Wednesday, April 11, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rotational power cuts to be back in summer
30 to 45-minute cut likely during peak hours
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
To tide over the expected rise in demand for power in summers, the Chandigarh Administration is likely to resort to powers cuts on a rotational basis in the city to cut down on what is termed as peak power consumption. The peak consumption in summers will be between 6 p.m. and 10.30 p.m.

The pattern of power cuts will be the same as followed to cut down on peak power consumption during January and February this year. The cuts are all the more unavoidable now as overdrawal of power beyond allocated limits from the northern power grid will result in heavy penalties under a new ruling of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) which comes into force on June 1.

Under the system of rotational power cuts, the entire Union Territory is divided into blocks for operational matters of the power department. A block may comprise six to seven sectors, two to three villages and slum colonies. A shutdown is effected in one block for 30 to 45 minutes. This brings down the load within manageable limits. The same process is repeated in another block of sectors while power to the first block is restored. The cycle carries on till the peak period is crossed.

A schedule of power cut has fixed timings each day for each block, thus allowing residents to plan their day accordingly.

Cuts will commence on a rotational basis in sectors, villages and slums as and when the demand peaks or comes close to the present allocation of Chandigarh at 148 mega watts of power, said sources in the engineering wing, which is responsible for power distribution in the city.

As was the case in winters, shutdowns will be throughout the city with no favours shown to any VIP sector, assured a senior engineer. The exceptions will be the PGI, the GMCH, Sector 32, and General Hospital, Sector 16. The three hospitals in any case have dedicated power lines.

The allocation of Chandigarh is about 130 mw. Another 18 mw was added on February 1 this year and tomorrow the Union Power Ministry is to decide on an additional allocation of 26 mw from the central power pool. Even if this is cleared by the ministry, a shortfall of about 40 mw is expected as demand in Chandigarh is predicted to peak at 220 mw.

In winters the cuts were imposed as UT had been drawing power much more than its allocated share. The Northern Region Load Despatch Centre which keeps a check on drawals in nine North Indian states had objected to UT’s power drawl system. This led to a warning to UT after the major grid collapse on January 2 this year.

The Chandigarh Administration has asked the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) for additional allocation of power on an ad-hoc basis for summer months. The BBMB has agreed, but on global rates which means each additional unit will cost Rs 2.50.

The Administration can manage at this rate but generation at BBMB’s projects will not be uniform due to insufficient rain in winter months and falling reservoir levels.



Land-use policy may change fortunes
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 10
The state government is planning to allow change in land use, which might affect those who have built unauthorised structures in the periphery of Chandigarh and such areas in Punjab. The government is examining its legal position on this issue before formulating a policy.

If this plan is approved, it will become possible to convert agricultural land into residential or non-residential plot after paying a conversion fee. This change will be applicable in 70 controlled areas of the state and is significant after the Anandgarh project has been put off.

At least 1,300 acres in the periphery of Chandigarh that fall in Punjab is occupied by unauthorised structures. Out of the Punjab land in the UT periphery, about 15,000 acres have become parts of Zirakpur, SAS Nagar, Kharar and Dera Bassi.

Sources in the government said the Punjab Housing and Urban Development Minister had constituted a committee to suggest what should be the conversion charges. The committee had forwarded its recommendations to the Housing and Urban Development Department. The minister, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, was not available for comments.

The Haryana Government policy in the areas covered under the Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Areas Restrictions of Unregulated Development Act, 1963, might be applied here as well after certain amendments. To charge a conversion fee, the Periphery Control Act would have to be amended, said officials of the Town and Country Planning Department. However, the Punjab Scheduled Roads Act has already been repealed by Punjab. The issue of imposing external development charges (EDC) for regularising unauthorised structures is being examined.

The government has already regularised unauthorised structures that have been raised till December 31, 1998, in the periphery. Sources said the government could regularise unauthorised constructions till the date the amended Act came into force. The move can benefit a number of influential persons who own land in Naya Goan and Kansal. This includes a society of MLAs of the Akali Dal government in Punjab.

The state government had planned to make a policy on land use in 1998, but the plan remained on paper. Sources said Chandigarh’s periphery could be put in a high-potential zone. The controlled areas elsewhere in Punjab could be put in high-potential, medium-potential and low-potential zones.


