was first recorded by Doordarshan. It had news value and that was why the other TV channels had shown it later on.

On the reported differences between the BJP and the RSS in the wake of the expose, the Minister claimed that the matter was being confused and there were no differences as she had personally met the RSS chief. Similarly, the NDA allies were one on the issue and the expose had not had any effect on the image of the government, she replied.

When asked whether the expose had brought corruption into focus, pushing the issues of poverty and unemployment to the background, she blamed the Congress for the problems of poverty and unemployment for all these years.

On the removal of Mr Brajesh Mishra, National Security Adviser, and Mr N.K. Singh, a top official in the PMO, she asserted that the Prime Minister had the prerogative to appoint and retain his officials. Anyway both officials were not directly involved in the deal and there was only a passing reference to their names in the tapes.

Answering a query on the setting up of the Media Council, she said the need for its formation had been felt as there was no forum for the electronic media to raise its problems. When the Press Council was formed there was no electronic media, she said while promising “more independence and more teeth” to the Press Council.

Earlier, she was presented the club memento by the president, Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu.


Give your best to the country: Sushma
Tribune News Service

Mrs Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, interacts with students of MCM DAV College, Sector 36
Mrs Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, interacts with students of MCM DAV College, Sector 36, in Chandigarh on Friday. 
— Tribune photo Pankaj Sharma

Chandigarh April 6
“Marg mein shool athah ho, phir bhi chalne ki chah ho,

Aage hi badti jaye, javani usko kehte hain,

apna tat aap banae, ravani usko kehte hain.”

As Sushma Swaraj, Central Minister of Information and Broadcasting, ended the convocation address at the 29th annual convocation of MCM DAV College, Sector 36, here today, a thundering applause echoed against the walls of the thousand something auditorium of the college.

As many as 683 graduates of the college received their degrees today at the function, the highlight of which was doubtlessly the convocation address delivered in impeccable Hindi by Ms Swaraj in a style of her own. Starting on an informal note she told why she had decided not to give a written speech which she though might also “bore” the students who after having received their degrees are in a hurry to go back home and show their degrees or waiting to share their experiences with their friends, meeting them after an year.

“I will share with you certain lessons which I have learnt in life and in the tradition of the Gurukul where the convocation address was the message of the guru to his students of what will help them go through life successfully, I too hope these will help you lead your lives successfully.” she said. Ms Swaraj went on to say that no individual in life is able to get all he wants. But to think that what we have not got is the end of life is wrong. “You should never believe that you have reached the end of the road as there is no end to the road.” said Ms Swaraj. “Whatever you take up in life, do it with self-confidence and give your best to it. Nothing is worse than putting in half-hearted efforts. And lastly, remember that in life whenever you choose your life partner always look for what are the areas of common interest between the two of you, not the differences. Work together She also said that women were in no way weaker than men. “The west which projects itself as nations who have given equality to women have never produced a single woman head of state. It is only in South Asia where we have had six heads of states, the men of these nations have accepted women as leaders and this is a fact which is important.”

Panjab University Vice Chancellor, Prof K. N. Pathak, who was the guest of honour at the occasion, gave away 142 honours degrees to students in various subjects while 374 students were awarded degrees in humanities, 42 in commerce and 125 in science by the College Principal Ms Usha Gupta. Confusion in awarding these degrees led to many students getting the wrong degrees which was later corrected after the guests had left.

The chief guest also gave away special prizes to 12 students for getting top positions in Panjab University Examinations and extraordinary achievements in co-curricular activities. These include Ms Anjana Goenka, Ms Poonam, Ms Prerna Isa Das, Ms Manpreet Kaur, Ms Vibhuti Gaur, Ms Jasneet, Ms Nimrata Bindra, Ms Preeti Aggarwal, Ms Umang Bishnoi, Ms Rajni Sharma, Ms Aadhika Bhullar, Ms Shilpi Bansal, Ms Adarsh Walia, Ms Vandana Rani, Ms Navjot Sran and Ms Ritu Sharma.

Earlier, the Principal of the college read the annual report of the college. 


Wife dies, husband has 95 pc burns
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 6
A couple in Indira Colony, near Manimajra, allegedly tried to commit suicide after setting themselves on fire here this morning. Both of them sustained severe burn injuries and the woman was declared dead at the PGI. The husband was said to be fighting for life with 95 per cent burn injuries.

