Tuesday, May 15, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Villagers block traffic for five hours
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 14
Traffic on the busy Panchkula-Ramgarh-Naraingarh highway was disrupted for five hours this morning as agitated villagers went on rampage for the second time in a fortnight against the installation of electronic meters.

Alleging that the Electricity Department had failed to get the recently installed “faulty” meters checked despite an assurance during the last traffic blockage by them, the villagers seemed unrelenting today and refused to disperse till the department officials began replacement of the meters.

They alleged that electromagnetic meters in Ramgarh and its surrounding villages had been replaced by “fast-running” electronic meters which had been recording more than the actual units consumed. Moreover, no official had come to check these meters, despite an agreement to this effect about a fortnight ago when a similar situation had arisen.

Women of Moginand village near Ramgarh, blocked the road with dry thorny bushes and threatened to pelt stones at vehicles attempting to cross over. Later, traffic was diverted through Sector 25 only to be met with another blockade in Ramgarh where hundreds of villagers had converged to take the district authorities head-on.

Raising slogans against the Chautala government and the Electricity Department, the villagers decried the exorbitant bills on account of the new meters. “Who will pay these for us? We don’t have enough to make both ends meets and the government is loading us with additional burden to fill their coffers,” a villager lamented.

While officials of the district administration attempted to pacify the agitated crowd, which seemed growing with every passing hour, the protesters found a supporter in the local MLA, Mr Chander Mohan, who assured the crowd that he would take up cudgels on their behalf.

However, this seemed only the beginning with nothing short of replacement of electronic with electromagnetic meters acceptable to the villagers. They turned down his request for a couple of days time to work out the matter with the Electricity Department and demanded immediate action.

Meanwhile, queues of buses and trucks lining up on both sides of the place of traffic blockade continued to lengthen, the commuters were put to inexplicable inconvenience as the temperature rose.

While the District Development and Panchayat Officer, Mr Rajesh Jogpal, held parleys with villagers to convince them to settle their grievances amicably, the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr Vikas Arora, organised the police force and called for additional men and tear gas shells to disperse the adamant crowd.

On his part, the Xen of the Electricity Department, Mr M.R. Murari, tried to reason with the crowd, claiming the replacement of 20,000 electronic meters in Panchkula had passed off without a hitch.

“The new meters are pilferage proof, but do not run faster than the previous ones. Moreover, the villagers refused to entertain our men when they visited the villages to check the meters. We are still willing to carry out these checks to the satisfaction of the villagers,” he added.

Finally, after much discussion and deliberation, villagers agreed to the constitution of a 10-member committee to look into the matter.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Goyal, announced that the committee, comprising five officials of the administration and five villagers, constituted on the spot, would decide the future course of action. It was only then that traffic was resumed and the villagers agreed to disperse.

Power department’s assurance

The members of the committee, in agreement with the Electricity Department, said that while eight meters would be sent to the National Physical Laboratory in Delhi for tests, electromagnetic meters would be installed next to the new electronic meters to ascertain the variation in recording of units consumed in those eight houses.

The reading of the two meters would be compared after 10 days time. The next meeting with the villager is scheduled for May 24. By this time, the report from the laboratory would also be available to establish the authenticity of the complaint by villagers, an official of the department said.

24-hour power cut on industrial units
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 14
Due to acute shortage of power, the Punjab State Electricity Board has imposed restrictions on all type of industry in the town. The Executive Engineer, Operation Division, said a scheduled cut would be imposed on the industry from 8 a.m on Friday to 8 a.m on Saturday. The power cut would be imposed on all type of industry.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Department has issued notices to 105 consumers in the town for violating the restrictions on watering of gardens and washing of vehicles during the morning water supply hours.


MC asks Admn to share burden
Maintenance of streetlights
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Municipal Corporation Chandigarh (MCC) has asked the Chandigarh Administration to share its burden in the maintenance of streetlights in the city. In a detailed proposal sent to Administration, the civic body has also expressed its inability to do justice to this task entrusted to them in view of the shortage of manpower and machinery, besides paucity of funds.

According to sources, senior officials of the Administration and Corporation will take up the issue at a meeting chaired by the Finance Secretary, who is also Secretary, Local Bodies, on May 16.

At present, nearly 16,000 over-head-wired streetlight points are being maintained by the UT Administration, while the maintenance of 16,611 streetlights based on underground cable system are the responsibility of MC. But the MC is paying approximately Rs 3.5 crore per year for the maintenance of streetlights, including the energy charges to the Administration, even for the streetlights being maintained by them. It is, however, suggested that the same should be borne by the Administration.

