Wednesday, May 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


HC seeks list of officers’ houses transferred to spouses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
On a petition filed by the UT Administrator and House Allotment Committee against IAS officer J.S. Maini, his wife and two other respondents, Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice N.K. Sud of the Punjab and Haryana High Court have asked counsel for the petitioners to file a list of cases where houses allotted to officers were handed over to their spouses after their transfer.

Pronouncing the orders, the judges also directed counsel for petitioners to disclose the “latest position” with regard to such houses, along with the names of the officers concerned.

In their petition, the HAC and the Administrator had earlier sought directions for quashing the judgement passed by the District Judge setting aside the orders of eviction issued by the Estate Officer.

Terming the District Judge’s order as “invalid”, the counsel had stated that the petitioners would be entitled to recover Rs 8 lakh as damages on account of unauthorised occupation of the premises if the orders were set aside.

Opposing the plea, counsel for Mr Maini and his wife Gurpreet kaur Maini, a lecturer in Sector 11 Government College, had stated that the order was legal and valid as the occupation of house was not “unauthorised”. In any case, the house had been vacated and the possession had been handed over to the Administration on May 5, he had added.

Giving details, the counsel had further stated that the Finance Secretary-cum-HAC chairman had directed on May 11, 1992 that the allotment of the house in Sector 7 would stand transferred in favour of Ms Maini after the transfer of Mr Maini from Chandigarh.

After hearing the arguments, the judges directed the petitioner’s counsel to “file a list of all cases where orders like the ones passed on May 11, 1992 in case of the respondents were issued”.

The judges had further directed that “the latest position with regard to the other houses where similar orders have been passed shall also be disclosed to the court”. The case will now come up for further hearing on July 6.


No more wait for PhD aspirants
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
For the research scholars enrolled for a PhD at Panjab University and awaiting registration as doctorate students, the wait is over.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.N. Pathak, has ordered that in the absence of the Syndicate and the Deans of faculties, the seniormost professors of the various departments can convene the Research Degree Committees (RDC) and recommend the various PhD students to be registered as students.

The VC took note of the issue after Chandigarh Tribune highlighted the condition of these scholars a week back. Fresh research in the university had reached a virtual dead end as hundreds of researchers enrolled for a PhD in the university were waiting to be registered as research scholars. The orders of the VC would help clear this growing backlog of students.

These scholars have not been registered as PhD students in spite of being enrolled for a PhD and having gone through the initial pre-RDC presentations in their respective departments. These students were waiting for the meeting of the RDCs to consider and recommend their topics and pass these on to the Joint Research Boards (JRB), which takes a final decision on these issues.

The RDCs, in normal course of events, are convened by the Deans of faculties, who have not been elected till now, pending the formation of the Syndicate. Without the RDC and JRB passing their topics and plan of work, these students can neither access library facilities, nor can they apply for any scholarships.

The students had to submit and present their synopsis within one year of having enrolled for a PhD. This period is extendible for a period of six months, although in some cases the students have been given an extension of two months even after one and a half years.


MC running unregistered vehicles
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 29
Vehicles of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council are being run without being registered with the State Transport Department, mandatory under the Motor Vehicle Rules. The serious irregularity has resulted in a loss of lakhs of rupees to the state exchequer.

Caring little about the rules, vehicles with the sanitation wing of the civic body have not been registered even after over five years of being put to use. At least one light commercial vehicle, modified to lift garbage bins, is being run without being passed by the Motor Vehicle Inspector since 1992. Further flouting the rules, some vehicles have not being insured for the past over two years.

Sources in the civic body say there are at least three trucks with the sanitation wing and a vehicle with electrical wing. The oldest vehicle with the sanitation wing is around eight years old and has not been registered. A modified LCV with the electrical wing, purchased two years ago from Chandigarh, has not been registered due to less sales tax deposited by the civic body.

The vehicle cannot be registered unless the civic body gets a no-objection certificate (after paying around Rs 40,000 as sales tax.

These vehicles, as per rule 41(6) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1989, do not bear the registration numbers. Enquires reveal that the irregularity has been repeatedly brought to the notice of the officials, but without any result.

Investigations reveal that apart from the unregistered vehicles, the registration documents of other vehicles of the civic body are hardly kept in the respective vehicles. Drivers of the vehicles say the papers are generally kept in the office, a violation of the Motor Vehicle Rules.

