Saturday, April 14, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Residents troubled by foul smell from industrial units
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 13
Unpleasant odour from industrial units located in the north of the town is literally getting under the skin of the people living in the north-west and southern sectors of this town. Tackling the odour problem has replaced issues like poor supply of electricity and low water pressure for the worst affected people living in the vicinity of the industrial units in Phase 1, 2 and 4 and Mohali village.

Affected residents complain that they are hit by air and water pollution, with foul odour coming from industries and nauseating smell emitted from untreated sullage of Chandigarh and SAS Nagar being discharged in a seasonal rivulet traversing its way through the southern sectors. They expressed their anger against the Punjab Pollution Control Board which has been virtually sleeping on the issue despite several representations by residents welfare associations over the past 15 years. Meanwhile, the Local Government Minister, Mr Bal Ramji Dass Tandon, during a recent visit to the Ranbaxy factory pulled up the pollution board after getting complaints from people.

Members of the Citizens Welfare Council and the Consumer Protection Forum who have been demanding action against the polluting industries said their efforts had started to bear fruit, with the pollution board cornering the offenders. Mr Amrik Singh Bhatti, a member of the council, said, “A survey found that main units responsible for the air pollution were Ranbaxy, Swani Rubbers and Raja Ram Cornflakes and some other units”.

Mr Surinder Singh, a retired chemical engineer from the NFL, said the effect of the unpleasant odour of hydrogen sulphide was felt more during the night and early morning hours when the air was cool, and it settled down. During the day time, the heated air went up. He claimed that the threshold limit of hydrogen sulphide was 10 ppm in industrial area and .2 ppm in residential areas. As the factories were located on the north of the town and the wind direction was mostly from north to south, the unpleasant odour spreads towards the residential areas. The residents alleged that though the units had installed pollution control measures, these were not run at times as their running cost was high — a fact contradicted by managements of industrial units. Complaints of choking odour from burning of rubber were also received..

What officials of the industrial units named by the residents have to say:

Mr S.K. Bahl, Senior Manager Liaison of the Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, said the problem was with anaerobic effluent treatment plant of the unit. “We were approached by people two months ago only and nobody complained earlier. We discussed the problem with the pollution board in the first week of March and are covering the treatment plant and are subjecting hydrogen sulphide to scrubbing process”. A USA-based company, Omni Industries, had been engaged to demonstrate their technology to tackle the odour problem. Mr Bahl said the Ram Institute for Industrial Research had been engaged to conduct ambient air sampling at four different points in the town. Mr Bahl said we wanted to see whether the 17 different solvents were affecting the environment. Two eight-hour tests of collecting the air samples at four different sites at Mohali village, Diplast and PTL rotary and Phase 3B 2 had been conducted and results would come in few days.

An official of the Swani Rubber factory denied his unit was causing pollution. He said we had installed the best pollution control measures 10 years ago. He admitted that the problem was there 12 years ago but the pollution board asked us to take the pollution-control measures.

In case of Raja Ram factory, an official of the pollution board said the matter against the factory was pending with the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the last hearing was on February 6.

What the Punjab Pollution Control Board has to say:

Mr Ajay K Mahajan, Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, said it was not air pollution but odour problem.

A third party audit by a committee consisting of senior scientist of IMTECH, Chandigarh, and NIPER, SAS Nagar, and Dr Dharamvir, a retired professor from the Chemical Engineering Department of Panjab University had been constituted to study the nature of gases generated from the processes and their impact on the local environment, including vegetation. The committee would also study if the existing pollution-control systems installed for effluent management were adequate. The existing solvent recovery system was also being studied.

The committee which has to give its report in three months would also recommend upgradation of technology, waste minimisation and alternative treatment technique to control toxicity and odour in effluents. An environment protection squad comprising Nodal Officer at Chandigarh and Senior Scientific Officer will visit the factory to check the pollution-control systems.

Besides, a committee of environment engineer, a representative of the industry, a representative of an NGO, preferably an ex-serviceman, and a representative of Mohali village would regularly monitor the odour problem and submit a monthly report to the pollution board. Mr Mahajan said a public hearing on the issue was being held by him on April 28 at Ranbaxy to review the latest position on odour problem. He said Ranbaxy had been asked to cover its effluent treatment plant by May 5 and develop a green belt on the outside boundary of the factory. Ranbaxy had also been asked to shift the effluent treatment plant to some other suitable place outside the town if the measures being taken were not successful.