MC has also proposed that the maintenance of streetlights which are on the roads with the Engineering Wing of the Administration be entrusted to them for better co-ordination and control. It has been pointed out that while the maintenance of V-1 and V-2 roads like Jan Marg, Madhya Marg, Purv Marg, Dakshin Marg is the responsibility of the Engineering Wing of the Administration, the maintenance of streetlights is with MC. Sources disclose that for rectifying faults in the streetlights on these roads, permission for digging/cutting of roads has to be taken from the Engineering Wing of the Administration, which delays the rectification of faults.

It is further proposed that the Electricity department of the Administration instead of charging commercial rates for electricity consumption of streetlights should charge the lowest slab of the domestic rates , which is about one third of the commercial rates as streetlights are a part of the basic amenities to be provided to the residents.

It has also been suggested that meters should be provided for the streetlight circuits so that bills are paid on actual consumption basis. Further, since late night traffic is almost negligible, only 33 per cent of the streetlight points can remain switched on from 12 am onwards and the rest can be switched off. This will result in energy saving also.

According to information available, MC is being overcharged as bills on average are being charged for the full connected load. While only 65-70 per cent streetlights are functional, bills are raised for 100 per cent lights. Further 90 per cent of the meters provided at these lights are either burnt and are not functional, but meter rent is being charged from the MC, which is not justified.

The figures for the past three years reveal that the MC has incurred an expenditure of Rs 29.81 lakh on the maintenance of streetlights and Rs 564.55 lakh towards the payment of electricity bills in 1998-99; Rs 41.80 lakh and Rs 664.52 lakh in 1999-2000 and Rs 29.6 lakh and 657.53 lakh in 2000-2001.

Highlighting the shortage of staff, they have pointed out that MC has on its rolls one X EN (charge given to SDE); one SDE (charge with JE) instead of the required strength of five; five JE’s instead of 19; six linemen instead of the required 36 and 18 assistant linemen/RTM instead of the required 66. The electrical division of MC besides looking after the maintenance of streetlights is also looking after the maintenance of community centres, office buildings, toilet blocks, garden lights, operation and maintenance of crematorium and electrification of new streetlights works.

The efficient functioning of streetlights is also being affected in the absence of the machines required for maintenance. The MC has only one boom ladder for the replacement of lamps/tubes under its jurisdiction as against the requirement of 3 boom ladders.

Keeping in view these constraints and the confusion that prevails ever since MC came into being in 1996, there was a move to transfer the work of maintenance of streetlights to the Administration some time back also. The same was placed before the Finance and Contract Committee meeting of MC in January 1999, which recommended it along with the transfer of manpower and machinery. The matter was subsequently sent to the House in March, which referred it to the electricity committee. The committee, however, suggested that maintenance work should remain with the Corporation.

The F and CC thereafter started proposing the privatisation of streetlights. The proposal is ready and was put up in the meeting held on March 30 this year but the committee has asked for comparative figures if the maintenance is privatised and if it is done by the Corporation itself. The issue is still lying pending.


MC to blame for monetary losses
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 14
If the SAS Nagar Municipal Council has projected a loss of over Rs 4 crore during the current financial year, the genesis of the financial crisis lies within the civic body itself.

Each year, the civic body was losing lakhs of rupees on account of allowing unlicensed manufacturing of and sale of food articles and drinks. The health hazard posed by the unlicensed manufacturing of the food articles was a cause of concern for the residents.

The officials concerned in the civic body preferred to push the rules and regulations under carpet. The Punjab Municipal Act, governing the regulation of manufacturing, preparation and sale of food items, clearly specified the bylaws.

Investigations revealed that the number of shops or eating joints selling food items and drinks had swelled over the years, but not a single licence had been issued by the sanitation wing of the civic body during the past two years under Section 197 of the Punjab Municipal Act. The licence, if issued, had to be renewed annually.

During the financial year 2000-2001, not a single penny was earned against a projected income of Rs 50,000. During the last one-and-a-half months of the current financial year, the civic body was yet to earn anything from the issuing of the licences. Sources in the civic body said the amount of the licence fee varied from item to item. For example, the revised fee of Rs 120 was levied on the shops selling meat, fish and poultry products.