Officials of the District Transport Office say a penalty of Rs 2000 can be imposed on a vehicle for not being registered. If a vehicle comes for clearance after the permitted period, a penalty of Rs 50 for the first week and Rs 100 per week thereafter is imposed. This means that the civic body will have to pay lakhs of Rupees to the State Transport Department remove the irregularity.


Theft incidents real or stage-managed ?
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Is a gang of thieves behind the recent spate of thefts from parked vehicles in the city? Are a number of these incidents being stage-managed by certain unscrupulous elements for availing of the insurance benefits?

The city police here are in a quandary over the sudden increase in the number of such incidents. They maintain that though a definite pattern can be established in most of these cases - indicating that these incidents are a handiwork of a gang of thieves - certain people are also taking advantage of these incidents in order to reap the harvests of the insurance cover.

It may be noted that seven such incidents have been reported from different parts of the city so far this year. Two of these incidents were reported during this month itself, including the recent one on May 26, when cash worth Rs 1.77 lakh was stolen from a Santro car parked in Sector 17. A few similar incidents have also been reported in the satellite township of Panchkula. It is suspected that most of these incidents are the handiwork of a two-member gang.

The pattern followed by the accused is the same. They station themselves on a two-wheeler outside any of the busy banks in the commercial hub of the city — Sector 8, Sector 9, Sector 11, Sector 17, Sector 34 or Sector 35. After deciding on their prey (coming out from the bank), the duo follows them and strikes if their unsuspecting victim stops by for some work after leaving behind the cash in the parked car.

Following on increase in number such incidents, the city police in association with the Panchkula police has launched a special operation to nab these accused. The police sends decoy customers to various banks in the city in order to lay a trap for the accused, but with no results so far.

Interestingly, police sources inform that in wake of these incidents, certain unscrupulous persons are exploiting this issue in order to avail the insurance claim. Of the total reported cases, at least three have allegedly been stage-managed, when the complainant did not seen concerned about further police action, once the First Information Report had been registered.

It is alleged that since this report is essential for filing of an insurance claim, this is the only thing that these “complainants” are interested in. In all these cases, the money had been reportedly withdrawn from the bank account of the firm of the complainants and not from the personal accounts. It is also learnt that before the money was withdrawn, the same had been insured.

In a recent incident reported in one of the southern sectors last month, a local government contractor had alleged that a sum of Rs 2 lakh had been stolen from his car after he had parked the car near an SCO. He had claimed that he had withdrawn the money from a bank in Sector 8.

An investigating officer in the case disclosed that when they reached the spot for investigations, they found that there were two roadside vendors doing business on each side of the 20-feet-wide road, where the car was parked. Both the vendors maintained that no one other than the complainant, who had come back again to pick up certain papers, had been near the car. However, the police was forced to register an FIR of theft.

A senior police officer in the city, on condition of anonymity, said that the fact that the registration of an FIR in the city was prompt, many unscrupulous elements were taking advantage of this.

When contacted, the SP Operations, currently officiating as the Senior Superintendent of Police, conceded that a gang of thieves was operating in the city. While refusing to comment on the incidents of theft being stage- managed, he said such incidents had to be examined in totality in order to reach a conclusion.


Bail for former CE Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Former UT Chief Engineer K.K. Jerath, taken into custody two weeks after being released on Supreme Court orders in four cases, was today granted bail by Mr Justice K.S. Garewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in yet another case registered against him over a year ago.

Pronouncing the orders in the open court, Mr Justice Garewal observed: “The petitioner surrendered before the authorities in November, 1998, and has been continuously in custody. The petitioner was released on bail by the orders of the Supreme Court dated March 19 and was actually released on March 23. However, the petitioner was rearrested on April 5 in FIR number 1 dated March 15 last year”.

The Judge added: “Counsel contends that the investigation is now complete. Challan is likely to be put in soon and trial shall commence. Accordingly, there is no justification to detain the petitioner in further custody. He shall be released on bail on furnishing adequate surety and on such terms and conditions as may be fixed to the satisfaction of the Chandigarh CJM”.

Mr Jerath was earlier booked in a case registered by the UT Vigilance Department under the Prevention of Corruption Act. According to the first information report, the case pertained to the alleged misuse of official position in utilising the services of 15 workers of the Engineering Department at his official residence, besides using two official vehicles for his personal work.