Board claim on the issue of the air and water pollution in SAS Nagar

During continuous surveillance by the board during the past two years, more than 80 per cent of the small-scale units met the prescribed norms. The remaining are being pursued to upgrade their treatment mechanism.

There are 33 large-medium industries in Mohali, out of which 12 units have installed effluent treatment plants and 21 units are non-water polluting in nature and do not require any effluent treatment system. Similarly, 11 units have installed air pollution control devices and balance 22 units do not require air pollution control device. Thus, all large and medium industries in Mohali have installed required pollution-control devices.

There are 72 red category small-scale industries, out of which 11 units have installed air pollution control devices and remaining 61 do not require any pollution-control systems. Similarly, 45 units out of 72 have installed effluent treatment plants and 27 do not require any water pollution-control mechanism. Hence all small-scale units have also installed required pollution control devices.

Special conditions in the consent letters for growing plantation to make Mohali green are being imposed

Hotels in the town have been brought under the purview of water and air Acts

Hospitals and nursing homes have been served notices to comply with the provisions of bio-medical waste ( Management and Handling) Rules 1998.

Board is seriously considering to conduct an environment impact study in SAS Nagar in coordination with other departments.

No permanent station to monitor the quality of air in SAS Nagar

Mr Mahajan admitted that they do not have a permanent station to monitor the quality of air in SAS Nagar to verify the complaints of residents that foul smell is very strong during the early morning and night hours. The nearest monitoring station is at Derabassi and near the NFL plant at Nangal. He maintains that in May last year, a 10-day spot testing by a mobile laboratory found that 80 per cent of the industries were complying with the pollution levels. The ambient level was between 97 spm and 290 spm against the permissible limit of 360 spm in industrial areas. There is no record of the ambient level of air in the residential areas.


Baisakhi celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Baisakhi heralding the formal harvesting of the rabi crop was complimented by pleasant weather conditions with the mercury dipping by one to three degrees at most places in the northern-west region.

Meanwhile, several functions were organised to mark the festival in Chandigarh and its surrounding areas. The day, which also coincides with the birth of the Khalsa, was celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety in the gurdwaras. Thousands of devotees visited Gurdwara Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib in Sector 34.

During the week-long celebrations from April 8, special kirtan darbars featuring eminent ragis, dhadhis and kathkars were held.

The Rotary Club (Midtown) organised a special Baisakhi programme at a local hotel tonight.

As part of the celebrations of Baisakhi a religious function was organised by the local unit of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) at Here Krishna Dham, Sector 36, here today. Hundreds of devotees thronged the temple on the occasion, according to Bhakti Vinod Dasa Prabhu, president, local unit of ISKCON.

The programme was started with Hari Naam sankirtan at 2.30 p.m. followed by Mahabhishek of founder Acharya of ISKCON, H.D. A.C. Bhakti Vadanta Swami Sril Prabhupada. More than 500 preparations (delicious bhogs) derived from the new crop were offered to the Lord Krishna through his pure devotee Srila Prabhupada and the same were distributed among those present.


Hundreds of devotees from Chandigarh, Panchkula, SAS Nagar and surrounding areas today thronged the historical Gurdwara Nadha Sahib to offer prayers on the auspicious day of Baisakhi.

Devotees started pouring in to pay their offerings to mark the foundation day of the Khalsa Panth. The gurdwara was well decorated. Langars were arranged and sweets were also distributed among the sangats. Shabad kirtan was also performed by Dhaddi Jathas to mark the foundation day of the panth.

Devotees lined the road leading to the gurdwara from the Panchkula-Ramgarh highway. Long queues of vehicles were also witnessed in different gurdwaras in the city and vicinity. Devotees from all communities were seen offering prayers and seeking blessing of the gurus.

Celebrations of the Baisakhi was also observed in gurdwaras located in Pinjore, Kalka, Zirakpur, Nabha Sahib, Dera Bassi, Lalru and in other villages.


Baisakhi was celebrated with fervour in most of the gurdwaras of the city even as thousands of people thronged the Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Gurdwara at Bahadurgarh, near here, to celebrate the foundation day of the Khalsa Panth today.

Minor traffic jams were witnessed on the Patiala-Chandigarh road as people wanting to pay obeisance at the gurdwara parked their vehicles on both sides of the road, with many parking their trolleys even in the nearby fields. Langar was also served on the occasion.


S. Court’s legal aid scheme for poor
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, April 13
Those who cannot afford costly litigation can now avail themselves of the services of the best advocate of their choice in the Supreme Court’s under the Supreme Court’s Middle Income Group Legal Aid Scheme. The scheme has been formulated to provide litigants legal aid of advocates on record, senior advocates of their choice to file and argue their cases before the Honable Supreme Court of India at a much lower fee than what is being charged normally.