Anandgarh controversy hampering
development works
Nishikant Dwivedi

Jayanti Majri (Kharar), April 10
The ongoing Anandgarh controversy has hampered development works in this area. Work on an earthfill dam here, as a part of an ambitious irrigation project, has been awaiting completion for over a year now.

The dam which is situated on the Jayanti Devi ki Rao , a seasonal rivulet, was about to be completed, informed sources in the Kandi Area Development Authority (KADA) said. The proposed Anandgarh project spiked the ongoing development as had Anandgarh come about, the irrigation network would have been redundant as land was to be acquired for residential areas. With no micro-level planning for laying down underground pipelines, the KADA just cannot proceed ahead for the fear that pipelines may fall under some proposed building or block of residences.

Now after spending over Rs 8 crore on the dam its future seems to be bleak. Sources in the KADA said that the dam was almost complete and only the distribution pipelines were to be laid. In addition to this some miscellaneous works like laying of road over the dam and electricity works were to be completed. Sources said that since a new township was to come up in the area, the work of laying the pipelines was abandoned. Officials in the KADA said the further progress on the dam will start once the fate of Anandgarh is decided.

The sources further claimed, it will take only six months to lay the pipelines if a go ahead is given. However, the work was going on at the dam site to construct the escape channel which will empty the excess water in the reservoir if the water-level crosses the danger mark.

It may be mentioned here that the Anandgarh Development Authority, entrusted with the task of the construction of Anandgarh, had planned to use these dams in the area to meet the water requirements of the town during the initial years.

The dam which has been planned to irrigate over 500 hectare (roughly 1250 acres), was started with the aid of the World Bank and later it was funded by the NABARD. Once the dam becomes functional, four villages, Jayanti Majri, Soonk, Parol and Mullanpur Garbidas will benefit from it.

The reservoir will submerge about 50 hectares of land. Rain water will be collected and it will be distributed in the farm land of the four villages through underground pipelines. Officials in the KADA said distribution of water through the pipelines is more economical as compared to the conventional method of canal irrigation.

The dam which is called ‘low dam’ is the fourth in the Ropar district. Other such dams are at Perch, Siswan and Mirzapur. In addition there are six other dams in the Hoshiarpur circle as part of the Kandi area development.

The officials in KADA as well as the villagers in the area said these dams had made the area fertile and were beneficial for small farmers who cannot afford to setup their own tubewells. In addition these dams were helping in controlling floods.


Doctors, staff can check hospital infections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , April 10
Did little Kashmita really have a chance to survive in a hospital which has probably one of the highest hospital associated infection rates in the country. Probably not. Big hospitals like the PGI, crowded with patients and related hygiene and civic problems, are bound to have hospital associated infections (HIA). Experts add that HAIs are one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality among the hospitalised patients in India.

Three-year-old Kashmita, who sustained 30 per cent burn injuries, and was almost recovering, succumbed to severe pseudomonas infection. Hospital report says that Kashmita had 25 per cent superficial and five per cent deep burns.

Kashmita, who was to join the Sacred Heart School from this Monday, died the very same day(April 7) after battling with life for 19 days in the PGI, first from burn injuries and then from infection. " My child was selected on merit but could not go to school due to sheer negligence,” says misty eyed father of Kashmita, Mr Kamal Sharma.

Incidentally, doctors themselves admit that many hospitalised patients actually die due to various bacterial, viral and fungal infections contracted with in the hospital. ‘‘In many cases this cannot be proved and the death is, instead, attributed to the primary cause. Fact, however, remains that after a brilliant surgery lasting six to seven hours, it is very painful for us to find our patient dying of a hospital associated infection.”

A microbiologist says that many a times, after painstaking culture identification and sensitivity pattern tests, when it is the time for design management, they are told that patient has already dead. “What the infection control committees of hospitals, are actually doing ? Hospital surveillance wings can collect samples from various places and formulate their policy based on their own surveillance and data. With this, they can try to create awareness amongst doctors, nurses and other hospital staff,’’ he adds

Most hospital administrations agree that prevention, control and treatment of such infections should be concern of all health care professionals working in hospitals including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff.

Mr Kamal Sharma recalls that even though the family was instructed to move about wearing masks and continuously wash their hands, the doctors and nurses themselves never bothered to do that. “Bed linen in such cases should have been changed at least twice every day. Instead they were changed once every two days. We were in a private room on the fifth floor but to get Kashmita’s dressings changed, we had to go to a dressing room on fourth floor. For this we had to pass through long corridors filled with patients.”