Seeking his release on bail, Jerath had earlier stated that he was arrested by the police soon after being released by the Apex Court in an FIR registered over a year back.


Tight security for PM’s stopover
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The city police has made elaborate security arrangements for the brief stopover of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, in the city, for his onward journey to Delhi after his sojourn in Manali tomorrow.

Over 150 policemen will be deployed for the security of Mr Vajpayee tomorrow. The PM will be changing from a copter to his flight from here. A large number of cops will be positioned in the Technical Area. It is learnt that a large number of cops will be deployed outside the airport.


Lucky escape for helmetless girl
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 29
A 23-year-old helmetless girl had a miraculous escape when the Kinetic Honda scooter which she was driving banged in to a bus which suddenly came to a halt to pick up commuters near a bus queue shelter in Phase 7 here at around 8 a.m today.

The girl, Sarbjit Kaur, escaped with injuries near the left eye and in the head. Doctors at the Civil Hospital in Phase 6, where she had been admitted, said she was recuperating well. A student of the local Industrial Training Institute in Phase 5 here, she was going to the institute from her residence in Sector 20 in Chandigarh when the incident took place.

Enquiries revealed that the victim had tried to overtake the private bus going towards Kharar when the driver of the bus suddenly applied the brakes. The scooter, after hitting in the read side of the bus, fell to the left side, badly damaging the front of the scooter. Said Mr Santokh Singh, employed in Chandigarh, “We are happy that my girl has been saved”.


City designed for the rich: Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
It was a pleasant surprise for students of the College of Architecture, when the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), came to attend presentations by the students on re-modelling of shopping centre in Sector 8.

The Administrator was impressed with the various models prepared by the students for re-modelling of the shopping centre in Sector 8. Most of the students suggested re-modelling of parking area as they were of the opinion that due to large numbers of eateries and fast food joints in the sector vehicular movement was heavy.

Immediately after presentation, the Administrator visited the Sector 8 market to evaluate the problems. Overflowing sewerage manholes, garbage, littered pavements and unorganised parking greeted the General on his arrival to the market. General Jacob immediately contacted the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, and instructed him to get the sewerage of Sector 8 market cleared immediately. The Administrator was of the view that green belt adjacent to Sector 8 dispensary could be developed as a park. He asked the Chief Architect to draw up a plan for re-modelling the parking area in Sector 8 utilising the inputs from the presentations of the students.

General Jacob said that Le Corbusier failed to gauge the pulse of Indian cities. He said this Sectoral grid of city has compartmentalised it without any uniforming factor. Secondly, an excessive use of concrete in hot climate like India has created problems for the residents of the city. The absence of chhajjas (sunshades) and courtyards and planning of houses in line have failed to create mohalla culture in the city.


Khushwant remembers bygone era
Divya Kaushik

Chandigarh, May 29
The grand old man of India, Khushwant Singh, was in town today, back from a brief spourn in Kasauli at his cottage there. Apparently, he headed for the hills this time round to make headway on his new novel, slated to come out next year. Hairing rested after his sojourn in the beautiful climes, we caught him on the way back to Delhi.

The best known journalist of the country and an authority on several political, social and environment issues, he commented on the contemporary youth culture as he reminisced about the attitudes and ways of the young in his times, some 65 years ago.

Having come of age in the pre-Independence era, he recalled the years when all students were involved in the freedom movement in some form or the other.No matter what social strata they belonged to, each of these youngsters went on strike when Bhagat Singh was hanged. He himself wore khaddar instead of foreign-made cloth and helped in hoisting the Tricolour at his college in blatant disregard of British orders.

Even though there was little stress on the youth on those days, the burden of studies was still heavy on some. Khushwant himself never felt it since he belonged to a prosperous background and could rely on an imperative inheritance, but those who had studied at their family’s expense knew they had t0o compensate for it. Hence, the pressure on them was almost as much as the pressure on the Indian kids today due to the rat race for limited seats and government policies regarding reserved categories.

As for the job options available, just as society allowed itself to be swept up in trends ranging from the MBA 10 years back to engineering at present, the pseudo-administrative set-up was the thing to belong to back then.While the middle class kids tried earnestly for the civils services, privileged students like Khushwant allowed their families to make up their minds for them and got pushed into being lawyers or doctors.He himself was a lawyer once, but shifted happily to writing after 7 years of hating his job.