Sources in the civic body said the Act empowered the civic body to prohibit manufacture and sale of the prescribed food articles in an unlicensed premises. The officials were also supposed to regulate the route, hours and manner of transportation of the specified articles of food and drink.

As per the amendments made in the Punjab Municipal Act, a person selling unlicensed meat, fish or poultry products could face a fine of Rs 2500. If the violation continued, the civic body could impose a fine of Rs 250 per day. But the officials appeared to be sleeping over the issue.

Against a projected income of Rs 19.10 crore in the budget for 2000-2001, the civic body had earned around Rs 15.90 crore. The fallout of the loss in income could be gauged from the budget for 2001-2002, passed at a recent meeting of the civic body, which had proposed a total income of Rs 20.05 crore against an expenditure of Rs 21.21 crore.


Chandigarh, Panchkula quake-prone
Evidence of 7.5 tremor on Richter Scale found
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale hit Chandigarh in the “recent past”. The quake occurred when the earth moved 3.50 metres.

The term, “recent past”, in geological language denotes 300 years to 1000 years.

This conclusion has been drawn by Dr Javed Malik, an Indian geologist working at Hiroshima University in Japan, on the basis of a study conducted at a site identified through satellite images This perhaps is the first physical evidence that Chandigarh and Panchkula are in an active seismic zone, prone to earthquakes.

Dr Javed Malik studying movement of earth in a trench near Mansa Devi Temple on Monday. — Tribune photo Karam Singh

The site, jointly identified by Dr Malik and Prof T. Nakata of Hiroshima University, is on the premesis of the research farm of the Central Soil and Water Conservation Research Institute(CSWCRI), adjacent to Mata Mansa Devi temple. Dr Malik has determined the movement of the earth, which, according to him, was in one go, after digging a deep trench. Though the exact period of the movement, he says, can be known only after the carbon-dating of the samples collected by him from the site. While some samples will be handed over to the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, the others he will taken to Japan.

Dr Malik says the earthquake must have occurred at least 300 years ago. He says a similar earth fault exists at the third step of the Pinjore Gardens. Since the garden was built about 300 years ago, it can be safely presumed that no such earth movement took place during this period.

He plans to continue his studies at the present site as well as in the Pinjore Gardens in October next when he will visit India along with Prof Nakata. He feels while the Mansa Devi fault may be the part of the about 2000-km-long Himalayan frontal fault, which makes the Himalayas as one of the most active seismic zones of the world, the Pinjore fault is a different fault. It runs parallel to the Pinjore-Nalagarh road.

A U.S. team has located a fault similar to the Mansa Devi fault near Kala Amb in Himachal Pradesh.

A study of these sites will help in compilation of a data-base, necessary to understand the nature of earthquakes likely to hit the region. Dr Malik says the geologists can give a reasonably-accurate time-frame for the next major earthquake only after they are able to determine “recurrence intervals” of the past earthquakes, which might have hit the region due to the releasing of pressure along with the fault. But one thing, he says, is certain that pressure is building up within the earth in the region.

The Mansa Devi site can be of interest to the archaeologists also because Dr Malik and his associate, Mr Vijay Shivgotara of Panjab University, have found pieces of ancient pottery from here. The pottery pieces too have been sent to the Archaeological Survey of India, Dehradun for further studies.

Dr Malik’s story is the repetition of almost all Indian scientists, who became victims of red tapism in their own country, before making it big abroad. Dr Malik was selected as a Lecturer by the Gujarat Public Service Commission after he completed his Ph.D from M.S. University, Baroda, in 1998. He sought extention in joining time because he wanted to complete his studies on seismic activities in the Kutch and Himalayan regions before taking up the teaching assignment.

His request was declined. He left for Japan for his post-doctoral fellowship next year. Dr Malik hopes to get an assignment with a research institute after his return from Japan. He jokingly says that he is “unfit” for a university job because he has not cleared “NIT” made mandatory by the University Grants Commission.

He appreciates Dr Rajiv Patnaik of the Geology Department of Panjab University and Dr R.K. Aggarwal, head of the Chandigarh Centre of the CSWCRI, for the help rendered to him.

But Dr Aggarwal is a worried man. He is not sure if he will be able to preserve the site for further studies till October next. In its wisdom, the Haryana Urban Development Authority has decided to acquire part of the research farm, notwithstanding the fact that the land was acquired years ago by the then Punjab Government for the Central Government.