According to information, Ranbir Singh and Nirmla poured kerosene on themselves before setting themselves on fire at about 10 am. Neighbours rushed the couple to the PGI where Nirmla was declared dead. According to the police the reason behind the reported suicide could not be ascertained.


“Teachings of Mahavir continue to be relevant”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The teachings, ideals and principles enunciated by Lord Mahavir continue to be relevant for the emancipation of humanity from mental agony and tension.

This was stated today by the Haryana Governor, Babu Parmanand, while speaking as the chief guest at the 2,600th birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir organised by the Digambar Jain Society here at the Digambar Jain Mandir. Ms Sudesh Kumari, wife of the Governor, also accompanied him at this function.

Babu Parmanand said: “The main teachings of Lord Mahavir were live and let live, non-violence, never hurt anyone by your deeds and discourage and always avoid evil of back-biting, and there should be no difference in your deeds and words. If we follow truly even one or two teachings of Lord Mahavira in our life, it would be a true obeisance to this great soul and this will also lead our life to happiness and self-realisation.”

Earlier, the Governor paid his obeisance to Lord Mahavir by lighting lamps. Mr Sat Pal Jain, former M.P. of Chandigarh, also highlighted the main teachings of Lord Mahavir and said the Central Government was celebrating 2001 year as Lord Mahavir Jayanti year which would be a great inspiration for one and all, especially the younger generation of the country.

Other dignitaries present at the function included Justice V.M.Jain, Justice S.K.Jain, Mayor of the city, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, president of Digambar Jain Society, Mr Supras Jain, other prominent persons of the Jain society. The Governor also hoisted the flag of Mahavir Jayanti celebrations to mark the beginning of the function.Back


Meaty confusion on meatless day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The sudden zeal of the UT Administration to observe ‘Meatless Day’ on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti today put a large number of meat-eaters and hoteliers in the city to inconvenience as no non-vegetarian items were served today. The hotels, restaurants and other establishments under the Administration were only yesterday asked to observe the day as Ahimsa Divas by not serving any non-vegetarian items.

The hoteliers and restaurants observed the day much against their wishes and resented the same on account of the losses most of them incurred due to last minute verbal notices. Most of them, when contacted, said that no official orders were handed over to them in writing and they were informed either by the food inspectors or through telephone. It being a Friday night, which is the beginning of a prime weekend ahead, the hospitality industry in the city did suffer a setback. But, prestigious Golf Club, Sector 6, allegedly served non-vegetarian food in the afternoon. However, the club officials denied the same. Dr Jaideep Chadha said, “we were not aware of any such orders for we did not receive any circular, but when a senior member of the The Tribune pointed it out to us, we issued necessary directions immediately not to serve any meat preparations thereafter.” The others clubs in the city, however, observed the orders.

The last minute orders, however, put scores of hoteliers and restaurant owners to inconvenience as they had to cancel their party orders on account of the customers wanting non-vegetarian items in their party menu. Hotel Sunbeam in Sector 22 had to cancel two such major parties today. Manager (Operations), Mr Dheeraj Punj, said that a party to be hosted by a pharmaceutical company had to be cancelled, since the delegates from far off places like Mumbai, Madras had already arrived and the concerned party decided to look for an alternative in Haryana, where no such directions were issued. Besides, this another private party scheduled for the evening had to be postponed. This meant a loss to the tune of of Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 during the day. Hotel Park Inn, Sector 35, was also forced to cancel one party. They were of the view that had the notice come well in time, they would not have booked a party for the day.

Mr Manmohan Singh Kohli, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Chandigarh, when contacted said “all the units of the organised hospitality industry including leading hotels, restaurants, hot shoppes by and large complied with the orders of the Administration and did not sell any meat products in their respective out lets.” He however maintained that the Administration should have issued the necessary directions at least 2-3 days in advance so that the outlet owners could have organised themselves better and wastage, if any, could have been avoided. Nevertheless, all of us have tried our level best to respect law by observing the day in letter and spirit.