Having studied in the likes of institutions like Government College of Lahore, Saint Stephen’s and Kings College, London, his college career was eventful to say the least.

These days, women are very assertive about their rights and their total career orientation is threatening the stability of nuclear units, let alone joint families. Evidently, this was not the case in the pre-Independence era.Most women opted for marriage and the few who wanted education enrolled in all-women colleges. Only about 4 or 5 landed up in coeducational institutions such as his alma mater. And even then, they did not associate with the boys who studied with them.

He remembered that just talking to daughters of family friends was a matter of great pride for him.

As for the present generation or the youth of today, he reserved any comments on them, and not having communicated much with anyone below 25 for a long time now, he said he had no better message for them except that they should live their lives fully, as he had done and indeed, was still doing.


Expelled Cong leaders flay Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Expelled leaders of the local Congress unit — Mr Devinder Babla, Mr Sandeep Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh Cheema and Dr O.P. Verma — today said, “We are proud that the Congress has expelled us for raising the demands of the city people through the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, a non-political body.”

The four leaders, while addressing a press conference, said they were sorry for having requested their followers to vote for the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, during the Lok Sabha poll in 1999. The MP was playing no role in the development of the city, the four alleged, while asking Mr Bansal to clarify if he would contest the next Lok Sabha polls or not.

Mr Babla said Mr Bansal had sidelined those who had helped him defeat the BJP vice-president K.L. Sharma. The four added that they would not work for the Congress or any other party, but would continue to work for the manch.

They also levelled allegations that Mr Bansal did not raise any issue when the water and power tariffs were being hiked or when the MC was paralysed for five months and all development works came to a standstill. The local MP also did not speak up when the Chandigarh Administration was amending the building byelaws.

It was Mr Harmohan Dhawan, who formed the manch and took to the streets to fight for the welfare of citizens. “We just joined him to fight the battle for the city people”, they added.

The leaders sought the resignation of the president of the local unit of the Congress, Mr B.B. Bahl. They alleged that he was running the party while sitting in air-conditioned rooms.


Disability pension of soldiers revised
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Revision of the scales of disability pension and clipping the “arbitrary” powers of the Central Defence Accounts (CDA) office to revise the scale of disability recommended by a medical board have come as welcome news for those who have hung up their uniforms.

The scale to determine the percentage of disability has also been reduced to three categories. Disability between 20 per cent and 50 per cent will be considered 50 per cent disability for the purpose of determining disability pension, while 50 per cent to 75 per cent disability will be considered 75 per cent and one above 75 per cent will be considered 100 per cent.

Further, the long pending revision of disability pension has also come through. The disability pension, which used to be Rs 750 per month for 100 per cent disability, has now been fixed at a maximum of Rs 2,600 per month. Disability pension for war injury is double the normal disability pension.

Disabled soldiers released from service had a grievance that in many cases the scale of their disability recommended by a medical board was reduced ‘’arbitrarily’’ by the officials of the CDA (Pensions), consequently lowering their benefits and claims.

They had maintaned that officials concerned with the disbursement of pensions were based at Allahabad and did not even have a look at the disabled soldier. These officials were in no position to decide any reduction of the pension. In many cases, the scale of disability was continually lowered over the years, without the recommendation of a medical board.

According to the latest orders of the Central Government, the percentage of disability once approved by a competent medical board will be treated as final and cannot be altered by any agency.

While deciding the case of a former captain who had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court contending that his disability pension had been unilaterally reduced by the CDA against the opinion of the medical board, the Court has observed that the CDA “unilaterally had no jurisdiction to reduce the disability percentage of the petitioner and such action on its part is ultra vires and illegal”.

Further, the CDA’s powers to order a review board to re-determine the scale of disability as fixed by a medical board at the time of the soliders release has also been taken away. According to the decision, only the affected person can ask for a review medical board.

The government agencies concerned can set up a review board only if it is demanded by the person and not otherwise.

Several ex-servicemen’s associations had, over the years, demanded that once the medical category was fixed by a competent medical board, it should be treated as final and no other agency should be allowed to interfere later.

Meanwhile, the revision of disability pension, as recommended by the Fifth Pay Commission is still pending with the government. Affected ex-servicemen are still being paid at the earlier rates, which is Rs 750 per month for 100 per cent disability.