BBMB releases more power
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Power and water supplies will be augmented in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Chandigarh. The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) decided to release additional water from its reservoirs, thus generating more power from tonight.

Due to the rise in temperatures in the past 10 days, the ice caps have started melting faster in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, thus improving inflows into the Bhakra and Pong reservoirs. The BBMB will release 17,000 cusec and 4,000 cusec, from the two reservoirs respectively. This will result in the generation of an additional 62 lakh units, taking the total to 316 lakh units, said the Member, Irrigation, BBMB, Mr S.K. Duggal.

Another 2,000 cusec of water is to be received from the Ravi as the inflows and subsequently the release from the Ranjit Sagar Dam have also gone up.

Today, the level of the Bhakra reservoir was 1496 feet, which is about 5 feet more than that last year the same time. In the case of Pong, the level is 16 feet less than last year’s level. The inflows have increased in the past seven days, Mr Duggal said while giving figures that inflows had jumped from just 13,000 cusec to 24,000 cusec in Bhakra.

The Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Agency has told the BBMB that the temporary snow which occurs each year has already melted and now the glacial snow will be melting. More water will be released to the states due to the increased availability of water and keeping in mind the demands made by the partner states.

About a month ago, the level at the Bhakra was about 13 feet less than last year. Last year, lack of rain, followed by a bad winter snowfall, had sent out alarm signals. The BBMB had classified the year as a “dry year”.

                                              Additional power

Punjab                            28 lakh units per day

Haryana                          11 LU per day

Rajasthan                         5 LU per day

Chandigarh                       0.40 LU per day



Bhatnagar maintained troops ‘unfit for attack’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Commanding Officer (CO) of 5 Para, Col A.K. Srivastava, today stated before the general court martial trying Maj Maneesh Bhatnagar that it was “desirable” that troops of the ad hoc company, which was sent to Kargil under the command of the accused, be given time for rest and recuperation as they had been de-inducted from the Siachen Glacier.

Colonel Srivastava was being cross-examined by the defence. He stated that he had asked the Commander of 70 Infantry Brigade, Brig Devinder Singh, about the grounds on which the accused had refused to undertake an attack. He added he was informed by the Brigade Commander that Major Bhatnagar had maintained that his troops, including himself, were unfit for attack and could undertake defensive tasks only. The CO said that these were the only grounds for refusal brought to his notice.

The CO said it was on the basis of common military knowledge that had he presumed the accused must have asked for one or two days to prepare for the attack. He added Brig Devinder Singh informed him that the accused had not asked for time but had expressed unwillingness to undertake an attack. The witness agreed that at least one or two days’ time was required to prepare for the attack.

Colonel Srivastava deposed that he had turned down the request of the accused to issue recently procured INSAS rifles to his men. He said that Major Bhatnagar had requested for the rifles on June 15. He could not fulfil the request as the rifles were greased and it would have taken time to clean them, thereby delaying the movement of the troops. He added that the weapons were neither zeroed-in nor was ammunition for them available.

The witness said that it was incorrect to suggest that INSAS rifles were received by the unit in May and were already de-greased and cleaned, requiring just 10 minutes to prepare these for operational use.

Meanwhile, in the other ongoing trial of Maj V.K. Madhan of 2 Rajputana Rifles, the cross-examination of Maj S.S. Bajaj, who had been the officiating second-in-command of the unit, continued.

Major Bajaj stated before the court that at no time did the accused volunteer before him to go for attack, instead maintaining that his injury would take 10 - 15 days to heal. He said it was incorrect to suggest that during his meetings with the accused he had asked him to volunteer for attack and had told the accused that if he did not volunteer, he would be forced to go. Major Bajaj further said that he himself did not volunteer to go for attack as he was then the seniormost Major in the unit and it was the prerogative of the CO to detail officers.

On the defence’s suggestion to Major Bajaj that had it not been for the accused’s injury, he would have continued to perform the duties of the unit adjutant during the attack on Three Pimples, he replied that he could not comment on this as it was the prerogative of the CO.

Major Bajaj said that it was incorrect to suggest that he had not been given any task during the battalion’s attack on Tololing and Three Pimples, adding that he had been appointed a company commander and had led attacks, which could be verified from the brigade’s reports.

Stating that it was he who had recommended to the CO that Major Madhan be appointed the unit adjutant, the witness added that he was not aware who had directed the Regimental Medical Officer to refer the accused to the Field Surgical Centre.


