Thursday, May 17, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Property worth Rs 70 lakh gutted in Sec 17
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Close on the heels of a showroom being gutted in Sector 22, another major fire broke out in the city this morning. The fire destroyed property worth Rs 70 lakh in the Sector 17 commercial area, apart from totally destroying 4 or 5 cabins constructed on the first floor of SCO 71-72- 73. Shopkeepers estimated the losses could touch Rs 1 crore.

The blaze inflicted heavy damage to the rest of the cabins also, along with expensive computer equipment, stationery items and tailoring material. According to reports, almost all the 23 cabins in the complex were damaged due to intense heat, smoke and water. No casualty was reported as it was early in the morning and the cabins were locked at that time.

Today’s incident once again underlined the urgency of installing fire safety equipment in such high-rise buildings. Both occupants and owners of the erring buildings had simply been ignoring the notices served to them by the fire department.

According to sources in the fire department, fire possibly broke out at about 5.30 am. It was Talwar Singh, a worker sleeping in the room in front of the Classic Tailor’s cabin, who noticed the smoke and informed the fire head quarters about the outbreak of the fire at 6.30 am. The firemen reached the site by 6.35 am with two fire tenders and a water bouser. They were able to control the flames in about 45 minutes with the help of four other fire tenders from fire stations in Sectors 11, 32 and 38 and Industrial Area, Phase I. Team of over two dozen firemen continued with the operations for the next three hours till they were able to clear the area of the dense smoke which had engulfed the building.

Though the exact cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained, it was being suspected that the blaze started due to short circuit in one of the cabins. The Chief Fire Officer, who was present at the spot, said the possibility of the fire being caused by overheating of electrical equipment in any of the damaged cabins could not be ruled out. The fire perhaps broke out late last night and due to lack of ventilation kept smouldering inside. Only when the smoke started coming out did Talwar Singh, run out for help, he said.

The affected building, situated adjacent to Chandigarh Medical Centre, Sector 17, has about 22 or 23 small cabins separated by plywood partitions on its first floor. The fire, which reportedly started from a cabin on the rear side, soon spread to the nearby cabins due to the highly combustible material. A visit to the site soon after the fire broke out revealed that cabins 11, 12, 13 and 6 were badly affected, whereas those adjacent to it, including 7, 8 and 14, and a dental care centre were partially damaged. Sources revealed that the damage could have been much more had a gas cylinder lying in Chari’s Clinic, a testing laboratory , which also stocked spirit, exploded in the fire.

Electronic typewriters, ATS automation equipment lying in computer plaza and blitz communications were damaged due to heat and smoke. Besides this, power cables were totally damaged and the building also suffered structural damage due to the resultant heat and smoke.

The building also houses the office of the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, of Haryana on the second and third floors, besides the restaurant Muskan and other general shops on the ground floor. Though no damage was caused here, some persons but few reported about getting a feeling of electric shocks on touching the walls of the building. The fire officials immediately asked the electricity department to switch off the main supply to the building as a safety measure.

The tenders were pressed into action from both the front side and rear side of the showroom after switching off the power supply. Despite this, the firemen complained of electric shocks in the initial stages. As soon as word spread about the outbreak of the fire, the occupants started coming there and some were even informed by the local police. They were shocked to see the damaged caused for their goods were not even insured. Shirts stocked in one of the cabins belonging to Kashmir ready- made garments also got damaged due to smoke and water, but these were insured.


Fire in shop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Electronic goods worth over Rs 1 lakh were burnt in yet another fire that broke out late last night in Bharat Store, SCF, Sector 22-D. No loss of life was, however, reported since the shop was closed. Timely action by the fire brigade and police personnel saved extensive damage.

According to information available, the fire broke out at around 2 a.m. and the police personnel on patrolling informed the fire department personnel about it. A fire-tender from Sector 17 was immediately rushed to the spot, which controlled the fire in about an hour’s time. Among the goods burnt were fixtures, six sewing machines, six fans and a sandwich toaster. The cause of the fire is reported to be an electrical short-circuit.

