Thursday, May 10, 2001,
 Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No exit if emergency ward is on fire
Fire-safety equipment, too, non-functional
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Those visiting the Sector 16 General Hospital are advised to enter the emergency ward at the basement there with caution, even though the danger is not apparent at the first glance.

There is only one way to enter or exit the ward. Though the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr K.K. Garg, says that there is an exit point in the laundry plant, you will not find it functional. An entry point from the rear of the building is reportedly used for access to residences on the top floor and is never open for public.

During a visit to the hospital in the evening, the laundry section was found locked. A junior employee of the hospital said, “The laundry plant is closed everyday at 5 pm. It has one door, which is opened only for the supply of clothes. The basement emergency ward has one entry and no exit.” Many employees and staff nurses endorse his opinion. The exit point, which is there according to the authorities, is useless unless it is open to public.

In case of a fire in the building, there is no way to escape. Such a mishap can happen anytime there because combustible things like clothes, plastic sheets, wood and many PVC products have been kept in the basement. There is also a lack of adequate fire-fighting equipment. The visit to the hospital showed that only one fire extinguisher was in use there.

Though the Chandigarh Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Rules of 1991, specify 12 fire-safety standards, the hospital does not satisfy all of these. There are no illuminated exit-way signs, public-address system and fire lift with a fireman switch.

When contacted, a former Chief Fire Officer, Mr Darshan Singh, said he had sent four notices, regarding this lack of fire-safety standards, to the hospital authorities during his tenure. According to Section 28 (c) of the Punjab Capital Development and Regulation Building Rules, 1952, basements can at best be used for only storage of household goods or the other incombustible material, besides air-conditioning equipment. Mr Darshan Singh said, “The law says that basements cannot be turned into emergency wards of hospitals. The hospital’s basement is a fire-safety hazard.”

He said, though, as required by the Chandigarh Fire Prevention Rules of 1991, hydrants had been installed in the hospital, these were not functional. He also said the overhead water tanks there might not work during an emergency. When the Medical Superintendent was asked whether there was an automatic fire detection and alarm system in the hospital, he said there was none. He, however, said the fire extinguishers were checked every year. “We had checked the extinguishers in November past year,” he said. A visit to the area showed that there were no sand buckets there.

As per the Chandigarh Fire Safety Rules of 1991, the Chief Fire Officer has the power to seal any building that does not comply with fire-safety norms. However, Mr G.S. Bajwa, who holds the current-duty charge of the CFO, when contacted, said, “The basement emergency ward hardly has any combustible material.” The CFO is perhaps not aware that a short circuit can also cause a fire.

The hospital authorities need to get into action soon. Already about four fires, on an average, are being reported in the city everyday.

The Medical Superintendent said, “We plan to shift the emergency ward to the first floor of the main emergency section. We also plan to convert the present emergency ward in the basement into a store.” Plans galore, but implementation is yet to be seen.


UT finalises transfer policy for govt teachers
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, May 9
A transfer policy for teachers in government schools has been finalised by the Chandigarh Administration. The Education Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, has issued orders which will enable transfer of teachers after a gap of two years.

The department is also encouraging meritorious teachers to come forward voluntarily for posting in villages and slum schools where a host of incentives await such teachers.

Simultaneously, after the conclusion of admissions from nursery to class X the workload of each school on the basis of actual enrolment is also being rationalised. This will entail shifting of posts of teachers from one school to another. In a positive departure from the transfer policy of yesteryear, this time teachers can aspire to be posted in schools in sectors or villages where they reside. But this comes with a rider that the teacher should be meritorious. The teachers have welcomed this step taken by the department.

General transfers are being affected after a gap of two years. Principals, headmasters or headmistresses having more than five years stay in the present school might be shifted, sources indicated. While considering the transfers, the department would keep the results of these schools in mind. The performance of students will be taken into account in examinations conducted by the Central Board Secondary Education (CBSE) and also the Middle Standard Examinations conducted by the UT Education Department.

Similarly, lecturers, masters and JBT teachers and other categories of teachers will be shifted on having completed seven years stay in a particular school. Teachers having more than three years of service in the present school can be shifted on request basis but the results of the school of such teachers will be the primary consideration.

While affecting the transfers this time, special care will be taken to strengthen schools in villages and slum areas. The teachers who have been awarded or have been recognised in some other way are being motivated to opt for rural areas and colonies. With this the slum schools will get uplift and encouragement.

The teachers can give as many options in order of priority. The teachers can opt for transfers either on completion of seven years stay in a school or due to special circumstances after a stay of more than three years service in a particular school. Teachers retiring within one year or less will, however, not be generally transferred.

The teachers who are not fluent in English will remain in non-model schools and will not be transferred to English medium schools. Change of a teacher from model school to non-model school will be allowed only in genuine cases where a teacher is totally unable to teach in a model school.

Due to general elections in 1999 and census operations in 2000, transfers could not be effected during the academic sessions 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. Very few transfers were made which were either on administrative grounds or on compassionate grounds.