Other reasons for the HAI includes partially cleaned or unsterile instruments, non-cleaning of certain areas like ICUs, operation theaters, neonatal care units. Multiple surgeries is another cause for such infections. Of course, hospital linen, blankets, mattresses and bandages are all carriers of bacterial infections.

Doctors admit that in paediatrics, commonest reason for neglect is by health providers themselves. ‘‘Not wearing masks, not removing shoes, or washing hands is the primary cause for the HAI. In fact, only effective prevention is washing everything with copious amount of water, besides, by UV rays, chemicals and other methods.

Doctors admit that like all infections, even the HAI can be controlled, but they require immediate action. The problem intensifies mainly because there is delay in detection, as was in Kashmita’s case. Moreover, hospital bacteria and viruses have mutated against antibiotics and become more resistant further multiplying the problems. “It is very easy to fix blames, but the PGI has to be more vigilant so that many Kashmitas can be saved in future.’’ Even Kashmita’s father agree, ‘‘We are not trying to be vindictive. We have already lost our child. But we hope that our misfortune is not repeated with some one else.’’

The hospital associated infection (HAI) can be due to bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. Microbiologists say, bacterial and fungal infections are the most common cause of the HAI. Incidentally, the HAI are only those infections which are acquired by the patient after he is admitted to a hospital. Neither should the patient be having such infection nor should it be in incubation period. Kashmita acquired the infection after being admitted for at least a week.

The pseudomonas, klebsiella, staphylococcus and e-coli are the most common bacteria. They can acquire resistance against any antibody and can grow inside an antiseptic solution This is actually the difference between the HAI and the community acquired infection. Whereas community acquired infection.



Mayor, councillors threaten to quit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
The Mayor and his party councillors have threatened to quit their posts unless the BJP councillors “cooperate with them and let them conduct the proceedings of the House”. They will prefer to go to the public to seek a fresh mandate. This was stated by the Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, while addressing a press conference here today.

The mayor refuted all allegations by saying that the same are false and baseless and said that if the BJP councillors have any proof about these, he is prepared for a discussion in the House. Besides, he is also prepared for any kind of inquiry.

Further rebutting the charges of the BJP against him, he pointed out that maximum scams have taken place during the tenure of the former BJP mayors in the last four years and interestingly those involved had only sought inquiries into the same. He even levelled allegations against three former mayors.

Mr Goyal said that now that efforts are being made to undertake development works in the city, the BJP councillors are not letting them work by indulging in mud-slinging. Taking up the controversial issue of his illegal shops in Mani Majra, he said that these shops have been there since the time of notified area committee (NAC). He had got the map of the same approved and had also deposited the fee money of Rs 7 lakh. The file pertaining to the revised plan of converting the residential area into commercial area was also prepared following which the shops were given numbers, but the BJP mayors did not let the file move, he alleged.

The Mayor said that he had deposited the said money during the tenure of the former Mayor, Mrs Kamala Sharma. He claimed that no technical objection was put on the file. But following a letter shot by his opponent, whom he had defeated in the MC elections, the file did not move and the matter is still pending in the House. He said that though the matter was brought to the notice of the MC Commissioner and Administrator, no action was taken.

On the issue of giving fake slips to plot holders in Charan Singh Colony of Mani Majra, the Mayor while dismissing most of the allegations on the contrary alleged that the BJP was behind giving fake slips. He said that the first BJP Mayor Mrs Kamala Sharma had accepted “loads of gifts” to give the contract of Nehru Park in Sector 22 at throw away prices, for which even an inquiry was instituted. He further alleged that Raen Basera in Mani Majra was rented out by Mrs Shanta Hit Abhilashi to her daughetr-in-law at a meagre monthly rent of Rs 5,000 per month. He even levelled charges against former Mayor, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, for giving the sanitation contracts of the city to a favourite few. And further added that even today Mr Gupta is busy raking up various scams, though the paint, cement and tarcoal scams all happened during his tenure. Mr Gupta still owes the MC a sum of Rs 24 lakh on account of cancellation of parking lots.

Taking up the issue of Divya Yog Mandir, he pointed out that the allegations of his being involved in the beating up case were false and that he has been going to the Ashram as a disciple during the past 15 years.

Answering questions on what action had been taken against the four ruling party councillors for their absence from the last meeting of the House, party president, Mr B.B. Bahl, said that he had inquired into it.