Mr Inderpal Chadha, owner of the shop, said that the area chowkidar informed him about the fire and by the time they reached the spot at 3.15 p.m., the fire had already been controlled. He, however, claimed that the loss was between Rs 1.5 and Rs 2 lakh. He lauded the efforts of the firemen in controlling the same for it could have spread to other nearby shops.


Playing with fire?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Several multi-storeyed buildings in commercial areas in Sector 17, 34 and 22 are sitting on a virtual powder-keg which can result in a major inferno anytime and cause loss to life and property.

In Sector 17 alone at least 90 per cent of the high-rise buildings are without proper fire detection and fire fighting equipment, even as it is mandatory to equip these buildings with various fire prevention and safety equipment, says Station Fire Officer, Mr S.K. Gosain.

The Chief Fire Officer, Mr G.S. Bajwa, informed that notices have been served to them at least 2-3 times. In the past one decade the fire department has sealed only one building — Frontier Chambers, Sector 17 — for violation of Fire Prevention and Fire Control Act.

In February this year, the Fire Department of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation issued notice under the Fire Act, 1986, to several high-rise buildings, including UT Secretariat, Sector 9, Additional Deluxe Building, Sector 9, Kendriya Sadan, Sector 9, Punjab Mini Secretariat, Sector 9, CDA Building, Sector 9, Punjab National Bank, Sector 17, Frontier Chambers, Sector 17, Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42, Additional Town Hall Building, Sector 17, Estate Office Building, Sector 17, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Panjab Cooperative Bank, Sector 34, INSCOL Hospital, Sector 34, Mukt Hospital, Sector 34, Regional Passport Office, Sector 34, Telephone Exchange, Sector 34, Serai Building of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. And in almost all cases the warnings of the Fire Department have been ignored. 


Youth stabbed to death in clash
Tribune News Service

Three of the accused in Balinder murder case being whisked away to the Sector 11 police station in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Three of the accused in Balinder murder case being whisked away to the Sector 11 police station in Chandigarh on Wednesday. 
— A Tribune photo

Chandigarh, May 16
An altercation between two groups of relatives in Kumhar Colony, while they were boozing last night culminated into a major clash this morning in which a youth was stabbed to death and his brother was seriously injured, when he tried to intervene.

Balinder, alias Bunty, a youth in his twenties was killed , while his younger brother, Praveen sustained injuries on his head and chest. One of the assailants, Ajit, alias Jeepu, was also injured. The police has arrested five of the accused — Udaiveer, alias Hanuman, his sons Amit, Ajit Kumar and Rajiv Kumar and a nephew, Sonu. They have been booked on charges of murder and rioting. A cross case of assault has also been registered.

Balinder, a resident of Indira Colony had come here to visit his brothers — Praveen and Sudesh last night. Accused Udaiveer is a distant maternal relative of the deceased. The marriage of Udaiveer’s son Ajit was scheduled for May 24 and the marriage ceremonies had begun yesterday with “Bhaat Niyotna”, where the former had gone to extend the first invitation for the forthcoming marriage of his brother in- law, Ramesh Kumar.

Since the mother of the deceased was also a distant maternal relative of the prospective bridegroom, their family was also invited for the “Bhaat Niyotna” ceremony. It was while Udaiveer and his sons, his brother Mangli, brother- in-law Ramesh Kumar and his son, Sonu, Balinder and his two brothers Sudesh and Praveen were drinking that an altercation took place between Balinder and Mangli.

However, the matter was amicably sorted out due to the intervention of some persons. This morning, when Balinder was going to buy a packet of cigarettes for himself, he was reportedly confronted by Mangli and they started abusing each other.

It is alleged that Ramesh Kumar then rushed out of his hutment carrying a knife. He is reported to have instigated Mangli that Balinder should not be spared for his misbehaviour. Meanwhile, the other accused— Ramesh’s son, Sonu, Udaiveer and his four sons, too, reached the spot. All of them were armed with lathis and knives. They attacked Balinder and when Praveen rushed to his rescue, he, too, was overpowered and assaulted. The accused then fled from the scene. The two brothers were rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where Balinder was declared brought dead.

Meanwhile, the SHO of the Sector 11 Police Station, Inspector Satbir Singh and the in-charge of the Sector 24 Police Post, SI Gurmukh Singh, sent search parties to various places and the accused were arrested.