Students in dark about revised fee structure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Revision in the fee structure of Panjab University has caused inconvenience to scores of students who have to return to the fee counters after being told by the branches concerned in the Administrative office of the university about the revised fee rates.

The rates on the admission forms have also not been revised yet. The new ones have not been updated in several cases. When the branch of the State Bank of India in the university charges the amount showed on the forms, these are returned back by the branch concerned saying there has been a ‘fee revision’.

Forms for migration and duplicate certificates, which earlier cost Rs 20, now cost Rs 22. ‘‘ It is very difficult managing an extra change of Rs 2. Students from outside are often seen grumbling to the staff on duty about the hike’’, a bank officer on duty said.

Dr T.S.Gupta, a parent, said that he paid Rs 20 for an inter-university migration form. He was charged Rs 190 as the fee. However, when he went to the branch concerned in the Administrative office, he was told that the fee of the form had been revised to Rs 22 and the fee had been hiked by Rs 20.

Interestingly the SBI branch does not have a single inquiry counter of the university. Bank officers on duty show their helplessness in answering several routine inquiries.

There is an average 10 per cent hike in the existing fee structure. However, the details have not been communicated properly to the fee counters being managed by bank branch.

The university has given code numbers for different courses to students for particular mention in their forms. Each code has specified sums mentioned to be charged by the bank. The list of code numbers, however, has not been displayed properly and in full. There is a need for a bigger board for display the complete list.

The code for BA I and B Sc I is 0021; BA II and B Sc II is 0022; BA III and B Sc III is 0023; BA II ( honours) II is 0024; and BA III ( honours) is 0025.

The code for the B Sc I (honours) is 0031; B Sc II ( honours) is 0032; and B Sc III ( honours) is 0033. The NRI quota is coded as 0490; telephone charges is 0069; bus charges is 0070; and photostat is 0071 besides others.

Mr J.M.Ratol, Chief General Manager of the State Bank of India( PU branch), said that the university should provide updated information about changes in the fee structure. The bank can only charge the printed price.

Mr Ratol said that the bank was providing a voluntary service of fee collection to aid the campus. 


Terms of reference for MCC’s financial review inadequate: Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The terms of reference sent recently by the Chandigarh Administration to the Second Delhi Finance Commission to review the financial position of the Municipal Corporation,Chandigarh(MCC), are inadequate and will not meet the ever increasing needs of the MCC, says the local member parliament, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal.

About the terms of reference, which have been finalised and sent by the Administration in case of the Corporation and Panchayats under the Union Territory, Mr Bansal points that terms of reference are contrary to the explicit provisions of Article 243 ( Y) of the Constitution. Sub clause-I of the article states ‘‘ the distribution will be between the state and the municipalities from the net proceeds of the taxes, duties , tolls and fees leviable by the state, which may be divided between them under this part and the allocation between the municipalities at all levels of their respective shares of such proceeds. ’’

In fact, the said clause does not find any mention in the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, also as extended to the UT. Mr Bansal says that he will urge the Administration to amend the terms of reference to incorporate the said clause and seek distribution of the money which the Administration gets. While major works of expenditure are with the Corporation, the Administration, instead of rendering the required help to tide over the financial crunch, is forcing it to levy more taxes including property tax, the local MP adds.

Arguing the case against imposing property tax, Mr Bansal says that despite the special status given to the city, the realisation of income tax is the highest here, even though Ludhiana happens to be the Manchester of India. It will be unfair to impose property tax for the land has been acquired at lower rates and then sold to the new owners at higher rates. The city residents have also been paying ground rent in the form of lease money.

Mr Bansal also emphasises that since the MCC happens to be the vital unit of grass-root democracy, states ( in this case the Chandigarh Administration) must part with some of their rights temporarily. Since the UT does not have its own finance commission, the recommendations of the Delhi Finance Commission are implemented here and accordingly the grant -in-aid are released to the MCC and the village panchayats. The Secretary, Local Bodies-cum-Finance Secretary, Mr Rakesh Singh, has in pursuance of the powers conferred under Section 84-A of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, has specified the terms of reference in case of MCC and gram panchayats to the DFC.

The term of DFC constituted earlier in 1997 has expired. The MCC will get its share in taxes and grants-in-aid from the Administration from the next year as per the recommendations of the second Delhi Finance Commission. The share of MCC, which has to undertake most of the development works in the city, should be well-specified so that the grant-in-aid should not appear to be a charity, adds Mr Bansal.

In the past, the MCC, has several times demanded an increase in share of taxes being collected by the Administration from 50 per cent to 100 per cent, but the same is being turned down by the Administration on the grounds that grants-in-aid being currently released to the MCC is already more than what has been recommended by the Delhi Finance Commission. The commission has recommended that the MCC be given 20 per cent share in taxes in 1998-1999; 17.5 per cent in 1999-2000 and 15 per cent in 2000-2001.

As per the recommendations of the commission, the share of the MCC in 1998-1999 was Rs 47.80 crore; in 1999-2000 it was Rs 45.93 crore and in 2000-2001 it was Rs 41.39 crore. But the Administration has actually released grants -in-aid to the tune of Rs 48 crore each year.