Disposal of hospital waste to be streamlined
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , May 14
All hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, dispensaries, veterinary institutions, animal houses, pathological laboratories and blood banks in the city will now have to take necessary precautions to ensure that biomedical waste generated by these is disposed off properly.

Mr P.J.S Dadwal, member secretary, Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCB), said, “All these institutions will have to obtain authorisation by June 15 and take necessary steps as per rules and regulations to ensure that there are no adverse effects on human health and environment”. Failure to obtain authorisation would attract legal action under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, he said.

For this, the biomedical waste will have to be treated and disposed off in accordance with Schedule-I attached to the Biomedical Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, which had come into force in the Union Territory following a Government of India notification in July 1998. Before this, there was no concrete policy on disposal of biomedical waste and it was usually dumped at regular sites inviting insects and animals, besides spreading communicable diseases like AIDS and jaundice.

Sources, however, added that despite this notification, most of the private nursing homes and clinics continued to throw biomedical waste at regular garbage dumping sites thus flouting the required rules and regulations. In fact, the latest public notification is said to have come following directions by the UT Health Department as the incinerator installed at the General Hospital, Sector 16, despite instructions from the UT Administration, was not being used by the private institutions. About six months back, the UT Administration had issued a notification under the Usage of Incinerator in General Hospital Scheme-2000, under which, some rates were fixed for the use of incinerator. Considering the fact that the cost of running the incinerator is about Rs 1,000 per hour, the Indian Medical Association, had said that this was on the higher side and negotiations were on with the PGI in this regard.

As per the latest notification, all institutions falling under the category will be required to set up the requisite biomedical waste treatment facilities like incinerator, autoclave and microwave system for treatment of waste or ensure requisite treatment of the waste at a common waste treatment facility.

The body tissues, blood or blood soaked linen or those infected with the body fluids have to be disposed off in an incinerator at a particular temperature. Medical waste like rubber gloves, catheters, IV sets are to be cut into pieces and soaked in one per cent sodium hypochloride solution to avoid recycling.

At present, the PGI, the GMCH, Sector 32 and the General Hospital, Sector 16, are the three hospitals which have the facility of an incinerator.


... And now Punjabi music awards
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
June 22 will be a special day for the Punjabi music industry as the upcoming Punjabi channel,” Lashkara”, will present the “Lashkara Punjabi Music Awards” at the Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi.

The awards, the first of its kind in the Punjabi music, will honour the best in 14 categories after selection by an eminent jury comprising the ghazal maestro, Jagjit Singh, lyricists, Naqsh Lyallpuri and Dev Kohli, ghazal and bhajan singer, Anup Jalota, and music director, Anand Raj Anand.

The judges, according to a spokesman of the channel, will base their judgements on the resumes of the artistes sent by the music companies and public opinion. With that end in mind, the channel had tied up with a Hindi magazine, “Meri Saheli,” and the viewers can send their entry forms published in the magazine and also e-mail their choices to the channel.

The spokesman informed that the categories for which the awards would be presented were the best male and female singers, best male and female debuts, best folk singer, best Sufi singer and best music director. And the contributions of the best video director, best lyricist and the best choreographer would also be acknowledged.

Similarly, the best video, the Lashkara viewers’ choice award and best “Ragi” would also get award. Beside this, the Lashkara Lifetime Achievement Award would be given to the music personality who had made unparalleled contribution to the Punjabi music.


IT Dept being restructured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Income Tax Department is being restructured through the induction of latest technology to provide better services to income tax assesses.

Giving this information at a press conference here today, Mr J.S. Ahluwalia, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (CCIT), North-Western Region, informed that under the new system, stress would be laid on accountability of officials and transparency in their working. The lower-level staff was being phased out and there would be a cut of about 5 per cent in the staff strength, he stated. Stressing the need for training officials, he said a Regional Training Institute would be set up here, where officials would be trained and retrained to increase their functional efficiency and develop professional attitude in them.

Under the new system, the department would have three more CCITs, at Amritsar, Ludhiana and Shimla, and Director-General (Investigation) in Chandigarh. There would be an increase in the commissioners at major cities of region for better supervion and improved services to tax payers. It would be ensured that each commissioner had 1 lakh tax payers under his jurisdiction.