Police remand for murder suspect
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 16
With the arrest of the prime suspect, Rajwinder Singh, involved in the murder of the 60-year-old Daljit Kaur, Mangat, a resident of Phase 4, the police is trying to restructure the events leading to the murder. The 38-year-old suspect, who was arrested last night after being questioned for five days was today remanded to police custody till May 18 by the Judicial Magistrate, Kharar.

Police officials investigating the case said the suspect who was employed as a driver with the Punjab Tractors Limited (PTI) had not confessed to his involvement so far but circumstantial evidence pointed to his involvement. He is suspected to be hooked to drugs and is learnt to have borrowed money from an employee of PTL to buy some drugs on the day of the incident.

After the death of Mangat’s son, Harvinder Singh, due to liver damage, Rajwinder, who was in Italy, was called to India and adopted. Initially, the family wanted to marry the widow of the deceased to Rajwinder but the proposal did not materialise. About five acre land near Chappar Chidi was transferred in his name by the Mangats but was later sold off after his relations with the foster parents deteriorated.

Later, Rajwinder was married but his wife started living with her parents in Sector 38. His foster parents had also invested money to set up a shop selling fertiliser and seeds at Kharar but it did not work. Since Rajwinder had been called from Italy and there was pressure on Mangats to settle him, relations between the two were not good, said a police official.

Sources said efforts were being made to purchase around 100 kilas in Zambia. The police official said investigations had revealed that assailant had not come prepared for the act and he acted in the heat of the moment. The exact details leading to the murder would come to light only after the interrogation of the suspect, said a police official.


Panchkula man who saved $ 3 m for Bayers
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
It was just a two-minute intervention that saved an entire batch of a precious medicine worth US $ 3 million from being rendered “useless”.

And the man who did it was none other than Mr Surendra Sharma, a Panchkula-based scientist now settled in the USA and working for the Fremont-based Bayer, a multinational pharmaceutical company.

It all happened when Mr Surendra Sharma was on “graveyard duty” (night duty) when there was panic in the unit. Because of an operational error, the entire basic product could not be transferred to the tank for viral inactivation. The valve had been accidentally shut thus leading to transfer of only 50 per cent of the basic product to the viral inactivation tank.

As per American quality and safety norms, neither the product which was in the tank for viral inactivation nor which was left behind could be used any further. The cost value of the product was estimated at about US $ 3 million. According to practice, once the highly computerised Distribution Control Systems are set in motion, it cannot be intervened without rendering the product “useless”. So the transfer of the 50 per cent product left behind was ruled out.

After this operational error, none of the software or control room engineers present at the plant on night duty were prepared to take any chances.

The time gap for viral inactivation tank to heat up and start after transfer of product was 10 minutes.

It was then that Mr Sharma, a supervisor, approached the Plant Manager on night duty and offered to intervene. “It was a big challenge for the department manager to handle the situation. Since there was virtually no chance of retrieving the product, I was allowed. I had my conditions. Because of my comprehensive knowledge of software, I took control of the sequence and intervened to get the valve opened and get the remaining product transferred to the viral inactivation tank”.

“We proceeded with the batch which had a market value of US $ 15 million and it passed with flying colours. The Chairman of the company, pleased with my performance, promoted me as area supervisor,” says Mr Sharma , who had before migrating to the USA as a visitor in 1988 had worked for 18 years and 11 months at the City’s Pfizzer’s unit.

“On reaching the USA, I liked the settings there. When one of my friends proposed that I should stay on than return to India,I agreed. It was he who managed m y travel and other documents. The first year was not without any difficulties. For one year, I had little or no money. Though I could not get a job at Pfizzer’s plant in Fremont, I started working for Bayer from the 45th day of my arrival in the USA. Since then I have been there. From condemned ‘graveyard duty’ to area supervisor, I am now there as subject matter expert for protein purification and a senior development scientist,” he says.

Talking about the plant where he works, he says , it specialises in Factor 8, a blood clotting protein which works on recombinant technology. A protein molecule — which is the largest and most complex molecule in the human body — is purified from the tissue culture. Then there are seven steps of column chromatography. It is critical to make the medicine free from any viral infection, including AIDS as hemophilia is cured by the drug made at the plant. One vial of injection is priced at US $ 156.