PGI gets SPECT Gamma Camera
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
With commissioning of Rs 2.2 crore ‘‘ Dual Head E Cam Gamma Camera" in the Nuclear Medicine Department yesterday, the PGI became the second health institute in India, after AIIMS, New Delhi, to get this state-the-art machine for functional imaging.

The PGI Director, Professor S.K. Sharma, inaugurated the SPECT gamma camera which provides a three dimensional computer constructed images of multiple views of the organs being imaged.

According to Prof S.K. Jindal, officiating Head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine, with this new sophisticated tool, the PGI doctors can carry out precise investigations followed by accurate diagnosis for many commonly occurring problems.

Doctors will get qualitative information to diagnose better and the Nuclear Medicine Department will be able to carry out conduct new investigative research projects for the benefit of patients, said Dr B.R. Mittal, Associate Professor in the Nuclear Medicine Department,

The gamma camera is primarily used for functional imaging of various organs of the body. In comparison to the conventional radiology where anatomical studies are conducted using X-Ray, ultrasound or MRI, in this procedure, a radio active isotope is introduced in the body , either orally or intravenously.

While a normal X-ray shows static image of a particular organ, gamma camera also evaluates the functions of the particular organ, says Dr Aneesh Bhattacharyya, Assistant Professor, Department of Nuclear Medicine. He , however, adds that it is not a replacement for radiological procedures and will, instead, add a lot of meaningful diagnostic information for clinicians for treatment and follow up of a disease.

During the procedure, emission of the isotope is caught on the gamma camera and the image is processed by the computer which shows the image of the organ.

While it helps provide excellent diagnosis for the emergency cases, other common procedures include screening of the kidney function and the cancer spread, Cardiology-Thallium scan to observe the blood flow, imaging of cardiac, lung, brain perfusion, detection of intestinal bleeding clots in the lungs among others. For the paediatric group specifically, the camera is helpful to detect hidden fevers and bone infections.

Advantages of this procedure also includes the fact that unlike angiography it is completely non-invasive. Even the amount of radiation emitted by isotope is less than one-tenth emitted by a X-ray.

Investigation time may vary from five to 10 minutes to six to seven hours depending upon the investigations. Whereas in the private sector investigation may cost as much as Rs 10,000 for cardiac and Rs 1,500 to 2,500 for other procedures, in the PGI, it will be nominal. For a cardiac investigation, Rs 3,000 will be charged and for other procedures Rs 100 to 200.


Ordnance performance poor: report
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Ordnance services have been unable to achieve the goal of attaining high levels of user satisfaction due to the persistent unavailability of stores and perennial delays in meeting the demands of the Army. Unavailability of stores is in the range of 12 to 40 per cent, while delays range between one month to four years.

Slamming its poor performance, a recently released report on ordnance services circulated among various defence establishments states that inspection by the Directorate General, Quality Assurance, needs to be made more stringent to prevent the rejection of stores for not meeting quality norms.

“Overhaul programmes are affected due to non-availability of critical and vital spares. Cases of rejection of stores not meeting the specifications are a common occurrence,” the report states. “Precious manhours are lost in segregating demands and 30 to 40 per cent demands remain outstanding for registration itself,” the report reveals.

The reports brings out that while ordnance depots are “full of stores”, there is a high “inability percentage” in meeting demands. “Even if the stores are available, these are not issued within the stipulated time. While on one hand the depots are saddled with certain stocks to last for centuries, some other items on the inventory are unavailable for issue to troops,” the report states. The inventory held in ordnance depots appears to be “unbalanced”, the report adds.

Army HQ had stipulated in December, 1972, that the entire process for the issue of stores, from the registration of demands till the final issue, should not exceed 22 days. A process known as issue time check (ITC) recorded on documents was in vogue to ensure compliance with the aforesaid schedule and investigation of delay. “There is, however, no provision in policies/procedures for fixing responsibility for delay and remedial/punitive measures to rectify the position,” the report states. “Depots could seldom meet the demands within the laid down time limit. Apparently, delay is a rule rather than an exception,” the report says.

The report states that for want of spares, equipment remains out of action (EOA) and vehicles remain off-road (VOR). Both conditions are unacceptable.

Citing an example of an ordnance depot which received 2,599 EOA and VOR demands in a year, the report states that the inability percentage (IP) touched 68. The report refers to IP as the percentage of demands from dependent units, which a depot is unable to meet due to stocks not being available.

The report reveals that the annual repair and overhaul targets of Army base workshops cannot be achieved since certain critical and vital spares are not forthcoming from ordnance depots. “Shortfalls in targets range from 1 to 100 per cent,” the report states.

Apart from the unavailability of critical and vital spares, even those supplied were at times found to be unfit for use in workshops. The IP for critical spares, according to the report, has touched 79.6 per cent.