Any intending litigant, desirous of availing the benefit of the scheme, has to fill up the form prescribed and accept all the terms and conditions contained therein. The performa contains a schedule of fee and expenses as applicable from time to time and the approximate expenses for preparation of the court record.

The applicant shall have to deposit the fee indicated by the consultant-cum-executive lawyers, which will be in accordance with the scheme. It is only upon the payment of the said amount that the consultant-cum-executive lawyers will register the case under the MIG legal aid scheme and proceed to forward the papers to the advocate on record, arguing counsel on the panel for opinion.

There will be a panel of advocates, including advocate on record under the scheme. While drawing up the panel, care has to be taken to include one advocate, but not exceeding two, knowing the regional language in the Territory of India in which the work is conducted by the court. The panel advocate shall give an undertaking in writing that they will abide by the terms and conditions of the scheme upon assignment of a case under the scheme.

A contingent fund of the scheme will be created to meet the miscellaneous expenditure in connection with the case under the scheme by requiring the applicant under the scheme to deposit till the stage of admission, a sum of Rs 350 in addition to the charge required to be deposited with the committee. Out of this contingent fund, the fee of the auditor for auditing the account, printing of form of applicant, vakalatnama, affidavit of facts, binding of registers for maintaining accounts, shall be made.

Thus at the time of handing over the case papers, the applicant will have to make payment of the estimated fee expenses that are indicated by the consultant cum-executive lawyers, as well as a sum Rs 350.

Once the case is assigned to an advocate, it is the responsibility of the advocate to deal with the matter as he/she deems fit in the interest of the client and the advocate is required to communicate directly with the litigant and the committee will not monitor assignment and final disposal of the matter.

* This scheme is intended to provide legal services to the middle income citizen whose gross maximum income per month does not exceed Rs 10,000 and the annual income does not exceed Rs 1,20,000.

* Consolidated fee for drafting SLP/Writ Petition/Transfer Petition/drafting rejoinder/contesting matter/final disposal stage including adjournment or at appeal stage for an advocate is between Rs 2,200 to Rs 3,300 and for senior advocate is between Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000.

Address for correspondence
Middle Income Group Legal Aid Society
109, Lawyers Chamber, Post Office Wing
Supreme Court Compound, New Delhi, Phone no 3388313


Poor water supply belies MC claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Water supply in the city is slowly coming back to normal and is likely to further improve in the next two days, with the MC officials claiming that normal water supply has been restored in the city. But residents in some parts of the city continued to face problems even today.

Chief Engineer Manmohanjit Singh said that the city is receiving its regular share of 60 MGD water from the Kajauli water works. Though the same quantity is more than sufficient in winter months, the problem of water shortage starts with the onset of summers since the consumption of water by the residents increases manifold. They use it for bathing frequently, putting water in coolers, watering plants and washing cars etc.

The demand has already risen to 80 MGD and will further go to 96 MGD in the next two months. On the issue of irregular supply and low water pressure, Mr Singh said that tanks of the residents have been lying empty during the last three days and normal water pressure will be restored in these houses only when adequate water level is maintained in these tanks. He has appealed to the residents not to panic, for the situation will improve.

Even the SE (Public Health), Mr Swaran Singh Kanwal, said that no complaints were received during the day as the supply was normal . Further, 10 tankers are moving about round the clock in the city to meet the shortfall of water in any sector and people can avail these services by calling phone number 781156.

Meanwhile, residents in various southern sectors and few others in Sectors 8, 16, 18, 20, 21 continued to complain about the irregular water supply and low water pressure. The worst affected were those residing on top floors of these houses , for they stopped receiving water as early as 6 am, which caused a lot of problems.

Even at the Sector 32 water works , from where the supply comes, they simply note the complaint but there is no further action. Similar complaints of water shortage were also received from some residents of sectors 40, 41 and 43 who said that they barely receive the morning supply for 15-20 minutes. The pressure of water even in the ground floor of houses in these sectors is rather low.


Can arts courses ensure a safe job?
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
As Mr Durga Das Goyal settles into his job as a trainee bank manager, he wonders what lessons five year of learning history have taught him. Best is to keep away from an MA, he opines. Did he learn any “history” in colleges or the university where he did his BA and MA? “I did get good marks but nothing of relevance,” he tells his former teacher. Would he have been better off as a manager had he not wasted five years in formal education?