Mr Sharma has offered to provide complete free consultancy to anyone in India planning to start any unit in bio-technology.

“It is the second half of high tech as the Information Technology being the first half. Unfortunately, bio-technology will usher in the second gold rush. This is an opportunity which young Indian microbiologist and biochemistry scientists must grab. We have a lot of talent in India in these areas. And we must not lag behind. believe me biotechnology is the greatest opportunity for us to end poverty and usher in a more prosperous middle or upper middle class in the country. I want to give my expertise in acknowledgement of what I am today. I do not need money. I just want to repay my motherland whatever it has given me,” he says.

Maintaining that his American dream has been fulfilled — as he has a bungalow, sufficient bank balance to last the rest of his life with his daughter, a clinical psychologist married to a Kashmiri software specialist, and son a, software specialist, doing well in the state — he wants to do something for his country in general and biotechnology in particular.

He , however, misses his Chandigarh circle of friends, especially Mr Gautam Kaul, a former SSP of Chandigarh, and Mr K.L. Kalra. He frequents the city at least every six months.


Air travel to be dearer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Air travel is all set to become more expensive. The hike will not be because of any increase in air fares but because of the imposition of 10.5 per cent tax deduction at source (TDS).

The Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, in his Budget speech had proposed to levy 10.2 per cent (including 10 per cent TDS and 2 per cent surcharge thereon) tax on commission or brokerage offered by airlines to air travellers.

This is being done by including a new Section 194H in the Finance Bill, 2001.

The explanation for the new section reads:

“Commission or brokerage includes any payment received or receivable, directly or indirectly, by a person acting on behalf of another person for services rendered (not being professional services) or any services in the course of buying or selling of goods or in relation to any transaction relating to any asset, valuable article or thing, not being securities.”

The TDS will thus become the latest addition to a long list of levies and taxes paid by international and domestic air travellers.

For example, an international traveller, besides the air fare, pays Rs 500 as airport tax, Rs 200 as passenger service tax, 0.5 per cent of the face value of his air ticket as service tax and air tax of the country of his or her destination.

Similarly, for domestic air travellers, 15 per cent of the air fare is charged as inland air travel tax (IATT) besides Rs 200 per ticket as passenger service tax.

The imposition of TDS may create a series of problems besides putting an additional financial burden on air travellers.

Under the present system, the promotional fare offered by almost all international air carriers involves heavy discounts. Though the tickets carry the actual face value, they are sold at a lower price and a big chunk of the discount is passed on to the air travellers while agents get their fixed commission.

But the new provision suggests the levying of TDS on the entire discount. As such, travel agents have decided to pass on the burden of the TDS to the passenger as their commission remains the same.

Though there have been several amendments, the airlines may now change the face value of air tickets to the actual value charged from travellers.

The Chandigarh-based IATA Travel Agents, who met here today, decided to charge the TDS amount as levied by the Union Government. “We have to abide by the government regulation,” said Mr Mohinder Singh Bajaj, one of the conveners of the meeting.

Others, including Mr Umesh Kapoor and Mr Kamaljit Cheema, said that travel agents could not be penalised for any commission which was directly passed on to the consumer, the air traveller. They maintained that the burden would definitely be passed on to the passenger because of the competition in the air travel industry where agents get only a few hundred rupees as commission on an international air travel ticket while the TDS on some tickets ranged between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000.


City IAS aspirants put up better show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
A number of candidates from the city have improved their ranking in the Civil Service Examination this year.

Gurkirat K. Singh has topped the list of candidates from the city. He is placed third on the merit list. An engineer in electronics and electrical communication from the local Punjab Engineering College, he is currently an assistant security commissioner with the Railway Protection Force.

Gurkirat qualified for the mains of the Civil Services Examination in 1998. In 1999, he was placed 248th on the merit list. He opted for physics and mathematics in the main examination.

Ekroop Caur is placed 24th on the merit list. She was placed 274th in the first attempt. Ekroop ranked 108 in the second attempt. She is a M.A. in psychology. She is currently doing her doctorate in the subject.

Prof Anil Kumar from the IAS Training Centre, Sector 21, said the candidates had training sessions at this centre. “Nothing succeeds like hard work, the candidates have always been told”, he said.