The report has recommended the online linking of ordnance depots, user units and higher formation headquarters to enhance stock visibility, besides making efforts to ascertain the reasons that have led to an increase in the IP. The report has also suggested that delays should be investigated and remedial action taken. Punitive action could also be considered against those responsible for delays.

Besides monitoring EOA and VOR demands at the highest level in depots and making efforts to speed up the clearance of such demands, it has also been recommended that the high rate of rejection of stores needs to be investigated and responsibility fixed.

The Master General of Ordnance’s Branch (MGO) at Army HQ, while agreeing with the above recommendations, has also suggested bringing the civilian work force at depots under the Army Act or at least applying the rules for General Reserve Engineer Force personnel to them.


New adult literacy aid
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 9
In a step which could boost the adult literacy programme in the country, the SAS Nagar-based Centre for Electronic Design and Technology of India has developed a low-cost audio-visual teaching aid.

The device, “Sarthi-1”, developed under a project of the Union Ministry of Information Technology, does not require a personal computer (PC) to impart education to the beneficiaries. It can be connected direct to any television set.

Mr R.S. Khandpur, Director of the CEDTI, who was talking to mediapersons at the 12th foundation day celebrations of the centre, said the portable device was initially being developed for teaching Hindi and Punjabi. The facility for teaching other languages would be incorporated at a later stage depending upon the requirement of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, which had given around Rs 25 lakh for field trials of the device.

Mr Khandpur said the Director-General of the National Literacy Mission had recently approved the device. The syllabus prescribed by the National Literacy Mission for the adult literacy programme had been stored in the memory chip ( around 8 MB) of the teaching aid. Costing around Rs 7,500, experts at the CEDTI were planning to reduce its size to make it more economical.

The device can repeatedly write, speak and display the characters of the alphabet and form words with increasing degree of complexity. Mr Khandpur said the device, with six buttons, was easy to operate. A user could adjust the speed of the device as per requirements.

Mr Khanpur said the field trials of an initial version were done in Faridkot and Ambala. The technology of the teaching aid would be transferred to industry for mass production of the device on behalf of the Human Resource Ministry.

Giving details of other projects, Mr Khandpur said a national-level multi-media centre had been set up at a cost of Rs 75 lakh to provide training, including entrepreneurship development training. He said the CEDTI had collaborated with the PGI to impart training in the repair and maintenance of medical instruments. A programme with Punjab Engineering College was being run to develop product designs.

The centre proposed to develop a demo-cum-training centre for IT-enabled services at a cost of around Rs 1.5 crore. Around 80 franchise centres were being run by the CEDTI.

Mr Khandpur said the centre planned to establish an animation centre and provide training facilities to STD/PCO operators for setting up cyber cafes in the next five years at a cost of around Rs 10 crore. The funding of the project was to be done by the Union Ministry for Information Technology.


Proposal yet to be discussed by BJP
Work permits for Bangladesh migrants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Though the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, has announced a proposal to issue work permits to “illegal” Bangladeshi migrants, his party has not formally or informally discussed this matter yet.

“We have not applied our mind to the matter yet as party leaders were busy in election campaigning in various states”, said Mr K. Jana Krishnamurthi here today. Backing the Prime Minister’s proposal in his personal capacity, the BJP chief said that it was a good, practicable proposal. But at the same time the matter might come up for discussion at informal meetings of party leaders held in its central office in Delhi and even at the national Executive of the BJP.

There were a host of legal problems in deporting the migrants who had their names on the electoral rolls and also held ration cards, etc, but were not citizens of the country (India). It was a very peculiar problem faced by the country.

When asked how India could afford to give work permits to illegal migrants when it had a large army of its own unemployed citizens, the BJP chief said he would take note of this suggestion.

Mr Krishnamurthi said that the outcome of the elections in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Pondicherry would not be a referendum on the performance of the Vajpayee government. Elections in states were held mainly on local issues.

He was sure that his party would improve its performance in all states where elections were being held and make its entry for the first time in the Assemblies of Kerala and Pondicherry. He predicted a hung Assembly both in West Bengal and Kerala.

Asked about the recent reshuffle in the Prime Minister’s Office, under presumed pressure from the RSS, Mr Krishnamurthi said that no one could dictate to the Prime Minister on the matter of selecting his assistants in the office. It was the prerogative of the Prime Minister to pick his team. The RSS had the right to comment on the functioning of the PMO like any other organisation. “Any good suggestion made by any organisation even by the RSS is given due respect but the BJP would pursue its own party line”, Mr Krishnamurthi said.

Asked whether Mr Brajesh Mishra would be ousted from the PMO, Mr Krishnamurthi reiterated that the party had no right to interfere in the selection of the Prime Minister’s men.

Mr Krishnamurthi defended the endorsing of US President George Bush’s National Defence Missile plan by the Union Government in a tearing hurry. “I see nothing improper in it”, he added. Asked whether the BJP had departed from the decades old practice of consulting the Opposition leaders before making a major foreign policy statement like the one extending support to Mr Bush’s plan, Mr Krishnamurthi said it was only the initial reaction of the Union Government. The matter would come up for discussion at the next session of Parliament and then all parties could express their opinions on the matter for reaching a consensus, he added. Moreover, in the changed international scenario, adjustments had to be made in the foreign policy, he added.