This sense of wonderment has also stricken the various college managements and university administrators. Can liberal arts courses enable a person to earn his or her own living? The answer according to most of the students is clearly no, but at the same time there is a growing realisation that there is a definitive purpose that these courses serve.

So long as “nation building” was high on the social agenda, there was always a possibility of saying that liberal education was involved in that high-minded task. In contemporary times, however, the shortage of easy funding for educational institutions and jobs for their alumni has resulted in such uncertainties being questioned, states Mr Kamal Nayan, a teacher activist of the 70s.

In history, one senior faculty member of the Department at Panjab University stated that the most significant utility of his department was in coaching candidates for the UPSC examinations. In August 2000, almost the entire faculty of the department is involved in such coaching.

According to Ms Raj Mohini Sethi Head, Department of Sociology at PU, “the subject is popular with students as it relates to their own lives also. It has been a favourite as far as civil services is concerned. Then our students don’t just go in for the subject as teachers but also are involved in hospitals, NGOs, research projects, industry etc.”

But the story with English is different. “Even the functional English course which has been started in various colleges of the city is fine only when there are teachers trained well enough to teach the subject. Even in our refresher courses which the UGC conducts at the university there is not a word which is relevant either to classroom teaching or to the students of English,” states a professor of English in a local college.

Says Dr Bhupinder Brar of the Department of Political Science, Panjab University, “I really wonder why students come to read political science at all. There are certainly some who are seriously studying the subject while preparing for the civil services but then there is a large number who are here simply to while away time as education and accommodation is cheap. And this is in fact true of all the social sciences and even most of the science subjects.”

What about students who are doing jobs after having done Masters in Social Sciences? Though most of these are those who in the end did not, make it to the civil services. “In social sciences, there is no doubt that the avenues open for the students are less as compared to science subjects but then in social sciences if one has to get a job one has to excel in the field. If you are one of the toppers and cleared your UGC some college in the country will always need your services to teach,” says Gagandeep Singh a lecturer in History in a college in Barnala.

This is the other side of the picture. But what about those who do not excel? Many also believe that its a false impression people have in India that in order to become a good banker a course in banking is required. What is needed is some basic intelligence, logic and an open mind and any job can be done effectively. “Over emphasis on teaching of vocational courses creates a misleading impression that studying literature, history, philosophy are useless enterprises. However, any careful look at the western university system and the advanced technical world will indicate that a proficiency in humanities and social sciences is preferred over vocational courses, as these skills can be acquired on the job, whereas skills of reasoning, expansion of imagination and a historical sense of one’s own history and culture enable an individual to operate far more effectively than without these skills,” says Dr Satya Pal Gautam of the Department of Philosophy at Panjab University.


Scribes left high & dry by denial of Pak visas
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
A large delegation of journalists which planned to take part in the World Punjabi Conference, which opened in Lahore today, has been left high and dry following the last-minute denial of visas by the Pakistani High Commission in India.

A convoy of two buses and several cars carrying the Indian delegates to the conference, numbering about 150, left the offices of the Punjab Arts Council in the Rose Garden in Sector 16 here yesterday morning for Wagah from where it boarded the Samjhauta Express to cross over to Pakistan.

Initially, the World Punjabiat Foundation, which is organising the conference to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, had invited only three journalists.

One of them opted out, pleading preoccupation in Chandigarh, leaving only two journalist invitees in the field for the foreign trip. But as word spread about the impending conference, a large number of journalists “muscled in” on foundation functionaries, including Mr H.S. Bhatti, to secure an invitation to the conference. Soon their number swelled to about 25, equal to one-fourth of the total number of Indian delegates to the conference.

There is considerable consternation among the journalists, many of whom feel that the organisers had played a “trick” on them. Some others speculate that the large size of the journalists’ delegation may have scared the Pakistani High Commissioner into denying the visas to them. Pakistan is after all under military dictatorship which does not go out of its way to welcome inquisitive journalists.

The information about the denial of visas to journalists was conveyed to them only a few hours before the delegation was to leave for Lahore, leaving them with no choice but to grin and bear it.

There are reports that only three journalists belonging to a Jalandhar-based Punjabi daily were given visas and have accompanied the delegation to Lahore.

There are also allegations of “pick and choose” against the organisers of the conference by others. Mr Siri Ram Arsh, a wellk-known Punjabi author, has complained that he had been deliberately left out of the delegation by the organisers so that they could “oblige” their own friends and relations. There is no reaction from the organisers so far who are any way busy at present with the conference at Lahore.