Another candidate who has managed a re-entry is Nipun Vinayak. This time he is placed 25th.

Munish Dhiman is currently a junior resident at the Department of Oncology, Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, She opted for psychology and sociology. This was her first attempt.

Dr Atul Handa is placed 98th on the merit list. This was second attempt. He is currently serving as a medical officer in Punjab. He opted for history and anthropology. He studied at the IAS Circle at Patiala.

Handa says the Civil Services was a more challenging job than the medical profession and one can contribute more towards society.

The list of successful candidates from the city include Anu Aggarwal (14), Sanjay Bansal (51), Prabhjeet Singh (191), Kusum (285) and Tejpratap Singh.


Tehelka Expose
Inquiry findings with GoC-in-C
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The findings and recommendations of the court of inquiry (COI) conducted by the Army into the Tehelka expose have been put up before the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt-Gen Surjit Singh, for further directions, it is learnt.

As far as discipline and vigilance matters are concerned, Army Headquarters comes within the purview of Western Command. The three-member COI headed by the Director-General, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Lt-Gen S.K. Jain, is learnt to have concluded in Delhi about two weeks ago.

Subsequent administrative action or initiation of disciplinary proceedings against the officers concerned, if recommended by the COI, will depend on the directions issued by the GOC-in-C after considering the legal aspects of the case. If disciplinary proceedings are ordered, the next step will be to attach the officers concerned to a formation or establishment away from the present place of posting.

The terms of reference of the COI included investigations into the alleged involvement of senior Army officers in defence deals and the acceptance of illegal gratification by the said officers in exchange for favouring a particular weapon systems for procurement, as brought out in the Tehelka tapes.

Two independent inquiries had been initiated after the Tehelka expose rocked the establishment. While the Army initiated its own investigations under the Army Act, the Central Government set up a one-man inquiry commission headed by Justice K. Venkataswami. The commission, which was to submit its report within a month, has been granted an additional four weeks’ time by the Defence Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh.


New power cut timings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh May 16
Timings of the hour-long rotational power cuts in the city will change from May 18. Like past fortnight hospitals, the railway station, the All-India Radio station, telephone exchanges, defence installations and waterworks, will be exempted from the cuts.

The power cuts will be of one hour duration in each area between 9. a.m. and 6 p.m. as per schedule enclosed. The timings of the cuts will be rotated after every fortnight and will be applicable till June 30.

Time Details of area to be shut down:

9 a.m. to 10 a.m: Sectors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-A,B & C, parts of 8-A, B & C, 9, 10, 11A & B, 15 A, B, C &D, part of Sector 25, Punjab & Haryana Civil Sectt, Khuda Alisher, Kaimbwala, Rajendra Park, Engineering College, Lawyers Chamber.

10 a.m. to 11 a.m: Sectors 6, 7-B, 7-C, 15-A & C, 16-A,B,C and D, 17, 18, 22-A, parts of Sector 26, 27-A & B, Modern Housing Complex cat-IV and parts of cat-I.

11 a.m. to 12 noon: Parts of Sectors-12, 7-C, 19-A, B, C & D, 20-A, 22-A, B, C & D, 26, 27, 28, Institutional Area Sectors-26, 41, 42, 44-C & D, 45-A & B, Kishangarh, Bhagwanpura, parts of Mani Majra, Burail Jail.

12 noon to 1 p.m: Sectors 7-C & D, 16-C & D, 17, 18-D, parts of 22-A and 26, 27-A & B, Modern Housing Complex category-IV, category-I, Sector 11-C, parts of Sector-9, 10, 12, 14, 15-D, 30-A & B, Grain Market, Timber Market, Police Lines, Police Lines Colony, Bapu Dham Colony, Lahora Khuda & Jassu, Dhanas, Milk Colony, Aman Chaman Ambedkar Colony, Sarangpur, Behlana, Hallo Majra, Darua and Colony No 4.

1 p.m. to 2.p.m: Parts of Sectors 8-C, 9B & C, 18-A, B & C, 16, 17, 19-A, 19-D, 21-A, B & C, 22-A & B, 23-A & B.