BJP chief opens memorial in Sector 37
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The National President of the BJP, Mr K Jaya Krishnamurthy, today exhorted the party workers to wipe out the Congress in the next Assembly elections in Punjab early next year.

Addressing a rally after inaugurating the Dr Shyama Prashad Memorial Bhavan in Sector 37 here, the BJP chief said the party cadre should prepare for poll campaign in such a way that the Congress, which had 14 seats in the 117-seat Punjab assembly, should come a cropper in the next poll.

Over 100 persons, who laid down their lives for the unity and integrity of the country and contributed to the RSS movement, were honoured at the function.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Chandigarh Ayurvedic Doctors Association (CADA) met the BJP national president Mr Krishnamurthy and submitted him a memorandum condemning the local Health Department for its reported action against the non-degree holder doctors registered under the modern allopathic system of medicines, ayurvedic system and Unani system of medicine.

The association claimed that these persons have been registered by organisations recognised by respective state governments. Dr Anwar Ali, president of CADA, in a press note warned the Chandigarh Administration to stop the action against RMPs, vaids and hakims working in the city. He threatened that if the Administration continued its operations against these doctors, an indefinite agitation would be started.


Laughing his way to the silver screen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 9
Making people laugh is a passion for him. This 25-year-old comedian from Sri Ganganagar wants to create a place for himself in the world of comedy . He is Khyali Saharan, who has recently signed a couple of Hindi movies including “Meetha Meetha Ishq Piya Ka”, “Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas” and “Sapera.”

“Comedy comes naturally to me”, said Khyali, talking to The Tribune at his residence in Sector 34-C. “I can pick up anything from a situation and instantly present it in the form of comedy. And as I have a flair for language and a good ear for accent, I can entertain the audience non-stop, even without a written script,” he added.

Khyali, who left his home and came to Sri Ganganagar after his schooling to pursue his dream of becoming a comedian on the silver screen says, “I read the life history of Charlie Chaplin once and that inspired me a great deal. However, I never tried to copy him or anyone else for that matter. I want to be known as a separate entity in the world of comedy,” he added.

Khyali stepped into the world of comedy with training from the Jaipur Jawahar Kala Kendra. He got his first break as a comedian in Jagdish Singh Rathore’s play, “Poster”, which was staged all over Rajasthan. After that, there was no looking back for him. He was selected as best comedian by the Rajasthan Government and also represented Rajasthan in the World Hasya Sammelan held at Lonavala in 1999.

Khyali, who has acted in more than 40 plays and about 200 comedy items all over the country, says one of his memorable performances was Ramesh Sippy’s “Sholay”, which he presented in Bhojpuri. It won him three awards at the All-India National Cultural Competition, as well as the Public Choice award, Best Item award and the first prize in comedy items.

It was his association with the Ganganagar Youth Theatrical Society that brought this ambitious young man to Chandigarh. Khyali’s first stint with the silver screen came when he was selected for an episode of “Superstar” with Chunkey Pande, that was telecast on DD Metro. His unique style got him through the semi-finals, as well as the mega final of “ Superstar.”

Khyali has recently bagged a role in Abdul Sattar’s movie “Meetha Meetha Ishq Piya Ka”.” Excited about his break on the big screen , Khyali says his role is that of a servant, who botches up everything in a funny way. “Besides, I have also signed two other projects, ones “Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas” directed and produced by Mohammad Rafi Pathan and the second “Sapera”, directed and produced by Shamji of Rhea banners from Rajasthan” he said.


PUDA kept us in dark about land compensation: villagers
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 9
The land owners of Mauli Baidwan village, who have got stay on dispossession of their land from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, today charged the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA)for keeping the villagers in dark about the land compensation being offered to them. They alleged that the recommendations of the District Land Fixation Committee were not being followed.

Talking to mediapersons here, the villagers, headed by Mr Balwinder Singh Baidwan, one of the petitioner, said the notice for public announcement to give cheques of land compensation was served in absence of the Sarpanch of the village. He, along with 40 other petitioners, claimed that the cheques were given to villagers with a less area of land holding even after the court stayed the dispossession of land.

The villagers said after giving the cheques issued on May 7, the evacuees were not allowed to put date under their signatures on the relevant documents. Mr Baidwan said they would file a contempt case in the court against PUDA for going ahead with its land acquisition proceedings inspite of the stay on dispossession of land. They lamented that PUDA was paying them between Rs 7 to Rs10 lakh an acre whereas it planned to exploit the land for residential and commercial purposes. They said around 363 acres of land in the village was being acquired and a compensation of around Rs 47 crore was to be disbursed among the evacuees.