Lowest snowfall in Himalayas
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Catchment areas and the originating points of the Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej, received just 30 per cent of snowfall during the past winter. The Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) has indicated this to the authorities here after studying satellite images of the Himalayas and also of the Mansarovar lakes in Tibet.

This is the lowest recorded snowfall in these parts of the Himalayas from where several of the great rivers of the country originate, probably a further endorsement of global warming, say experts. On these rivers depends the cropping pattern and drinking water availability in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, and parts of Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.

Already the inflows are the lowest in the past 15 years. The crisis, if any, will come around late May and early June when paddy transplantation , which requires more water, begins.

Satellite images of the vast catchment areas spreading across hundreds of square miles in India and Tibet show scanty snowfall, sources said. They explained that 30 per cent of the snow-bound areas had snow during the winter. Under normal circumstances, the snowfall covers 75 per cent of the areas.

These rivers originate from separate places in the Himalayas and the Mansarovar lakes. Downstream several small rivers join in and collectively meet the water requirements of crores of people every day. The run-off water also produces almost 4,000 MW of power.

Already, the water levels in three major dams — the Bhakra, the Pong and the Ranjit Sagar — are falling. So, is there a water crisis on hand in the region? No, assure officials of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), expressing confidence of a pull-through to meet the water and crop requirements, despite the lack of snow, by the optimum utilisation of water.

The member, Irrigation , BBMB, Mr Satish Kumar Duggal, allayed fears, saying: “Less snow will not result in a water shortage. The permanent ice caps like the glaciers will also melt this year in the case of less snow, thus meeting the demand. Inflows have already increased partially in the dams during the past few days and are at present pegged at 6,300 cusecs and 1,481 cusecs, respectively, for Bhakra and Pong,” Mr Duggal admitted that the inflows were not matching those of last year and were lower by 25 to 30 per cent. In April not much water would be released excepting to run power generation turbines during peak hours, he added.

Meanwhile, sources in the Ranjit Sagar Dam management said almost no water was being released at the moment while inflows were very poor due to unfavourable rainfall and snowfall. They said no comparisons could be made as the dam had started filling up after the summer of 2000.

Here in Chandigarh, at the BBMB’s headquarters, Mr Duggal said that levels in the BBMB dams were low and added that the availability of water at Bhakra and Pong was 69 per cent and 40 per cent of last year, respectively. The situation had improved when compared to February, 2001, when the reservoir levels in the two dams were 30 ft below last year’s level. Now the levels were 11 ft and 23 ft less than those recorded last year at Bhakra and Pong, respectively. 

  • Inflows into dams are the least in the past 15 years
  • Lack of snow will mean further reduced inflow
  • BBMB engineers assure “we can manage without affecting crops and drinking water requirements”
  • Outflow being regulated accordingly and partner states informed about optimum utilisation of water

Storage levels in major dams



Dead storage









Ranjit Sagar




Note : All figures in feet above mean sea level; Ranjit Sagar filling was started after April, 2000



IAF to have war memorial in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
To honour its brave and to recall the sacrifices made by officers and air men, the Chandigarh Air Force Station will soon have a war memorial. Work on the project is already underway.

The war memorial is being built near the 12 Wing’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower, which is the arrival and departure point for all VIPs, including civilian leaders travelling by service aircraft and visiting service brass. Besides, all IAF aircraft from other air bases touching Chandigarh are parked near the ATC.

According to sources, the war memorial will be dedicated to the heroes of the IAF as a whole and not just those from the local airbase, which has actively participated in all wars and operations in offensive as well as support roles. Air Force Day, which falls of October 8, visits by IAF officers and change of command are among other occasions when war memorial ceremonies are expected to be held.

The epitaph, “A salute to the brave men of the IAF — Fiery legends of the skies”, will be embellished on the structure. The base of the structure will be a 4-foot high and 40-foot square platform. Steps will lead up to another 3-foot high, 20-foot long platform, which will be concentric with the base. The base will be brick-lined, while the authorities are thinking of using Kota or Jodhpur stone tiles on the smaller platform.

A 25-foot high granite pillar tapering off at the upper end will rise from the middle of the smaller platform. On this column, the IAF emblem, cast in brass and silver and measuring two feet across, will be mounted.

The area around the memorial will be landscaped with ornamental trees, shrubs, flowers and decorative lights. The IAF is reported to have spent about Rs 10 lakh on the project, but is running short of funds. It is now learnt to have approached the Punjab Government for helping it financially.


Special services mark Good Friday
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Good Friday, the day marking the crucification of Jesus Christ for humanity, was observed in the city and its surrounding area here today.