Mr Goyal also alleged that those very BJP councillors who had helped him win the post of Mayor despite being in minority, are not letting him work since he is not succumbing to their illegal demands.

Those present at the conference were Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, councillors Mrs Kamlesh, Mrs Suneeta, besides party leaders Mr Rampal Sharma, Mr Subhash Chawla, Mr Sunil Parti and Mr Pradeep Chhabra. 


Rs 2 lakh stolen from car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
In yet another incident of theft in broad daylight, cash worth Rs 2 lakh was allegedly stolen from a car (CH-03-1458) parked in the Sector 44 market here this afternoon.

It is learnt that Mr Nirmal Singh Dhillon, a building contractor and a resident of Sector 21-D, had withdrawn Rs 2 lakh from the Sector 8 branch of the IndusInd Bank this morning. The money was kept in a polythene bag by the contractor, when he stopped by for some work in the Sector 44-D market at about 12.45 pm.

When he came back from attending to the work, he found that the polythene bag was missing. It is alleged that the miscreant(s) unlocked the front right hand side door of the Maruti car and took out the bag. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 34 police station.

Police sources claim that such thefts are the handiwork of a gang that posts itself before various banks, specially in those located in Sectors 8, 10, 17 and 35. They observe the customers coming out of the bank and after spotting a gullible customer, follow them round and strike upon finding a suitable occasion.

The gang is also active in the shopping arcades in Sector 17 and in Sector 22. As many as two to three cases are being reported in the city each month, inform sources.

The police had made a move to step up the vigil, particularly around the banks in Sectors 35, 17 and 9 following negligence on part of the residents in taking care of their belongings despite warnings and almost daily news reports about thefts from the vehicles last year, did help in curbing these thefts, initially but the practice has reportedly again resurfaced now.


Astrology has “failed scientific tests”
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Prof Jayant Vishnu Narlikar is one of those Indians about whom the best that can be said is that they are very distinguished in their field and have inspired a large number of persons, both scientists and non-scientists, by their tremendous intellectual energy. He has won almost every prize and distinction that one can possibly get in science and has been in line for the Nobel Prize in Physics for the past two decades. His theory on cosmogenics is still considered important for understanding the origin of the universe today. Currently, the Director and Homi Babha Professor, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, Professor Narlikar has written popular science books for children and is a noted writer of science fiction.

Q: Is being a science fiction writer a natural hobby for an astrophysicist?

A: Cosmology is not so much a part of the fiction I write as the time scales are very large and science fiction is written with humans as the central point, so the story has to make sense within a lifetime. But I have used certain aspects of astronomy and astrophysics like black holes, time travel but in a limited fashion. But I like my science fiction stories not to be pure fantasies but also try to put across a social message.

Q: What about time travel? As a scientist do you think it is possible?

A: I don’t think we can go back in the past but one can go into the future. If you go fast enough we will be cutting down a few years. But at the moment it is not possible as we do not have the rocket power to go that fast, i.e. 50 per cent or 70 per cent the speed of light.

Q: When one looks at the stars one is basically seeing these stars as they were so many light years ago depending upon the distance they are from the observer. Doesn’t this in itself make time travel into the past possible?

A: That particular thing is like a person watching a snapshot of history, but one cannot really reach there in terms of travelling.

Q: What about astrology? Many people claim that it is based on science.

A: Look, astrology has been subjected to scientific tests many times and each time it has failed. Only this fact is not sufficiently publicised. Some research journals have reported how controlled experiments were performed but failed to prove anything in favour of astrology e.g. they collected the horoscopes of 4,000 married couples where in some cases the marriages had broken down, in others they had succeeded. Since matching horoscopes before marriage is a big thing in India, these horoscopes were shown to well-known astrologers. They listed some as compatible others as not, but these matches had nothing to do with the fate of these marriages.

Q: But what about many of these astrologers using scientific calculations and formulae to get across their point.

A: That is what I call pseudo-science. Talking of scientific formulae out of context is not science. Despite repeated researches, no scientific base has been found. If you say that there is something which we do not yet know about then that is a statement one cannot really do much about. The major point is how to get across this point to the people.

Q: You have with some others put forth the quasi-steady theory as opposed to the Big Bang theory regarding the origin of the universe. Do the basic ideas of Einstein change accordingly?