On the other hand, the authorities continued with the exercise of distributing cheques among the land owners of Mauli Baidwan village. A spokesman of PUDA said cheques worth around Rs 4. 35 crore had already been distributed among the evacuees till this evening. He said as per the legal opinion sought by the authority, there was ad-interim stay order prohibiting the pronouncement of the award. It was, however , made clear that even if the awards were announced, the petitioners were not to be dispossessed of their land. Around 12 civil writ petitions have been filed so far in the high court.


Meeting on rehabilitation inconclusive
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 9
A meeting called by the Punjab Housing and Urban Development Minister, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, to negotiate terms and conditions with the inhabitants of Madanpura village under a rehabilitation package for the village ended without any headway here yesterday.

Officials of PUDA said under the rehabilitation scheme, around 169 families were to be rehabilitated. Around 8.5 acres of prime land was under occupation of the villages. While PUDA offered to construct plots and provide essential services to the evacuees after charging some money, the villagers demanded that they should be rehabilitated at the same place without being made to pay anything.

The representatives of the Pind Bachao Committee, along with the villagers, in another proposal sought that essential services be laid in the village without disturbing them. A similar proposal was being considered for the Lambian village.

Officials of PUDA said the villagers had been offered plots of different sizes as per their land holdings. But the villagers expressed their inability to pay cost of the plots. It may be pertinent to mention here that the government had already approved a rehabilitation package for Kumbhra village, though opposed by a section of the villagers.

In a similar proposal for Lambian village the authorities plan to use 3.66 acres of land for rehabilitation, though the total land to be released by the villagers was nine acres of prime land, located opposite the Sector 62 city centre. The affected persons would be offered plots in a pocket south of Mataur village in Sector 71. Around 144 residential plots, varying from one marla to 16 marla, and 52 commercial sites, would be carved out. Possibility of constructing flats for the economically weaker section (EWS) was also being explored.

An official of PUDA said in Madanpura village ( Sector 54) the authority was exploring the possibility to totally redevelop the area or leave the structures as such and provide the basic amenities. A total of 196 plots would be carved out in 13. 53 acres of land in the village. While 169 plots would be used for rehabilitation of the evacuees, the remaining would be disposed of to other persons.


People’s participation must for forest management’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Industrial Revolution and the increase in population are the biggest factors in disturbing the balance between the man and nature, said Prof P.K.Khosla, a former Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Agricultural University, while addressing the inaugural session of the three-day national workshop on “Community participation in the programme of micro-watershed, joint forest management and management of other natural resources,” in Panjab University here yesterday.

Joint forest management was among the most effective ways of restoring the natural balance. There was a need to make the common people participate, particularly women, in the management of forests as people’s participation would best restore the balance, Professor Khosla added, he added.

Professor Khosla said as per the national policy 33 per cent land has to be covered under forests but at present we had only 22 per cent. Even the total land under forests did not have enough density and its condition was also deplorable’ at places.

Dr Suraj Bhan, Additional Commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture, highlighted the problems of the rainfed areas. Sustainable development could best be initiated through integrated microshed development.

Dr Bhan also underlined the need of training common people and exposing them to new technologies and methods of water and forest management.

Dr Bhan said out of the 329 million hectares of total land, only 144 million hectares was under use for agriculture. Only 37 per cent of the total land under agriculture depended on systematic irrigation and the rest was dependent on rain water. The irrigated land contributed 56 per cent of the total produce, Dr Bhan added.

Mr Rajan Kashyap, Finance Secretary, Punjab, pointed to the growing water scarcity all over the country. He emphasised that much of the crises was man-made and a result of wrong policies of development. He spoke on possibility of “Water related conceits among communities”.

Prof K Gopal Iyer, coordinator of the workshop, introduced the subject of community participation for overall development. The subject was inter-disciplinary and needed subject experts to include the sociologists also. Prof Raj Mohini Sethi, Chairperson of the host Sociology Department, welcomed the guests.


Human rights activist ends fast
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 9
The 30-hour fast by a member of the All-India Human Rights Watch outside the district secretariat ended here today with the local MLA, Mr Chander Mohan, offering juice to him this morning.

Dissatisfied with the announcement of a municipal council, the General Secretary, Mr Hemant Kinger, went on fast yesterday. He said that either the government should roll back its decision on the council or give capital status to the city, allocating Rs 60 crore by way of funds for the next 30 years for maintenance purposes.

Mr Kinger appealed to the Chief Minister to redress the grievances of the residents or they would be forced to take to the streets to oppose the council.

He said the municipal council was justified only where the government agencies had completed all development works, but their was no basis for its formation in Panchkula.


Rickshaw-pullers’ meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
A joint meeting of various unions and associations of rickshaw-pullers was held here today. The members condemned the decision of the UT administration regarding one person being given licence for two rickshaws only.

The meeting was held at Sector 17 and was attended by members of the New Kranti Rickshaw Workers Union, the Indian Rickshaw Workers Union and the Gandhi Rickshaw Workers Union. They also decried the decision of not renewing licences for more than two rickshaws, even if the licences were given last year.

It was also announced that the further course of action would be chalked out during the next meeting of the members on May 12 at Sector 22.