Even the chain of Hot Millions restaurants, which have the largest market share of walk-in-guests abided by the order by not selling any meat dish. Resenting the move, Mr Amanbir Singh said that had the orders been issued in time, we may have planned an interesting vegetarian menu to sustain the interest of the customers, who were disappointed on finding most of their favourite delicacies missing. He admitted that regular business was affected.

Two small get-togethers were cancelled in Ghazal restaurant also. “It was hard to convince people who kept repeating their demand for non-vegetarian items. I wish the authorities had given us the orders in writing so that we could show the same to pacify them,” said one of the managers. Some of them, who were not convinced by our arguments, just left the place in a huff to look for another place.

Mr Gurvinder Singh Juneja of Khyber in Sector 35 also said that though it is our duty to abide by the Administration orders, but the notice period was certainly not adequate. And as a non-vegetarian speciality restaurant, Khyber was perhaps among the worst affected.

Meanwhile, the food inspectors patrolled their respective areas only to ensure that no meat products are being sold. The orders had to be implemented by them under the supervision of the Director Health Services, UT, and the Medical Officer Health, MC, and they had been authorised to issue challans if someone was found violating the order.


23 CTCC activists held, released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The police today arrested 23 activists of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) while they were trying to show black flags to the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, at the railway station protesting against the government’s alleged role in a defence deal.

As soon as the minister arrived at the station, over 100 activists, carrying black flags, headed towards the station to boycott the minister. However, they were stopped by the police at the main road. The police had to use force to disperse the protesters and ultimately 23 activists were rounded up under Section 107 and 151 of the CrPC and later released.

Prominent among those arrested were Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, Mr Rajinder Deepa, Mr Ravinder Palli, Mr Rajesh Sharma, Mr Sanjeev Sharma, Mr HS Lucky, Mr Rakesh Sondhi, Mr Gurmeet Sehgal Monty, Mr Ashwani Pandu and Mr Surinder Sharma.

A press note alleged that on one hand the government was protecting the guilty and on the other hand arresting the peaceful demonstrators. By saying that the inquiry was on, the government was misleading the public. Nothing needed to be exposed now.

It may be recalled that the police had earlier registered a case on the basis of telephonic conversation in the match-fixing scandal. While this time, despite having the audio-visual support, the police was not registering the case, the press note added.Back


DD centre to be inaugurated on April 28
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh 6
After a long wait, the local Doordarshan Kendra will finally be inaugurated on April 28.

Announcing this at a press conference at the Chandigarh Press Club here today, the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ms Sushma Swaraj, said the inauguration had been delayed because sufficient staff had not been posted at the centre yet. “I want it to be operational the next day of the inauguration,” she quipped.

It may be recalled that the foundation stone of the kendra was laid by Ms Swaraj in 1998. The kendra is ready and awaiting inauguration for quite some time now.

In fact, a former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, during whose tenure the foundation stone was laid, had issued written statements several times saying that the kendra would be inaugurated soon. In one such statement, he had stated that it would be inaugurated by Ms Swaraj in the “first week of April”.

Later, addressing party workers at the BJP office in Sector 33, Ms Swaraj alleged that the tapes of the had been manipulated with a view to tarnish the image of the NDA Government. the president of the local unit of the party, Mr Dharam Paul Gupta, also spoke on the occasion.


FMD could claim up to 25 pc milk yield
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Loss of milk yield on account of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) or FMD-related sickness among cattle, which has been reported in certain parts of Punjab and Haryana in recent weeks, could be as high as up to 25 per cent, according to conservative estimates by dairy experts.

As a matter of fact, Punjab Milkfed has already reported a slight decline in arrivals at its milk collection centres in the state, though it could partly be due to the onset of the summer when the milk yield of cattle goes down generally. In Haryana, the decline, if any, is negligible so far.

Officially, both states maintain that FMD is “under control”. But the fact of the matter is that the disease is endemic in India, including Punjab and Haryana. FMD is an acute and exceedingly contagious viral disease of cloven-footed animals — cattle, including buffaloes, pigs, sheep and goats. It is characterised by high fever and the development of lesions in the mouth and the feet of the animals. Even though the fatality rate of FMD is low, it deserves to be taken note of seriously since it can cause serious loss in livestock industries and act as a major constraint to international trade in livestock and animal products.