2 p.m. to 3 p.m: Sectors-29, 36, 37-A, B, C & D part, 40 part, 41-A & B, Mani Majra Town, Modern Housing Complex category-I, category-II & III, duplexes, Shivalik Enclave, Mauli Jagran, Raipur Kalan, Makhan Majra.

3 p.m. to 4 p.m: Parts of sectors 24-B, C & D, 30-C, 31, 37-D, 38, 39, 40, IMT, 47-A, B & C, 55, 56, CSIO, Ram Darbar Colony, Dadu Majra Colony, Maloya, Palsora.

4 p.m. to 5 p.m: Sectors 20-A & C, 21-A & D, parts of 21-B & C, 22-C & D, 23-A & C, 34, 35, 45-A & B.

5 p.m. to 6 p.m: Parts of Sector 19-C, 20-B,C & D, Sector 24-B, parts of Sector 25, 27-C, 27-D, 32, 33, 43-B, 44-A & B, 46, 47-B,47-C parts of 48, 49-A & B, 52, 55, 61, Kajheri, Colony No 5.


No women empowerment this!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The much-hyped Mahila Shakti Mela which was inaugurated by the Chairperson of the Central Social Welfare Advisory Board, Ms Mridula Sinha, at the Sector 27 Jat Bhavan today, did not please the participating women the way it should have.

Organised by the Chandigarh Social Welfare Advisory Board in the name of women empowerment, the show, in reality, had little to do with the empowerment issue. While the morning programme went off well with the inauguration of the exhibition featuring works by 29 women, the hype started waning towards the afternoon when gathered dignitaries had left.

The response on the first day of the exhibition was even less than lukewarm and most participants sounded quite disgruntled towards the evening. They felt that the organisers had paid too much attention to rhetoric and not concentrated on promoting the stalls. With the result, the response was very poor right at the outset.

When The Tribune took another round of the exhibition venue at about 6.30 pm today, the participants were being asked to leave the venue despite the fact that the display is meant to last till 8 pm on all three days of the exhibition (till May 18). Some of the organisers were heard saying, “Please leave today. We will decide tomorrow whether the exhibition is to be run till 8 pm.”

Disillusioned by this attitude, most participants even contemplated walking out of the exhibition tomorrow. Said one of them, “If their motive is to promote themselves in the name of women empowerment, we are not interested. We do not stand to benefit in this game,. I don’t know what empowerment these people were talking about in the morning speeches.”

While this was the scene in the evening, the morning was a little different. For the women trained at various non-governmental organisations operating in the city, it was meant to be an occasion of celebration. The exhibition featured 29 stalls displaying products ranging from beautiful works by students of Vatika Deaf and Dumb School to the exquisitely hand block printed bedcovers and matching cushions put up by Bindia Bagai of Surabhi, an outfit where hand block prints are created by craftspersons of national repute.

Some of the best products on display were by Geeta, who has tied up with Lucknow-based artisans to create a range of Lucknow fabrics for the local market. With no major grants at hand, Geeta is managing with her limited resources. Quilts by Gyanti Devi from Dhanas, soft toys by students of Sewa Bharati, phulkari range by Puneet Madan, hand-made products from Japanese fabric, gowns, tea cozies by under-training students at YWCA...and many more. The range of creations included rural crafts, antique art work, khes, daris, embroidered garments, patch work, pickles, sauces and a lot more. The best part of the display is its reasonable pricing.

There, however, was more of formal activity during the day than the promotion of works. Ms Sinha, in her speech, laid stress on promoting vocational training to help empower women. She spoke against the practice of abortion of female child and said that this year the board was concentrating on generating public opinion against this practice. “The month of January,” she said, was dedicated to this very issue.

She informed that the board would oversee organisation of about 100 such melas in the country during this year. “We are also opening up 330 pre-marital counselling centres all over. “Ms Kamla Sharma, Chairperson of the local Advisory Board, informed that the board had sent a proposal to open up one such centre in Panjab University. Ms Sinha also released a calendar on women empowerment. Also present on the occasion were the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, and Ms Madhavi Kataria, Director, Social Welfare, UT. A cultural show was also held in the morning.