Mr Ahluwalia hoped that with the operations of the department going online, the role of black money would be substantially reduced since the officer-oriented department would have less interaction tax payers. All PCs of the North-Western Region were being put on local area network (LAN) and they would then be connected to the Regional Computer Centre (RCC), Chandigarh, which in turn, would be connected to the National Computer Centre, Delhi, through the wide area network (WAN). The RCC would be a hub with spokes being 64 kbps lease-lines/dial-up line connecting the offices of the commissioners in the region. This would be the proposed TAXNET — the countrywide network of the Income Tax Department approved by the MTNL, he added.

Mr C.K. Vohra, Director (Investigation), said several steps such as withdrawal of discretionary powers of the officers had been taken to end corruption. Ms Poonam Sidhu, Joint Commissioner of Income Tax (OSD), gave a presentation of the restructuring of the department.


Pollutants threaten Harike
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Harike wetland is back in focus. It is facing an ecological crisis. The pollution level has increased tremendously threatening the 62 species of freshwater fish, seven species of turtles and fauna.

The reservoir was created to strike a balance between land, water, flora, fauna and air. But due to a variety of factors, the quality of water is getting polluted.

A team of the Department of Zoology Panjab University, headed by Prof M.S. Johal, visited the wetland last week and conducted a sample survey. According to the study the pollutants are high in the wetland. This is causing wounds on the skins of fish, resulting in blood oozing out of the body. Not only this, most of the fish have developed defects on fins and eye cataract.

Heavy metals like lead, zinc and mercury have been found in the tissues of fish, with liver and muscles indicating the maximum deposits. The men engaged in fishing have developed wounds on their feet and skins.

The feedback gathered from departments reveal that the threat to the wetland is posed by the Sutlej and the Beas which carry effluents.

The Sutlej carries toxicants. Its toxic level is high at Nangal (due to effluents from the NFL, PACL and PNF), Kiratpur Sahib (due to human ashes), Ropar (due to effluents from paper mills), Ludhiana (due to the confluence of the Buddha Nullah) and Gidderpindi (due to the confluence of the East Bein).

The Beas is comparatively less polluted as only two industrial complexes, one at Mukerian and other at Goindwal Sahib, are located. The water gets polluted at these two places, but later on gets purified as the water covers some distance.

Studies conducted by the Fisheries Department reveal the Sutlej gets extremely polluted due to the mergence of the Buddha Nullah 20 km away from Ludhiana. This has lead in the disappearance of all species of fish up to 40 km downstream.

Besides this, nutrients and pesticides from agricultural fields flow into the rivers during the rains, causing problems for fish.

According to the report on ‘Status of water quality of rivers of Punjab’, published by the Punjab Pollution Control Board, all rivers in the state are polluted and fall in Category ‘C’ or lower.

It is learnt that the Rajasthan Chief Minister, has written to his Punjab counterpart that the water supplied through the Harike headworks is not fit for drinking as it carries many toxic elements. Even the water samples collected by the Punjab Pollution Control Board, on the direction of the CM, Punjab, showed presence of toxic elements.

Experts say towns situated in the 50 km radius of the wetland are more responsible for the pollution as the runway level is less. Some of these towns are Kapurthala, Sultanpur Lodhi, Nakodar and Goindwal.

Ornithologists and environmentalists are worried. The reason is obvious. Every year during the winter the birds use the place as a roosting and feeding ground. Thousands of migratory birds from far away Siberia, Iraq, Iran and Central Europe visit the sanctuary. They fear the presence of toxic elements in fish can effect the immune system of the winged visitors.

Ten species of fish of commercial value are being harvested. Doctors say the fish is not fit for human consumption as toxic elements have carcinogenic effects.

The Director, Fisheries, Dr M.L. Kaushal, admitted that the problem of pollution was there. He said “If corrective measures are not taken, the flora and fauna will simply disappear in the years to come”.

It is learnt that the Assistant Director, Fisheries, Amritsar, Mr Mohinder Singh, has written a letter to the Fisheries Department that due to less rain in the catchment areas, the water level has reduced resulting in an increase in toxic elements threatening the fish.

Hemmed in by problems, the wetland is desperately looking for a long-term action plan to arrest its inexorable march towards certain death.


Soldier’s widow given Rs 10,000
Tribune News Service

Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), Governor of Punjab, today called on Ms Joginder Kaur, the 75-year-old widow of Nand Singh, a Victoria Cross and Maha Vir Chakra awardee, at her residence in Phase X here today. The Governor enquired about her health and gave her a cheque for Rs 10,000 from the Governor’s Discretionary Fund for medical treatment.