A: In the Big Bang theory, if one takes Einstein’s theories strictly, including the recent supernova data which Einstein had rejected, then the concept of Big Bang becomes a singular event where all mathematics and physics break down. This is the major drawback of the theory. Some try to explain this on the basis of the quantum theory of gravity or by changing the theory substantially which, too, none has done. In our theory, we follow Einstein but we introduce what is called a negative energy stellar field, which is normally not done in physics, but this explains that there is no singularity but a large number of bangs and many other things leading to the formation of the universe.


Madhan ‘did not attend briefing’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
The Commanding Officer (CO) of 2 Rajputana Rifles, Col M.B. Ravindranath, stated before the general court martial trying Maj V.K. Madhan that on June 29 the accused had told him at Sonamarg that the situation in the Dras sector was very bad and the battalion should avoid moving into that area.

Major Madhan had been sent to Sonamarg from Kupwara on June 26 as officer in charge of the advance party, after the battalion had received warning orders for moving to that location to take part in Operation Vijay, Colonel Ravindranath stated. He was being examined as a witness by the prosecution.

The CO stated that at the accused’s remarks, he took him aside and told him that he was a senior officer and such remarks were not expected from him. The next day, he added, he called a conference of all officers and JCOs and ordered that the troops carry out acclimatisation and practise bunker busting drills, which included climbing steep slopes.

The CO stated that on June 3, he was informed that an attack on the Tololing heights by another battalion had failed and 2 Rajputana Rifles should prepare itself to capture the feature. He ordered all officers to be present in the operations room, but found that Major Madhan was not there. He added that on inquiring, he was told that the accused had injured his knee after slipping in the bathroom.

The CO stated that after briefing other officers, he ordered the regimental medical officer, Capt S. Basu, to examine the accused, who was later referred to the field surgical centre, where he was advised three days’ rest.

Colonel Ravindranath told the court that he also discussed the matter with Major S.S. Bajaj, who was then his second-in-command, and asked him to counsel the accused. Major Bajaj later informed him that the accused had refused to take part in the operations. He then ordered the accused to be brought before him on June 6, where he asked him about his problem. The CO told the court that the accused claimed that his injury resulted from his knee buckling while coming down a slope during acclimatisation. The CO added he told the accused that his claim was in variance with his earlier versions, to which he replied that it was an old injury which had resurfaced.

Colonel Ravindranath also stated before the court that the accused, who was the commander of a company nominated as a reserve company for the assault on Tololing, had to be replaced by a lieutenant on attachment with the battalion from the Army Service Corps. The accused was then appointed the unit adjutant, which he accepted.


Power dept’s gift to Panchkula residents
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 10
Mobile vans to address electricity complaints in any part of the city; pagers to register these in any of the six zones for prompt service — the two new projects have come as a Baisakhi gift to city residents from the Electricity Department to be launched on April 13.

Working with the sole objective of satisfying the public by offering all kinds of services, the Electricity Department found itself lacking on the front of attending to complaints, most of which had to be registered and re-registered before the employees chose to take note of them.

The mobile van, to be stationed at the complaint centre at Sector 8, would cater to all sectors falling in the city subdivision which includes Sectors 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, Industrial area, Mansa Devi complex and a couple of villages adjoining the city.

Comprising eight members in the rapid action force of the department to be posted with the van, an official informed that Sector 8 was chosen to station the van because of its central location. With this development, the department is positive of taking care of any breakdowns which occur.

A chronic problem which kept officials of the department on their toes was that of employees, especially those on the night shift, at complaint centres playing truant and managing to give the slip without being nailed for it.

“We were, time and again, accused of negligence of duty as phone calls at complaint centres went unanswered or employees on night duty chose to put the phone off the hook. With the introduction of noting of complaints over pagers, all that will become history,” an official said.

With the launching of the pager service, all that the complainants would be required to do will be to page the name and nature of complaint on 9610400500. This would also note the time of the complaint and the address of the fault, thereby enabling the display of the zone code on the pager.

Operative in six zones of subdivision I with the complaint centre of Sector 8, Phase II and Mansa Devi complex, and sub division II which includes Phase II, Old Panchkula and Ramgarh, the complaint will automatically be flashed at the complaint centre concerned.

Besides, an official of the department added that four new transformers had become operative in Sector 8 though the installation process had put the residents to a lot of inconvenience during the last four days with cuts being imposed for over three hours in the afternoons.