Earlier during the day, Ms Sinha also inaugurated a free computer centre for women in Sector 37. This centre, being sponsored by the Chandigarh Social Welfare Advisory Board, will be run by the New Indian Education Society and will offer training to nearly 60 poor women.


Notice of motion to PUDA
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 16
Even as the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) is going ahead with the process of announcing awards of Sohana village, being acquired for further expansion of SAS Nagar, at least 61 land owners of Sohana village have been granted status quo regarding the possession of their land. The petitioners own around 100 acres being acquired by the PUDA.

Taking up the case of Jasmer Singh and 60 others, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana Court, comprising Mr Justice JL Gupta and Mr Justice NK Sud, issued notice of motion to PUDA for September 24.

The petitioners had prayed that the land falling in the Periphery Control Area could not be acquired and the compensation being given to the evacuees was less. Under the Land Acquisition Act, possession of the land of Mauli Baidwan village had already been taken by the Land Acquisition Collector (LAC) on May 7 and handed over to the Superintending Engineer (SE). The process of taking over the possession of the land had been entered in the register of the patwari concerned.


Defence quota allottees a harassed lot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Hundreds of defence personnel and holders of residential property in sectors 32,33,34,35 and 36 are a harassed lot. Despite an assurance by the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), about eight months back that the transfer of their property would be allowed without the payment of ‘unearned profit’, the Estate Office was dragging its feet on the issue.

The transactions in the defence property was a typical case of bureaucratic mishandling and callousness. The defence personnel, artists and doctors were allotted plots on concessional terms in 1967, with a condition that they would not be allowed to sell their property for 10 years after completion of the buildings.

The date of completion was under dispute, whether it should be the release of the sewerage connection or other criteria. Finally General Jacob announced on September last year that the date of release of sewerage connection should be treated as the date of completion yet the notification had not been issued, alleged the chairman of the Property Consultants Association, Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

He questioned the logic of the charging the ‘unearned profit’ from the subsequent owners, who had purchased the property in the open market. Since the original owners had paid the ‘unearned profit’ at the rate of 33 per cent, Rule 8-C could not be applied to subsequent sales.

Though the 10-year ban on the sale of the property ended in 1977, the sellers continued to pay the ‘unearned profit', which amounted to crores of rupees, said the president of the association. He said the defence personnel, had spent a major portion of lives defending the borders of the country.

For three years, permission to sell property without charging the ‘unearned profit’ was allowed. The charging of the ‘unearned profit’ was restarted in April 2000.


Electricity Dept holds darbar
Tribune News Service

Officials of the Electricity Department redress grievances of residents of Ramgarh at an open darbar held at Ramgarh on Wednesday.
Officials of the Electricity Department redress grievances of residents of Ramgarh at an open darbar held at Ramgarh on Wednesday. 
— A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, May 16
Complaints of non-functional meters, those running fast and the problem of excessive billing, dominated a darbar of the Electricity Department held to redress grievances of Ramgarh residents, here today.

While a total of 65 complaints were heard by officials of the department, residents of adjoining villages of Mankya, Bana and Moginand also reported at the darbar.

The Executive Engineer of the UHVPN, Mr Murari, said while most of the complaints were disposed of on the spot, there were 10 complaints related to excess consumption of units on account of installation of electronic meters.

Armed with bills and files of records of previous consumption of electricity, the villagers attributed the excess in units consumed to installation of “faulty” meters.

Non-functional meters were inspected on the spot by employees of the department and orders for their replacement passed almost immediately.

However, the simultaneous installation of electromagnetic meters alongside the electronic meters in eight houses to verify the authenticity of complaints of ``fast-running’’ meters was put off for a while. An official said the installation of meters would be carried on the arrival of a representative of the meter-supplying company from New Delhi.


64-year-old man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
A 64-year-old man, R.P. Kundra, a former employee of Panjab University, committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan at his Sector 49 residence here this morning. Following a long illness, he was reportedly in a state of depression.

According to the police, the deceased was suffering from a heart ailment for the past few months.

His son, J.P. Kundra was away for work and his wife had gone to buy his medicine. The daughter-in-law of the deceased was at home when he killed himself. The police has registered a case under Section 174 of the Cr. P. C.