The widow of the decorated soldier lamented that the Minister of State of Public Works Department was delaying the appointment of her adopted son Jaspreet, whose case had been cleared by a high-powered committee in March last. She said the minister was putting one or the other queries on the file.

On being asked, the Governor said he had directed the Deputy Commissioner, of Ropar, to pursue the matter with the department concerned. He said he had visited the widow of the decorated soldier on reading about her health. Medical help offered by the secretary of the Punjab Red Cross was declined by her as she was undergoing ayurvedic treatment.

The General said he had also written to the British High Commission for financial assistance to the widow. On the perusal of the Governor, an annual pension of 1000 pounds sanctioned last year by the British Government had been given to the family through the Indian Ex-Servicemen League. The Governor promised all possible help to the widow in the future.


Awareness camp inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 14
An eight-day camp to bring awareness among rural women and slum-dwellers of the city regarding health, education, legal rights and environment-related issues, being organised by the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, a voluntary organisation, in collaboration with the Social Welfare Advisory Board, Chandigarh, was inaugurated at the Gandhi Smarak Bhawan in sector 16 here today.

Highlighting the objective of the camp, Ms. Kamla Sharma, president of the Social Welfare Advisory Board, said in the next seven days the participants would be briefed about relevant issues like education, health, legal rights and environment by various experts.”

The participants are then expected to act as a core group, generating awareness among the rural and backward women,” she said.

Swami Pitambrananda, who was the chief guest at today’s inaugural session, urged women to develop self-confidence and explore their potential.

Citing examples from the Vedas and teachings of Swami Vivekananda, Swami Pitambrananda said if women proved themselves capable, they would not have to fight for their rights as equality had always been an accepted norm in Indian philosophy.

This eight-day camp would also include an exhibition-cum-sale of handicraft items prepared by the rural women at Jat Bhawan in Sector 27 on May 16.

During this camp importance of vocational courses and the opportunities given by the government to the self-help groups would also be highlighted.


Panel discussion on domestic violence held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
As part of the on going nurses’ week celebrations in GMCH, Sector 32, the local branch of the Trained Nurses Association of India (TNAI), today organised a panel discussion on “domestic violence”.

The panelists included Ms Veena Sharma, lawyer and a social activist, Ms Nanki Hans, local journalist, Dr Harpreet Kaur, Department of Psychiatry, GMCH, Sector 32 and Mrs Sushmita Gupta, social worker, Dr Inderjit Walia, Principal, College of Nursing, PGI, was the moderator of the panel discussion.

In a vibrant discussion on the highly sensitive topic, panelists presented their views on various aspects of domestic violence. Later, Dr N. Nagarkar and Dr Thami, deputy medical superintendents, GMCH, presented mementoes to the four panelists. Panelists and delegates also visited the exhibition of posters put up by the GMCH nurses on the topic, “Nurses Always There For You”.


IT raid on jeweller’s shop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Officials of the Directorate of Income Tax today raided the premises of a prominent jeweller in Sector 22-D market.

According to sources, the officials of the department raided the jewellery shop following specific information that two persons from Amritsar had allegedly been selling gold to the jeweller without bills.

The persons used to come to Chandigarh from Amritsar on a regular basis and the department officials were following their movements for past over sixth months. Today also they came to the shop and reportedly handed over the gold to the jeweller.

The Director of Investigation, Mr C.K. Vohra, while confirming the raid, said action would be taken after proper investigation. The raid continued till late in the evening.



FOR years shopkeepers in HongKong, Taiwan, Singapore have used wind chimes and bells to protect their stores from thieves. These bells also attract business. Sound plays a great role in Feng Shui. All types of sounds can energise us. A beautiful piece of music or song can move us to tears while the sound of drilling can be just as irritating. Sound waves vibrate in the air and so they need to be used with consideration. Music can alter a rooms atmosphere. If it is loud and cheerful, it will bring an uplifting energy, which encourages one to work in the house effectively. Playing soothing sounds of nature can help one to relax. In a home a bell hung in the main door helps to remind us that one is moving in and out of the house-symbolic of the movement of good Chi. In the same way a bead curtain which makes a softer sound can be hung to form a barrier between rooms. These soothing sounds improve the Chi of the house.


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



Motor cycle, car stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Three cases of theft, including two of auto theft, were registered in the city during the past 24 hours.

A motor cycle (HP-20A-0857) was stolen from near AC Joshi Library at about 3 pm yesterday. The police registered a case of theft on the complaint of Mr Arvind Gautam.