The serious health implications of FMD and consequent economic loss arise in the after-affects of the disease. The condition of the affected animals deteriorate and they take time to recover because of secondary bacterial infection. The most serious affects seen in dairy animals on account of FMD is drop in the milk yield and abortions, decline in reproductive efficiency, infertility, etc.

The appearance of FMD is generally suppressed by the agencies concerned as a result of “conspiracy of silence” which suits all. Dairy farmers avoid reporting it because it would result in the rejection of their produce by consumers. Government veterinary officials in the field do not report it because they would be called upon to explain its appearance. And at the directorate level, the same “all-is-well” attitude is adopted for the same reason.

A case in point is the outbreak of FMD in Ghalot village in Ludhiana district two months ago. The first death caused by FMD occurred on February 23. On getting information of the disease, a team of experts from the state Animal Husbandry Institute, Jalandhar, went to the village the next day. The team visited Ghaloti, Bhaini Sahib and Kohara villages and collected samples from affected animals. The institute, after processing the samples, confirmed it to be FMD caused by the ‘O’ type of FMD virus.

This information and suitable control measures to be taken were conveyed telephonically to the Assistant Director (Animal Health), Ludhiana on February 28. Mr D.S. Jaspal, Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Punjab, also visited the village on March 9. The village has 2,300 animals. He met a number of farmers whose cattle had been affected by FMD. Enquiries revealed that infection had started in the second week of February. Though the sources of infection could not be confirmed, the farmers suspected that it was spread by an animal which had been purchased by a farmer from a wandering group of Rajasthani Gujjars.

About 178 animals were affected with this disease out of which 23 have died. Now the animals are in the recovery stage.

Mr Jaspal, in his report to the government, has noted that FMD has been endemic in Punjab as well as in the rest of country. It has been prevalent without causing fatalities or undue damage to the health of the animals. This is because of vigorous vaccination coverage — each animal is required to be vaccinated twice a year — as well as timely provision of antibacterial treatment to the animals whenever symptoms of the disease are detected.

Unfortunately, on account of financial constraints,the FMD vaccine supply has been steadily declining over the past four years as indicated below:

1997-98 33,76, 280 doses

1998-99 16,74, 810 doses

1999-2000 11,71, 030 doses

2000-2001 8,71, 000 doses.

It is clear that effectively, during 2000-2001, only 2.8 lakh doses of the vaccine were supplied up to February 22. Another 5.85 lakh doses supplied after February 22 would not have been able to make an impact on the current FMD situation. “It is, therefore of critical importance that funds for vaccination as well as medicines for FMD be released on a priority basis and restored to the levels of 1997-98 so as to provide appropriate vaccination/medical coverage to the lifestock of Punjab”, Mr Jaspal said. (To be concluded) 


Bains lays stone of artificial recharge of groundwater scheme
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Mr C.L. Bains, Financial Commissioner, Development, Punjab, laid the foundation stone of a scheme for artificial recharge of groundwater in Majra village, adjoining Chandigarh in tehsil Khara in Ropar district today.

The scheme will be executed by the Department of Soil and Water Conservation, Punjab, and will be financed by the Central Ground Water Board, Ministry of Water Resources.

In this scheme, the surplus rain water will be harvested from an area of 90 hectares by constructing a 10 metre high earthen dam and this water will be recharged to ground water in the tubewell command area at a site located 800 metres away from the dam. The water will be carried through underground pipeline and will be recharged to groundwater through two recharge wells each about 200 feet deep. About 280 million litres of water will be recharged to the ground water annually. The cost of the project will be Rs 27.85 lakh.

Mr Bains also inspected two more projects being constructed by the Soil and Water Conservation Department in Chhoti Bari Naggar village and Parol Naggar village in Majri block of Ropar district. These projects will cost Rs 17.80 lakh and Rs 18.34 lakh, respectively, and will recharge 500 million litres of water annually. The water for recharging will be available from the existing water harvesting dam constructed by the Soil and Water Conservation Department.

The three schemes will be completed and made functional before the onset of rainy season. These schemes will help to sustain the existing shallow tubewells of the farmers and will also increase their discharge. Apart from it, 50 more tubewells can run with the recharged water.

The Financial Commissioner, Development, addressed a public gathering at Majra village and advised the farmers to use the water judiciously and efficiently so that this precious resource could last for the future generation. He also spoke about the groundwater scenario in the state.