Special services were held in all churches of the city and hundreds of the Christians visited the churches. Back


Is industrial waste being sent to cement plants?
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
There is bad news for the builders, government and private agencies engaged in the construction activities and general public constructing houses. The cement they are using may be adulterated as the industrial waste from the local industries is increasingly finding its way to certain cement plants.

According to information gathered by The Tribune, a part of the industrial waste from a leading industry in the Industrial Area here, which is “illegally” being dumped at an authorised malba dumping site along the Dakshin Marg in Sector 29 and a dumping site in Darua village, is being purchased by unscrupulous cement manufacturers of the region with a view to adulterate the cement.

It is learnt that the industry had given the job of removing the industrial waste from its premises to a Bapu Dham-based contractor, who in turn, dumps the industrial waste at the two dumping sites. The powdery white substance after grinding the industrial waste is allegedly used by the cement manufacturers to adulterate the cement.

It may be recalled that the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) had earmarked authorised dumping sites in the city last year for throwing “malba” by the residents so that sanitation could be maintained in the city.

But whether dumping of industrial waste, which could be toxic posing serious threat to lives of the citizens, is allowed is anybody’s guess.

The workers at the Sector 29 dumping site informed that the powdery substance was in great demand and the cement plants in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal took away the substance. Atleast four truckloads of the substance were taken by the cement manufacturers every month, they said, while refusing to divulge the rate at which the substance was sold.

On the other hand, cement distributors said they had no method by which they could check the quality of the cement supplied to them by the cement plants.

A majority of their requirements are met by the supplies from the reputed companies and there had not been any complaint about the quality of cement from the consumers so far, they added.

A reputed cement distributor, on the condition anonymity, said that the cut-throat competition in the cement industry and the large-scale construction activity in the region might have led certain cement plants to indulge in this malpractice.


UT to provide single-phase meters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The UT Electricity Department will provide single-phase meters to electricity consumers as per earlier practice.

This assurance was given to a deputation of the Chandigarh Nationalist Congress Party, led by its president Mr Gurbachan Singh, which met Mr J.N. Sachdeva, SE, here yesterday.

The deputation informed the SE that it was very difficult for the common consumers, specially living in slums and villages, to spend huge amounts on purchasing electronic meters.

It may be recalled that for the past over 35 years, the Electricity Department had been providing single and three-phase meters at its own cost and a nominal rent was charged from the consumers. But now the department had decided that every consumer of single and three phase connection should provide its own meter which cost from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500 in case of the single phase and Rs 3,500 to 15,000 in case of three phase.


Watermelon sellers an agitated lot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
To see watermelon sellers by the roadside in various parts of the city seems to be a thing of the past, for, due to the indifferent attitude of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, they have not been able to get permission to sell the same. The matter is, however, being placed before the Finance and Contract Committee (F and CC) for a decision on the issue.

While on one hand, the sellers are an agitated lot, the MC on an average is losing about Rs 10,000 every day. For the last 15 days, the sellers, who earn a living by selling the melons by the roadside in summers have been visiting the MC office, but no decision has been taken as yet.

It may be recalled that in the previous summer seasons, the MC had been taking Rs 500 as removal charges per day from each seller, thereby earning a net revenue of Rs 3 lakh every month. The authorities take the plea that permission has not been granted keeping in view the problems faced by the traffic police on account of the roadside sellers. Even though, watermelons have started arriving in the market, most people are not able to savour the sweetness of the fruit for the same are not being made available due to lack of permission.

According to information available, the sellers had as usual sought permission from the Chief Engineer to put up the melons on as many as 19 sites on the main roads in the city, but the same was denied on the grounds that as per police figures, chances of road accidents are fairly high at these spots. First, the MC had agreed to give them permission by the side of link roads, but the same has also been denied. This is affecting the business of the watermelon sellers.

According to the president of the Bazigar cell, Mr Piare lal of Maloya colony, who has been engaged in this business for the last 20 years, earlier they were not required to give anything to the Administration for selling their stuff by the roadside. But after the MC came into existence, they were being charged Rs 500 per month for selling the melons by the side of all main roads, which was later increased to Rs 750. This was further enhanced to Rs 500 per day during the tenure of former mayor, Mr Gian Chand Gupta.

Mr Lal further had demanded that permission should be given to them at the earliest so that they can feed their families during the season.

The Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, when contacted said that the matter is being placed before the Finance and Contract Committee on April 18 for a decision, though a decision has already been taken in one of the meetings much before. Moreover, when permission has been granted to them in the past, why is the same not been given this year.