Aganwadi workers protest
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 16
Members of the Aganwadi Mulazam Union, Punjab, held a dharna in front of the office of the Director of Social Security and Women and Child Development in Sector 34 here today. They were protesting against the expulsion of some of their colleagues.

The members gathered in front of the office and raised slogans against the Punjab Government. Later a rally, led by the president of the union, Ms Hargobind Kaur, reached at the Matka Chowk and submitted a memorandum to the Officer on Special Duty in the office of the Chief Minister of Punjab. Union leaders demanded reappointment of the employees and helpers of the Aganwadi. The general secretary of the union, Ms Gurjit Kaur, threatened that union would intensify the agitation if their demands were not met soon.


Property extensions

In times of great demand for more and more space in our living premises, people tend to extend their structures. Generally, these extensions are useful but they affect the life of the people living in the house. Having an extension is certainly bad Feng Shui.

The extension will have an effect on the nature of the energy in the home because it will cause an imbalance in the different sectors of the home. The larger the extension, the more disastrous would be the effect it may cause to the house.

The extension causes Chi to be unbalanced and the corresponding qualities of that particular portion would be exaggerated. The qualities of the energies in each sector relate to individuals. So, they may influence one member of the family more than the other. Extensions should, therefore, be always carried out keeping the regularity of the structure in one’s mind.

Sometimes it is not possible to rectify the extension or to make your plot regular because of the costs it may involve. Feng Shui has rectifications for extension in every sector. These cures are generally cost-effective and simple to carry out.


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



Third burglary in 15 days
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, May 16
Burglars struck for the third time in a fortnight in the town as a house in Sector 9 was burgled while the owners were away on Tuesday night. Valuables and jewellery was missing from the house of Mr Madan Mohan Suri, who was away with his family to Delhi to attend a marriage.

The burglary was noticed by Ms Shaila Bhasin, a neighbour, at about 6.30 a.m., when she found the main gate of the house open. She informed Mr R.K. Suri, a brother of the owner of the house, about the burglary. The family had gone to Delhi on May 14 and had informed the neighbours to take care of their house. According to the police, the burglars entered the house after breaking open the lock of the main door. The entire house, was ransacked and locks of two steel trunks and an iron almirah had been opened. The thieves left some empty bottles of liquor on a table.

All the doors of the house were found open and lights of the house were on. The police suspected that the burglars might have switched the light on in a room before entering it. The burglars did not touch other valuable electronic goods in the house.

The miscreants might have entered the courtyard by scaling down the boundary wall as two flower vases were removed from the wall to make way for the entry. A dog squad was called and the owners of the house were given a telephonic message about the incident. The owner returned from Delhi in the afternoon and said he would be able to assess the exact loss only the visit of forensic experts.


Man duped of Rs 4,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
A man was duped of Rs 4,000 at the electricity office, Sector 10, on the pretext of getting his bill deposited at the earliest.

Dilshad, a resident of Bapu Dham, had gone to the electricity office in order to deposit the bill of Rs 4,000. There was a long queue in front of the window. He was approached by an unknown person, who claimed that his uncle was working in the office and he could get the bill deposited at the earliest. The complainant gave him the money and the bill, but the same was not deposited and the accused slipped away. A case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered.

Cash stolen

Cash worth Rs 10,000, a calculator and a few documents were stolen from a car ( CH-03D- 5281) while it was parked in Sector 8 on Tuesday morning.

Mr Sarabjit Singh has reported that someone had broken the right side window of the car and taken out the briefcase containing the cash, calculator and other documents. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Theft case

The warden of the GC Chatterji Hall in Panjab University, Mr SK Deweshmar, has reported that the lock of a room in the hostel was broken on the night of Sunday and the room was ransacked. The occupant of the room is out of station, so the loss of property could not be ascertained.

One booked

The police has booked a resident of Mauli Jagran village, Balkar, on charges of eve-teasing in front of Government High School, Mauli Jagran. A case under Sections 294 and 509 of the IPC has been registered.


T-Series director booked for cheating
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 16
The Bathinda police has registered a case of cheating under Section 420 of the IPC and various Sections of the Copy Right Act against Darshan Kumar, director of the Super Cassettes Industries (T-Series). This was disclosed by office-bearers of the Music Association of India here today. 

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