Arrangements made for storage of wheat: DC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 10
The district administration had made adequate arrangements for storage of wheat at the three mandis, and as much as 13, 500 metric tonnes was expected to flood the mandis of Barwala, Raipur Rani and Panchkula, said the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora.

She added that the government agencies were likely to buy approximately 10,000 metric tonnes from the farmers. The DC said that arrangement of water, electricity and maintenance of hygiene had been ensured at the venue.

A total of 175 depots would be set up for distribution of kerosene, wheat, flour and sugar under the Public Distribution System. While 60 would be operational in the urban areas, 115 depots would be functional in the rural areas.

Ms Arora stated that the officials of the Food and Supplies Department had been instructed to carry out inspection at the depots to keep irregularities under check. She said that last month six depot operators were fined Rs 3,000 in the checking conducted at 10 ration depots for irregularities in sale.


Delays may force town to go thirsty
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar, April 10
With the maximum temperature hovering around 34°C, the demand for water is rising, but the Municipal Council has not been able to ensure a timely implementation of the plan to improve the supply of water.

Five new tubewells were to be sunk here as decided at a meeting between the council head and officials of the Public Health Department on December 15 past year, soon after the newly elected civic body had taken over.

However, there is no sign of these even at the onset of summer. Even two out of the seven tubewells that were sunk past year, have not become functional, which will only add to the woes of consumers. According to the decision at the December meeting, the five tubewells were to be sunk in Phases I, II, IV, IX and XI. There are pockets in Phases IX and XI where the shortage of water is particularly acute. Two tubewells in Phase XI had become non-functional past year.

The work of sinking tubewells has to be done by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB), while the funds for this have to be provided by the council. The distribution of the water supply is the responsibility of the PHD.

Another meeting on water supply was held in the first week of March, where the Executive Engineer of the Ropar office of the PWSSB and the council President were present. At the meeting, an assurance was given by the PWSSB that the work of drilling these tubewells would begin within a week. However, nothing happened after that and another meeting was held at the end of March where it was decided that the work would commence on April 8. Again, nothing happened.

This delay in implementing decisions has adversely affected consumers. Officials fear that consumers may not be able to get the much-needed additional water for most part of the summer. It takes from about 20 days to a month to make a tubewell functional.

Past year, seven tubewells were sunk, two of which were in Phase VII. The water being discharged from one of these tubewells has sand content, while the necessary equipment have not yet been installed at the other site.

In Sector 70 also, there is a shortage of water. Out of the seven tubewells sunk by PUDA in that sector, four have still not been transferred to the Municipal Council. PUDA is not running these tubewells as the distribution system is the responsibility of the PHD. While PUDA officials blame the council for not taking charge of the tubewells, the civic body officials say that PUDA has not installed generator sets at the tubewells, according to the estimates prepared for the purpose. The council officials say that PUDA has not provided a proper sewage disposal system in the area and the sewer lines are chocked, so, the council is reluctant to take over these systems. It is reported that a 3-inch water pipeline connection is required at the multistoreyed Ivory Towers flats in the area, but the demand cannot be met due to the water shortage. The PUDA tubewells have been provided with power connections, but generators sets for these are yet to be installed, leading to delay in handing these over to the civic body.

The water supply is likely to be affected due to repeated power supply disruption as well. There are 40 functional tubewells here, out of which, only three or four have generator sets as a standby arrangement.

Mr Kulwant Singh, President of the Municipal Council, said certain formalities had to be completed before starting the work of sinking the tubewells. Moreover, the council was depending on the PWSSB as the tubewells were to be sunk by it. He said the PWSSB had now told the council that it would start the drilling work on one of the tubewells in Phase IX on April 12. 


Farewell to arms, retreat to Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 10
With even former Army Chief, Gen V.P. Malik taking up residence in the township, Panchkula now appears to be one of the most preferred destinations for retired service personnel to ‘home in’.

Though General Malik is the first service chief to have opted for settling at Panchkula, the township is already home to several retired Army Commanders, besides a large number of senior army officers. Besides, a large number of serving officers of all ranks either hail from the city or have purchased residential property, independent houses or flats, in one of the several housing complexes which have come up in recent years in Panchkula and its peripheral areas.