2,500 BSNL phones non-functional
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
More than 2,500 telephones of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) installed in Sector 22 have been non-functional for the past five days. This is due to a technical fault in a specific telecom equipment which routes the calls.

Residents have approached the department only to be informed that the equipment was not available for replacement. All the phones are connected onto the main exchange of the BSNL in Sector 17.


Monkey menace in Sector 20
Our Correspondent

Enjoying fruit: A monkey has created panic among residents of Sector 20-A, Chandigarh.
Enjoying fruit: A monkey has created panic among residents of Sector 20-A, Chandigarh.
— A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 13
A simian family of three, headed by an old male monkey, has become a menace for the residents of Sector 20-A of this city for the past over one month.

The simians stay atop mango trees and houses in Sector 20-A and spend most of the day teasing residents.

“Last week, the old monkey came and sat in the verandah of our neighbours. He refused to be shooed away and make threatening sounds. They had to go to the office without taking their bath and breakfast”, said a resident, Mr Verma.

Another 91-year-old resident complained that the animal stared at them and jumped into the house after unlatching windows. “He is so perfect that he even opens refrigerators in search of food stuff,” he complained.

“About a week ago, he used to come with his family, but for the past two-three days, only the old one has created nuisance,” complained Mr Shakti Kumar, another resident.

Mr Rajiv Bhardwaj, another resident, said earlier they thought the monkeys would go back themselves and did not inform the Wild Life Department. But now as it has frequently started sneaking into the houses and even threatening and scaring children, so they would have to approach the authorities.


Now page your power complaints
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 13
The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam, today introduced a novel facility for its consumers to register complaints pertaining to electricity supply through Modi Page service.

Talking to mediapersons, the Executive Engineer, Mr M.R. Murari, said that paging services had been introduced in all the six complaint centres in Panchkula. This is for the first time that such services had been introduced in the state.

A single number, 9610400500, would cover all six complaint centres and would work round the clock. The consumer would be required to dial this number and obtain his complaint number in written. The telephone number of the consumer and the time of registering the complaint would automatically get registered at the receiving end.


Goods worth lakhs gutted
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 13
Goods worth lakhs of rupees were gutted in a fire that broke out in a yarn industry unit on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road in Saidpura village about 2 km from here on Wednesday.

Sources say that the fire broke out at about 4.00 a.m. was noticed by the workers of the unit and the police and fire tenders were called in.

Apart from raw cotton, a large number of cotton bales were destroyed causing huge losses to the proprietors.

The Dera Bassi firemen, with the help of police personnel and factory workers, took over four hours to overcome the flames.

A short circuit was reported to be the cause of the fire.


What a fall... at Fun City
Our Correspondent

The newly constructed fun slide
The newly constructed fun slide, which was inaugurated at Fun City on Baisakhi, has become a hit with children.
— Photo Pankaj Sharma

Panchkula, April 13
The adventurous and fun-loving souls of the region today got an opportunity to experience a thrilling 32-feet high fall from a hillock through a water channel at the Fun City amusement park in Panchkula where this new ride called fun slide was inaugurated on the occasion of Baisakhi today.

This Rs 9 lakh project consisting a twin slide and rafts provides the thrill of a waterfall where people do not even have to get into the swimming costume or get their feet wet. Amneet and Simar, who visited Fun City for the first time said they were fascinated by the fun slide.”The speed and action of the funslide gave us the enjoyable moments of life” they said.

Karan and Gurasees from Solan who relished the moments of slipping and sliding through water cascade said the best part of the fun slide is that one experiences the thrill of falling from the top of a waterfall even without getting wet.

Spreading the spirit of Baisakhi among the visitors, the City Heart Entertainment, the regular entertaining group of the park presented Bhangra and Punjabi folk songs . A magic show and a puppet show by the local artists were also organised by the authorities as a part of the celebrations.

Talking about the future plans, Mr Kamaljeet Singh, owner of Fun City said that the park is going to add two more sophisticated waterslides to the wetpark along with a built-in jacuzzi which will be open to the public in another 10 days.


“Media must help check corruption”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Janshakti, a social organisation, organised an open discussion on “Lok Shakti — the only answer to corruption” at Lajpat Rai Bhavan in Sector 15 here today.

Speaking on the occasion, a veteran journalist, Mr Radhe Shyam Sharma, emphasised the role of the media to check corruption in the boldest possible manner. Maj-Gen Rajinder Nath(Retd), while advocating deterrent punishment for the defence officials involved in the case, wanted that the inquiry should be finalised in a short time.