A Maruti car ( CH-01T- 2810) was stolen from out side the Sector 28-C residence of Mr Nitish Dass on May 12. In another incident, a music system was stolen from the car of Mr Sudhir Verma, while it was parked at a house in Sector 20 on the night of May 13.

Two injured
A Head Constable, Mahavir Singh, was hit by a car (PB-18C-0208) while he was driving his scooter in Sector 43 last night. He was injured and admitted to the PGI, but the car driver fled.

Another scooterist, Sunil Kumar, was hit by a Gypsy (PB-08-2108) near his residence in Sector 28-C last night. He was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, while the Gypsy driver fled from the spot.

In both cases, FIRs under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC were registered.

Liquor seized
The Sector 11 police seized 100 pouches of whisky from a resident of Sector 15 late this evening. Kishori Lal was arrested from near Nirankari Bhawan with the liquor.

In another case, 50 pouches of whisky were seized from a resident of Naya Gaon. Ashwani Kumar was arrested by the police from near the Sector 15 petrol pump with the liquor. The police registered cases under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act against the two accused.

Woman hospitalised
A 22-year-old Khuda Lahora resident was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital with 40 per cent burn injuries. According to sources in the Police Department, the victim has been identified as Jaswant Kaur. The sources added that a case of attempt to suicide under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered. Further investigations into the matter were on, they added.


Murder Case
The local police remains clueless about the assailants involved in the murder of a 60-year-old woman of Phase IV, Daljit Kaur Mangat. The woman had been done to death by hitting a girdle on her head. Though the police had questioned a number of people, the doubt was hovering on the adopted son of the Mangats, Rajwinder. Though no specific name was being mentioned by police officials.

Meanwhile, she was cremated at the local cremation ground after her husband, Mr SS Mangat reached here from America.

Theft case
Thieves entered a house in Phase 7 here on Monday and decamped with cash and jewellery while the occupants were away. According to information, the owner of the house, Mr Himat Singh and his wife, Jaswant Kaur, both working in Markfed, and their son were away when the theft took place.



Illicit relations led to murder
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, May 14
Illicit relations with a neighbour is alleged to be the reason behind the murder of a 25-year-old woman who was strangulated by her husband in Rajiv Colony, Sector 17, here on Sunday.

After six hours of receiving information about the murder, the Panchkula police succeeded in finding out the names of the accused and the victim. But the police claims it to be a blind murder case as there was hardly any firm evidence to support their names.

According to Mr Isham Singh, investigating officer, women of the locality confirmed names of the accused and the victim as Santosh Yadav, alias Pappu, and Preeti, respectively. However, name of the couple’s child was confirmed as Chandni, from her school notebook. Presently, Chandni has been taken away by her father.

Police sources said the victim reportedly had an extra marital affair with Sant Lal, another resident of the colony. On this issue the couple had a fight which resulted into Preeti’s death.

The investigating officer said Gaya Prasad, who reportedly had asked Santosh to visit Panchkula in search of a job, expressed his ignorance about the correspondence address of the accused. Gaya Prasad has rented out his jhuggi to the couple and told other jhuggi-dwellers that they belonged to Gonda district in UP.

Mr Isham Singh disclosed that a police team had been sent to Ludhiana to know the exact address of the couple. The police was also raiding the suspected hideouts of Sant Lal and the accused.

Interestingly, neither the police nor colony residents were aware of their address and names though they were residing in the area for the last six months. However, some letters received by the couple have also been taken in possession by the police and hopes to make some headway in finding their actual address.

When asked if the victim was pregnant, Mr Manoj Yadav, SP, said he would be able to comment on the issue only after the report of the post-mortem examination arrived.

Meanwhile, the post-mortem examination was conducted in the General Hospital, Sector 6, and the body has been kept in the mortuary for identification.


18 kg poppy husk seized, 2 held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
City police arrested two drug traffickers from near the Sector 43 ISBT here today. More than 18 kg of poppy husk has been recovered from them.

According to the information available, Dhanna Ram, a resident of Balachaur in Nawanshahr and another resident of Khanpur village near Balachaur, were arrested by a police party led by SI Poonam Dilawari. While 8.840 kg of poppy husk was recovered from Dhanna Ram, 9.340 kg of the same was recovered from the latter. They have been booked under Section 21 of the NDPS Act.

It is learnt that the two had brought this consignment from Rajasthan and were taking this to their native village.

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