Already among its distinguished citizens are, former Vice-Air Chief, Air Marshal P.S. Brar; two former Southern Army commanders, Lt-Gen Depinder Singh and Lt-Gen R.S. Dayal; former, former Western Army Commander P.N. Hoon; Northern Army Commander, Lt-Gen Surinder Singh; former Chief of Staff, Northern Command, Lt-Gen J.L. Malhotra. Lt-Gen N.P.S. Bal and Lt-Gen B.S. Nalwa. Several serving lieutenant generals and major generals are also known to have residences here.

Panchkula’s proximity with Chandimandir cantonment, availability of real estate at relatively lower prices than in other cities and several new housing projects exclusively for defence personnel, are prime factors due to which Panchkula has emerged as a preferred destination for soldiers on their return to ‘civvy street’.

Convenient excess to the Western Command Hospital, opposite Sector 6, where virtually all specialist treatments are available, is a major deciding factor.

Medicare facilities assume importance in old age and treatment in military hospitals, which cater only to service personnel and their dependents is relatively hassle-free and less time consuming as compared to civilian hospitals.

Also headquarters of the Western Command, with a well equipped canteen and other facilities like the Defence Services Officers Institute, a golf course, a well-equipped library and a sports complex, is next-door. This also enables ex-servicemen to keep in touch with the uniformed community and old comrades and maintain regimental associations.

A large number of officers retire at an age when their children are still studying. Panchkula also gives them access to good educational institutions in neighbouring Chandigarh. Besides, its environs offer ever-increasing professional options to their children as well as opportunities for their re-employment.

Panchkula, which is well-connected by road and rail, also offers a calm and peaceful retreat, free from the noise, dust and pollution of other cities. Virtually every facility required during retired life is at hand.

When Panchkula was planned, allotment of residential plots in two sectors, 2 and 12, were reserved for defence personnel. At that time other major preferred destinations like Chandigarh, Pune and Bangalore had reached their saturation points.

The prices of real estate in Panchkula was relatively lower than in the other cities. Later the Jal Vayu Vihar, with 8-storey flats in Sector 20 came up, followed by the Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO) complex in Sector 5 of the Mansa Devi Complex. The AWHO is also planning another housing project, for which allotment of 13 acre of land by the Haryana Development Authority in Sector 20 is awaited.

In recent years, several civilian multi-storyed housing projects have also come up in Panchkula and its peripheral areas adjoining the cantonment, which are reasonably priced and within reach of the salaried class.


Power cuts resented
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, April 10
Unannounced power cuts for long hours for the past over four days have put the residents of this township to a lot of inconvenience.

Residents complaint that the unscheduled power cuts have become a cause of concern for them. They say that they have to burn kerosene lamps and pass sleepless nights.

Members of the Residents Welfare Association, Preet Nagar, complained that though they had approached the authorities to give electricity connection from the line supplying power to the urban area and even deposited the required money with the department last year, they had not been given any power connection so far.


200 defaulters get notices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
With a view to checking misuse of drinking water, the Public Health Circle of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh under its special drive has served notices to as many as 200 persons during the past eight days.

According to official sources, personnel of the Public Health Circle and the Horticulture Wing of the civic body while inspecting various areas in the city found that over 200 residents were misusing drinking water for washing their vehicles, verandahs and irrigating lawns. Many of these residents had also installed boosters and pumps on the main supply lines.

The authorities have already issued 150 notices to the defaulters ever since the special drive was launched on March 26. With this, a total of 350 persons have been served with notices for wasting water. The Chief Engineer, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, had specified that those found wasting water would not be spared at any cost and strict action would be taken against the violators.

Mr Singh is hopeful that the drive will help check atleast 50 per cent of water wastage in the city. As many as 12 teams have been conducting regular checking so as to ensure adequate supply of potable water to the residents.Back


Bhatti amuses at Clinton’s dinner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Ever wondered what the Chandigarh’s humour king Jaspal Bhatti was doing on the Zee News Network the whole day today? Well, the answer lies in that he happened to be the only person from Chandigarh invited by the Zee Network which hosted a dinner to honour former US President Bill Clinton at Taj Palace, New Delhi, last night.

The Zee team must have caught a fancy of this man who manages to make even a serious situation fun-laced. So when they asked him last night about what he thought about Clinton’s visit to the city, he replied, “Clinton has gained so much popularity in India that he can now win an election from any constituency. The BJP should now get into action and rope in Mr Clinton to pose a healthy competition to Ms Sonia Gandhi. It will be Italy v/s USA.”