Mr Ramji Lal, Chief Conservator of Soils, Punjab, spoke about the programme of the Soil and Water Conservation Department being implemented in the state, especially the programme for the Kandi area of the state. He informed that 70 water harvesting dams had been constructed in the Kandi area. These had helped in checking flashfloods, erosion control and also helped in recharge of the groundwater.

He also said more such schemes of artificial recharge to ground water were being taken up in the Kandi area as this area had the largest scope for such projects because of the availability of abundance of water during rainy season which otherwise flows down the hills and cause a lot of damage in the lower areas.

Mr M. D. Nautyal, Regional Director, Central Ground Water Board (North West Region), Chandigarh, and Mr D.S. Saini, Senior Scientist of Central Ground water Board, were also present on the occasion. Mr Nautyal, while addressing the farmers said ground water development in Punjab was the highest in the country and this resource was depleting at an alarming rate.

If the remedial measures were not taken immediately, the ground water resources would deplete to a level where it would not be economical for the farmers to run tubewells. With this objective of replenishing ground water resources, the Central Ground Water Board had started pilot projects on artificial recharge to ground water.

The programme would be expended in a big way during the current year and mass awareness for saving the ground water resource would also be started.


PPCC leaders seek probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Leaders of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee have demanded a probe into the alleged case of harassment registered against the general secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Kuljit Singh Nagra, and his family member by the Ropar police. Mr Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, general secretary of the PPCC, said the harassment of the Congress leaders was the outcome of the baffled ruling of the SAD leadership.

Mr Rajinder Deepa, a former Punjab Youth Congress leader, said the role of the Ropar police was totally biased. He said the move of the police in registering an FIR against four persons and adding the name of Mr Nagra was itself questionable. He said he had given the charge of the Congress camp at Bhuj (Gujarat) to Mr Nagra on February 14 and his being in Ropar on March 2 — as per the FIR registered by the police — was totally false.

Mr Nagra said he was writing to the Director-General of Police to probe into the investigation being done by the Police in the case. However, the SSP, Ropar, Mr GPS Bhullar, held a press conference yesterday and refuted the allegations of Mr Nagra. He said there was a tussle between two groups engaged in quarrying on river beds. 


Rendering yeoman service to society
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, April 6
The Baba Mal Dass Charitable Trust, Dera Kehar Nizampur, Kumbra, here, is rendering yeoman service to society and among its contributions are sending substantial relief material to the quake-hit in Gujarat and organising free eye camps.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Baldev Singh, chairman of the trust, said four truckloads of relief material was sent for the quake victims and representatives of the trust distributed relief to the affected people. Now the trust was holding the fifth eye camp on April 8 in Phase IX where the patients would be examined and operations would be carried out on April 15 in Phase X. So far 550 free eye operations had been arranged by the trust.

He said the dera was being run on about four acres behind the Cricket Stadium. The dera was establised by Baba Mal Dass at the time of Guru Har Rai. Pilgrims bound for Hardwar used to stay at the dera. The trust was looking after the dera since 1996.

Mr Baldev Singh said the trust had opened a sewing school for women in Kumbra village. The first batch of 53 students had completed the six month course and the second batch was undergoing training.

Besides, the trust had engaged private tutors in the village to help students of classes VI to X who were weak in studies. Its other activities included the renovation of the samadhis of Baba Mal Dass and others, construction of a boundary wall around the dera, renovation of the pilgrims’ inn at the dera, providing sweaters and shoes to the needy students.

Jathedar Baldev Singh said the trust owned an ambulance which provided free service to accident victims in and around the town. The driver had a cell-phone (98141 08047) and could be contacted at any time.


MC workers’ unions thank Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Various unions of the local Municipal Corporation, have expressed their gratitude to a former Member of Parliament, Mr Satya Pal Jain, for taking up their demand of treating the transferred employees to MC on deputation with MC with the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani.