The convener of Janshakti, Prof P.P. Arya wanted people not to accept corruption. Corruption in India was the root-cause of political and economic instability.

Prominent among those who spoke were Mr P.C. Suri, Mr K.C. Shenmar, Prof M.R. Aggarwal, Mr A.K. Dutta, Mr P.C. Chauhan and Mr B.P. Aggarwal.


Martyr remembered
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 13
Rich tributes were paid to Major Harminder Pal Singh of 18 Grenadiers who laid down his life while fighting with militants on April, 1999, at a shrandhanjli samagam organised in connection with his second death anniversary in Mundi Kharar village yesterday.

Representatives of various political parties, the Army and prominent citizens paid tributes to the martyr.

The martyr, before laying down his life, killed four militants and he was awarded the Shaurya Chakra.

Among others who paid tributes were Mrs Satwant Kaur Sandhu (Cabinet Minister), Mrs Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal (ex-MP), Mr Rajbir Singh (Vice-President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal), Mrs Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha (General Secretary, PPCC) and Major Pishora Singh (Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare Board, Ropar).Back


Congress rally 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) will organise a rally in the Sector 22 Nehru Park on April 15 to expose the Central Government’s alleged role in a shady defence deal as exposed by the


Challan drive to check black films on car windows
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 13
On the second day of a special drive against the unauthorised use of black films on the windowpanes of vehicles, the Chandigarh traffic police challaned 65 vehicles today.

According to a senior police official, the drive would continue for the rest of week. The drive was launched after it was felt that the number of vehicles with black films have increased in the city.

2 more arrests in PU

The police arrested another two of the accused in last night’s stabbing case in the Panjab University campus. A security personnel of Panjab University, Mr S.N. Bose, was stabbed by two youth as he objected to their jumping onto the premises of a women’s hostel in PU. Mr Bose sustained injuries on his cheek, arm and thighs. One of the accused, Sanjay was arrested on the spot, while five of his accomplices had managed to escape.

Later, the police also arrested Shiva and Kuldeep Chand Rana, accused in the case. The police acted after the security personnel reported the matter to the police.

The police was said to be on the lookout for the other accused also. A case under sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 506, 332, 353, 186 and 452 of Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Theft in PU hostel

Mr Ram Sharma, a resident of Room No. 7, Hostel No. 4, reported to the police that his mobile phone, a gold chain, a wrist watch and Rs 1,000 was stolen from his room here yesterday.

A case under Section 380 of Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Gold stolen from scooter

Mr Pavitar Singh, a resident of Sector 17 reported that two bangles and a gold chain were stolen from the dickey of his scooter parked in Sector 8, here yesterday.

A case under Section 379 of Indian Penal Code has been registered.

2 bootleggers held

The local police arrested Tara Chand and Raj Kumar, both resident of Beer Ghagar village, Panchkula district from a bus stop near the Housing Board traffic light points and reportedly recovered 196 pouches of liquor from their possession.

They were booked under the Excise Act.

Two gamblers booked

Two persons of Nayagaon were booked for allegedly gambling at a public place on Friday. A total of Rs 110 was recovered from their possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered against them.

Bank customer defrauded

Ms Harvinder Kaur of Phase-2 complained to the police that she was issued an ATM card by the Times Bank before its merger with the HDFC bank. When she came to know about the marger she contacted Amandeep Singh of HDFC bank, who gave her a receipt and took her ATM for necessary changes. After some time, when she checked Rs 30,000 had been withdrawn from her account. A case under Sections 419 and 420 of the IPC has been registered.


2 kids killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 13
Two children accompanying their parents were crushed to death by a speeding tipper on the Naraingarh road here today.

According to sources, the deceased, Rina (3 ) and her five-year-old brother, Ravi, were crushed to death near Kot Billa village.

After registering a case with the Chandi Mandir police station, the bodies have been sent to the Sector 6 Civil Hospital for a postmortem examination. 


Woman jumps into water tank, dies
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 13
A woman resident of Hallomajra village drowned herself in an over head water tank here this morning. After this incident, the woman’s husband reportedly attempted suicide in his house by trying to hang himself but was saved by neighbours. He was admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where his condition was said to be stable.

According to police sources, Madhuri climbed the water tank and jumped inside it. She was said to be ill for sometime. The police sources said that she ended her life “to get rid of the illness”. The incident reportedly took place at around 10.15 am.

The police sources informed that the moment her husband Dev Raj came to know about the incident, he tried to end his life as he was shocked.

The woman is survived by her three children. Inquest proceedings under Section 174 of Cr PC have been started.

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