The dinner was attended, among others, by Sridevi and Boney Kapoor, Ram Vilas Paswan, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kuldip Nayar, Ram Jethmalani, and J.J. Vallaya. 


ITBP recruitment rally put off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
The ITBP recruitment rally, which was scheduled to be held at Chandigarh from April 9 to 13, has been cancelled. The ambiguity in the eligibility criterion was created by the local form sellers of various states and not by the ITBP. 

The ITBP had mentioned in the notification that vacancies were to be filled from the domiciles of the UT, Mr A.S. Chhina, Commandant, TPT Bn, clarified in a press note today. The recruitment rally will now be conducted soon under a fresh notification.

Annual regimental meet an April 15
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
The Punjab Regiment will be holding its annual Regimental Officers Association meet on April 15 at the Air Force Officers Institute, Sector 31. According to a statement issued here, a large number of serving and retired officers as well as wives of deceased officers are expected to attend the meet.

The modalities and functioning of the Chandigarh Chapter of the association will also be discussed. The meet will be presided over by Lieut-Gen R.S Dayal, former GOC-in-C, Southern Command, while Major-Gen S. K. Awasthy, Chief of Staff, ARTRAC and Colonel of the Punjab Regiment will be the guest of honour.Back


Counting of votes today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
The counting of votes in the election of office-bearers of the Chandigarh Club which was held on March 3 will take place tomorrow. Announcing this here today, Mr B.B. Gupta, secretary of the club, said that the club would, therefore, remain closed tomorrow. The counting will commence from 10 a.m. onwards.



New EO of SAS Nagar MC
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 10
The Punjab Government today appointed Mr Harbhagwan Garg as the Executive Officer of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council in place of Mr H.S. Brar, who has been sent to the Gidderbaha civic body. It could not be ascertained how Mr Brar had been transferred to a B class council from an A class council. The new Executive Officer, transferred from the Nagal civic body, was expected to take charge tomorrow. Meanwhile, the councillors of the opposition group today protested against the refusal of the Local Government Department to roll back the hike in water and sewer rates.Back


SE honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Superintending Engineer (Construction), Chandigarh Administration, has been awarded a commendation certificate by the Union Health Minister, Dr C.P. Thakur, for his services rendered during his stay at the PGI. It was during Mr Bhardwaj’s tenure between December, 1993, and January, 2000, that the new emergency block, the Advanced Padiatric Centre, OPD block and the Cardiac Care Centre were completed.Back


Purse found
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 10
Honesty lives on even today. Mr Jatinder Sarwal, a resident of Sector 16 proved it when he came to The Tribune office to inform that he had found a ladies’ purse in front of Bank of Punjab, Sector 7, here today. The brown-coloured purse contains some money and documents. The owner can contact him at 564869. Back


2 beaten up by labourers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Two clerks of the Nagar Panchyat, Zirakpur, were beaten up by a group of 15 to 20 labourers on the Chandigarh-Ambala road late this evening after a minor altercation with a labourer.

It is alleged that the clerks, Hardev Singh and Pankaj Kapoor, were returning to the city after work on a scooter when a labourer made a wrong entry on his bicycle and the two vehicles collided.

The clerks admit that they tried to rough up the labourer for his fault, but before they could do anything, around 15 other labourers converged on the scene and beat them up. It was only on the intervention of some other passers-by that they were spared.

Burglaries: Sanjay Kumar was caught red-handed while stealing a fountain light, water taps, brass top cake and a 100-foot PVC pipe from an inspection bungalow of the Ordinance Cable factory. A case under Section 454, 380 and 411 of the IPC has been registered at the Industrial Area police station on the complaint of Mr Inderjit Batra.

A gold bangle, two gold rings and Rs 1,000 were stolen from the house of Mr Santokh Singh in Sector 45 on the night of April 7.

Car stolen: A Maruti car (CH-01-F-2893) was stolen from the parking lot of Shastri Market in Sector 22 yesterday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested Joginder Pal and seized 35 pouches of whisky from him. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Two injured: Manwinder Singh and Vipin Kaushal were injured in two separate accidents. While the former was hit by a truck near the Marble Market in Sector 52 and the accused, Madan Lal arrested, the latter was hit by a Santro car near the Sectors 17-18 light point.


A 16-year-old girl, Seema, died and six other occupants of a truck were injured when the vehicle overturned at Sohana last night. The injured have been admitted to the Sector 32 hospital in Chandigarh.Back

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