Mr Jain had, on March 30, taken a delegation of MC employees to New Delhi to discuss their demand with the Home Minister. The employees reportedly thanked Mr Advani for assuring them that he would take up the issue of necessary amendment in the Act at the earliest. These unions are Chandigarh Municipal Corporation ( CMC) Roads Workers Union; MC Mechanical Workers Union; Water Supply Employees Union; CMC Public Health Workers Union; CMC Horticulture Workers Union; Chandigarh Public Health Worker Union; Health Department Driver Workers Union; UT Building Maintenance Workers Union and MC Employees Union. Back


Councillor’s plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Congress councillor, Mrs Kamlesh has in a letter written to the Chief Engineer, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, requested that the community centre in Ram Durbar be furnished out of her ward development fund.

She has sought that funds be utilised for providing furniture, indoor games and weight-lifting equipment. This will help more people use the facility in this area.


Fraud in sale of property alleged
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 6
During the past 24 hours the local police registered two cases of cheating in sale of property.

Mr Ram Niwas, resident of Sector 21 alleged that Kanta Devi, a resident of Patiala sold him a plot in the Kajheri village here claiming that the said plot was under the lal dora. Mr Niwas in his complaint to the police claimed that after enquiries from the patwari concerned, he came to know that the plot lies outside the lal dora.

According to the police sources, the sale deed was fixed for Rs 3 lakh and the complainant had paid a token amount equivalent to Rs 1 lakh to Kant Devi. After preliminary enquires, the police registered a case under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. The police is making further investigations in the case.

In the second complaint, Mr Show Ram Jain, a resident of Sector 23, reported to the police that he paid Rs 2 lakh on February 15, 2000 as a token money for the purchase of a half share of H No 59, Sector 21 to Girdhari Lal. The sale deed was reportedly agreed for Rs 20 lakh. Mr Jain, in his complaint said Girdhari Lal neither sold him the house nor returned the token amount. A case under Section 420 of IPC has been registered.

Girl abducted

A resident of Colony No 4 has alleged that Pardeep, alias Kala, of the same colony abducted his minor daughter yesterday afternoon. A case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC has been registered.

Assault reported

Mr Kuldeep Kumar, a resident of Dadu Majra colony, reported with the police that six persons — all residents of the colony attacked him and his brother Mohan yesterday evening. Mohan reportedly sustained a head injury and was admitted to the PGI, where his condition was said to be stable. The cause of the fight, however, could not be ascertained.

A case under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323 and 308 has been registered against the six accused Rajesh, Kuldip, Sunil, Surinder, Shila and Ravi Lal.

Scooterist hurt

Mr Sudesh Kumar, a scooterist, was injured when he was reportedly hit by a car in Sector 37 late in the evening yesterday. The victim, a resident of the same sector has been admitted to the PGI. The car driver reportedly sped away from the spot after the accident. A case has been registered.

Purse stolen

Mr Arun Kumar, a resident of Sector 7, reported that his purse containing Rs 6,000, driving licence, identity card and credit card was stolen on Monday last. A case under Section 279 of the IPC has been registered.


Woman set on fire
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, April 6
A 40-year-old married woman of Dholran village in Chamkaur Sahib was admitted with 75 per cent burns at the PGI here this afternoon. The victim, Dharshan Kaur was allegedly thrown on a heap of cattle feed in a room and set on fire by two persons in the wee hours of the day.

The victim was left to fend for herself as the two had locked the room from outside. On hearing the shrieks of the victim her family members rushed to the site and brought her out of the room.

In a statement given to a magistrate, the victim has reportedly identified the persons who set her on fire.

Talking to the this correspondent, family members of the victim said she had been brought to the PGI after being referred by the Civil Hospital, Chamkaur Sahib. Mr Palwinder Singh, husband of the victim, said his wife had gone to answer nature’s call near a cattle shed in the village when the said incident took place.

He maintained his wife was dragged by Daljit Singh and Balwinder Singh to the room being used to store cattle feed and to tether cattle. The two ran away after locking the room.

A case in this regard has been registered under Sections 307, 342 and 34 of the IPC at the Chamkaur Sahib police station. Mr Swaran Singh, a resident of the village, who accompanied the victim to the PGI said the victim was not in a position to talk and she had communicated with the magistrate through gestures. The family members of the victim alleged that the police was not arresting the suspects due to their links with senior police officials.

Mr Gurcharan Singh, SHO of Chamkaur Sahib police station, confirmed the incident and said the case was being investigated. He, however, denied that the police was siding with the suspects.

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