Bhatnagar’s new counsel withdraws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The new defence counsel engaged by Maj Maneesh Bhatnagar, who is being tried by a general court martial for alleged dereliction of duty, has withdrawn from the trial.

The defence counsel, Mr A.K. Rampal, had sought two weeks time for studying the case, but the court gave him only four days. He maintained that he could not prepare his case in just four days.

Major Bhatnagar’s earlier defence counsel, Capt Rajneesh Bansal, had also withdrawn from the trial after the court issued him a warning for his conduct in court and threatened to move the Bar Council against him. Captain Bansal had termed the warning as unwarranted.

Before Major Bhatnagar could apprise the court on whether he would like to proceed with the trial without a counsel to represent him, the prosecuting officer submitted that the prosecution counsel would be unavailable till May 14. The court thereafter adjourned till May 14.


Three former CTYC chiefs back Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Three former Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress(CTYC) Presidents today supported the policies of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch floated by Mr Harmohan Dhawan.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Vijay Pal Singh Dimpy, Mr Surjit Chaudhury and Baliwinder Cheema said they would honour Mr Dhawan for taking up the issues of public importance. They would also approach the party high command against the ineffective leadership of the CTCC chief, Mr B.B. Bahl.

Meanwhile, the infighting in the local unit of the Congress deepened further today with Mr Devinder Singh Babla, a close confidant of Mr Dhawan, seeking the removal of Mr Bahl alleging that Mr Bahl was not able to attach himself with the masses.

Mr Babla, who was accompanied by Congress leaders, Mr Sandeep Singh, Mr Kuldeep Singh Kajheri and Dr O.P. Verma, addressed a press conference alleging that Mr Bahl was just a financier for the Congress and was never a leader of the masses. He had now been reduced to being no more than a rubber stamp to the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, Mr Babla added.

Today’s reaction from the Dhawan group was in retaliation to a press conference organised by a group of Congressmen yesterday, who are close to Mr Bansal, seeking expulsion of Mr Dhawan from the party yesterday. Mr Babla said the demand of the Congressmen to seek expulsion of Mr Dhawan was unfortunate as well as shocking.


Jhuggis gutted in Palsora village
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Two jhuggis were gutted in a fire which broke out in Palsora village Colony No. 2 at 4 p.m. today. Household belongings of jhuggi-dwellers Ram ban ( jhuggi no. 4911) and Rupan Sharma ( jhuggi no: 1055) were destroyed.

According to sources in the Fire department, the cause of the fire is possibly short-circuiting. The loss has been estimated to be Rs 1,000 in each case. A fire tender, which was rushed to the site was able to control the same and prevent it from spreading to the nearby jhuggis, it is learnt.

A gas leakage was reported from the top floor of house number 3144, Sector 20-D at 6.59 a.m. in the morning. No major loss was reported, but the regulator was damaged.

Another short-circuit fire was reported from the electric meters of SCO 73-74 ( Hot Millions) in Sector 17. Though the meter was damaged but the staff was able to control the fire with the help of cylinders and extinguishers before the Sector 17 fire tender reached there.

In another fire incident near the Sector 15 water works, old tyres lying in a store were burnt. The cause of the fire is not known and the loss is yet to be ascertained.


Checking thefts top priority’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 9
Declaring that the immediate concern of the police would be to bring rising thefts in the city under control, the Superintendent of Police, Mr Manoj Yadav, said that traffic violations were also an area of concern.

Addressing his first press conference after taking over as SP, Mr Yadav said that he had called for comparative statistics of thefts in the city after which the plan of action would be finalised. While stressing the need for increased night patrolling, he said that promptness in the force needed to brushed up.

Commenting on violation of traffic rules in the city, Mr Yadav added that accidents accounted for most of the crime. “This is primarily due to overspeeding, and with the notification of speed limits, we need to implement these strictly,” he added.

The other trouble stretch, the national highway between Panchkula and Zirakpur also accounted for a number of accidents, he said. “I will speak to the DGP and get a team of the National Highway Patrol and Road Safety wing. The encouragement comes from the significant drop in accident cases where the team is active,” Mr Yadav stated.

Public education in economic offences is also being viewed as an “interest” area where he has asked for a list of non-banking financial companies registered with SEBI and RBI. “These names would be made known so that the public is not misled by the others,’’ he explained

A separate economic offences wing under the ASP would be set up to hasten the follow-up of reported cases which are under investigation. He said that detailed investigations in such cases were found lacking with the police involved in a number of other areas.

He added that his new assignment was a challenge with the district being the de facto capital of the state and housing many important government offices.


World War II veteran dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
A veteran of World War II and the 1948 Kashmir operations, Brig Sukhdev Singh, died at Patiala today at the age of 90. He had the distinction of being decorated with the Military Cross and the Vir Chakra.

Commissioned in 1935 in the erstwhile First Rajindra Sikh Infantry, Patiala Forces, he saw active service in the North-West Frontier Forces till 1941. Thereafter, he moved with his battalion to Burma during World War II and was later decorated with the Military Cross for gallantry in Malaysia.

In 1948, as Commanding Officer of 1 Patiala (now 15 Punjab), he was awarded the Vir Chakra for displaying exemplary leadership and gallantry during the capture of the Zojila.


Scribe bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Mr Ravi Sharma of Kumar Stationers, Sector 7, Panchkula, cousin of Mr Sunil Bhardwaj, Chief Sub Editor, The Tribune, died of a massive heart attack on May 3. He was 45.

He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

Rasam pagri will be held at Nav Durga Temple, Sector 7, Panchkula, from 2 pm to 3 pm on May 13.

Meet-the-Press programme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Film star Deepa Sahi and film director Ketan Mehta will meet the Press at the Chandigarh Press Club here tomorrow at 1 p.m.


Have plenty of plants at your home

FENG Shui gives a lot of importance to plants represent growth and they also absorb negativity. Plants are growing things, so they subtly move the energy around your rooms. According to Feng Shui, healthy plants in a house represent a healthy home.

These days fake plants have become very popular in every household, but one should be careful when using them. Real plants are better than fake ones but if one insists on fake plants then go for silk-made plants. Never have plants that have thorns, for example, cactus. Good Feng Shui also advocates not to have plants whose leaves look like needles inside offices or homes. Never neglect your plants. Keep them healthy by giving them the right amount of water and sunlight. Choose plants with a lot of thought and care. Plants help fight the negative energy emitted by computers and they soak up noise pollution. Plants should be regularly cut and trimmed so that they stay in control. Always replace unhealthy or dry plants with fresh ones. Fruit plants can also be grown in gardens and kept in your home. They are considered auspicious. My own experience says that plants play an important role in everyone’s life. Have a lot of plants in your home.


Address your Feng Shui queries to:
Postal address: C/o F.S. TIPS
The Tribune, Sector-29, Chandigarh-160020.



Cash, jewellery stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Gold, silver jewellery and cash worth thousands of rupees was stolen from a house in Mauli Jagran yesterday. The thieves apparently entered the house from the backdoor when the family was away.

The complainant, Mr Bhola Sharma, said a gold ‘tikka’, a pair of earrings, anklets and Rs 5,000 had been stolen in this theft. A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Earrings snatched
An unidentified person snatched a pair of gold earrings from Ms Anita Devi near Kabari Market in Sector 45 here yesterday. The police has registered a case under Sections 356 and 379 of the IPC.

Thefts from cars
A car-stereo with a CD player, gold earrings and Rs 1,800 were stolen from a car parked outside the Sector 11 residence of a woman named Ms Shalini on the night of May 7.

A car-stereo was also stolen from a car parked outside the Sector 37-A residence of a person named Mr Shrishti Raj. In both cases, the police has registered the FIR under Section 379 of the IPC.

Two injured in mishaps
Two persons were injured in separate accidents in the past 24 hours. A scooterist, Baljinder Singh, was injured when he was hit by a Maruti car (CH-01-U-8420) near the crossing of Sectors 19 and 20.

A pedestrian, Ganga Devi, was hit by a scooter (PB-12-E-0411) near Notary Serai at Khuda Lahora yesterday. In both cases, the police has registered the FIR under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.

Ornaments stolen
Artificial ornaments on the idols in the Sector 18-C RK Temple were stolen yesterday night. The police has registered an FIR under Section 379 of the IPC.

According to the police, after a ‘kirtan’ in the temple past night, the doors of the temple were left open. The thieves entered the temple from here.


Cash stolen from dickey
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
After a person had just withdrawn Rs 80,000 from a bank, the money was stolen from the dickey of a motor cycle at the parking lot of the Sector 20 market here today.

Such incidents have increased in the past two months here. The local police does not rule out the possibility of the involvement of an organised gang in these cases.

Mr Sudarshan Kumar, a local building contractor, had withdrawn the money from the Sector 9 branch of Punjab National Bank in the afternoon. On his way back to his house in Bhagwanpura village near Panchkula, he decided to stop by in Sector 20.

According to the police, after leaving his vehicle in the parking lot, Mr Sudarshan Kumar went to the office of an automobile financier there. When he returned after about 10 minutes, he found the lock of his motor-cycle-dickey broken and the money missing.

The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.


One held in kidnapping case
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, May 9
The Panchkula police has arrested the accused in the kidnapping case boy and has rescued the victim from his custody. The accused reportedly was a colleague of the victim’s father. According to the police the accused Ranjit Ram was arrested from Burkeye village in Garwa district in Jharkhand by a police party headed by Sub-Inspector Avtar Singh. The victim Raman was also traced from the village.

Hailing from Ram Nagar in Aligarh, Raman used to live with his father Ravi Kumar in Madrasi Colony near sector 21. A painter by profession, Ravi Kumar had reported to the police about the disappearance of his son on April 19. According to the police, the accused had been working with Ravi Kumar and some money matter was the motive behind the kidnapping. The boy was friendly with the accused so he managed to lure him away to his native place in Jharkhand. The accused was today produced before a Panchkula court and was remanded to police custody for two days.

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