The issue of similarly revising the attendant allowance is also hanging fire. Those with 100 per cent disability are authorised to employ an attendant to take care of their needs.

Rates for 100 per cent disability

1. Officers                   Rs 2,600 p.m.

2. JCOs                       Rs 1,900 p.m.

3. Other ranks              Rs 1550 p.m.

Disability Element

1. less than 50 %         50%

2. 51 % to 75 %          75 %

3. 76 % to 100 %        100 %



Theatre workshop for children
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 29
Kidz World, a Mumbai-based organisation, is conducting a one-month theatre workshop at Rajasthan Bhavan in Sector 33-A here. The organisation’s main objective is to tap hidden talent and creativity among children. Nearly 110 kids try to beat the heat through physical exercises, imagination, concentration and relaxation with Mumbai-based actors Rajesh and Munisha Rajpal.

Besides learning acting, the children from Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar are also learning story-telling, music and dance, theatre games, improvisation, art and craft, make-up and mask-making

Rajesh Rajpal says, “It gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction to work with kids. In one month, I get charged for the next one year. Under the disguise of these carefree players are very serious thinkers.” 


Suicide bid by ‘peddler’
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, May 29
A 26-year-old Nigerian swallowed a small packet containing about 20 gm of heroin when a team of Panchkula police searched his room on the tip-off by his landlords in Sector 8, late last night. Sources in police department confirmed that Chuks Vincent swallowed the packet as the police personnel started searching him. After being overpowered by the policemen, he bent downwards, took out a packet from his pocket and swallowed it. He then became unconscious and was rushed to the General Hospital in Sector 6.

Dr V. K.Gupta, the house owner, said following the arrest of Tazudin Adesola, a Nigerian, on May 25, the police was informed about a Nigerian student staying in their house. The room was rented out to him.

After paying the rent in advance the tenant put some luggage and a bed in his room and had come to the house just twice. This made the house owners suspicious and the police was informed when he was in his room at about 9.30 pm. The police reached the spot and started interrogating the person and a search of his room was carried out.


Don’t dry clothes at night

WE, all sometimes or the other, hand our clothes for drying at night — sometimes because of rain or too harsh sunlight in summer. Nature forces us to perform this ritual.

In Feng Shui, it is said that clothes absorb excessive Yin energies at night.

The same holds good for bedsheets and blankets. The absorption of Yin energies affect the person wearing those clothes. He may feel lazy, irritated and a bit frustrated.

There is a saying which is associated with this. In earlier days it was said that hanging one’s clothes out at night attracted the energies of teh wandering spirits. These energies would then get attached to the clothes and could bring bad luck to the person wearing them.

Personally, I don’t believe in this theory. It is also bad Feng Shui to wear dirty or torn clothes or shoes. It certainly can be a fashion but, according to Feng Shui, if you are dressed like somebody who is forced to wear such clothes, sooner or later you might as well turn into one.


Address your Feng Shui queries to:

Postal address: C/o F.S. TIPS
The Tribune, Sector-29, Chandigarh-160020.



Jacob presented Osho’s magazine
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Swami Chaitanya Keerti of the Osho World Foundation today presented an issue of Osho world magazine to the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd). Another book “Osho Come Follow to You” and a set of cassettes containing discourses of Acharya Rajneesh, were also presented.


Plea to Telecom Dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Employees working in the Geological Survey of India (GSI) in Sector 33-B here have demanded that the Telecom Department should properly fill up the trenches dug up by it for laying cables in front of the GSI office.

They said the approach to the office had become difficult as vehicles of many employees were stuck in the trenches after the rain in the past two days. The accumulated rain water had made the problem acute as the ground at the entry to the office had subsided, they added.


Four kids hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Four school children escaped with minor injuries in a road accident near the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 43, when a motorcyclist rammed into an overloaded three-wheeler at around 2.30 p.m. today. The motorcyclist, 39-year-old Surinder Singh, also sustained serious injuries and was admitted to the PGI. The four children, Rohit Kumar, aged 11, Navneet, aged 10, Yaadvinder, aged 14, and Gurwinder Kaur, aged 13, were admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and discharged in the evening.


Fire damages transformer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
A transformer was damaged completely in a fire which broke out following a short circuit in Industrial Area,Phase-I today evening. The transformer is located outside Plot No 668 near the needle factory and power supply to as many as 10 factories being fed by the transformer was disrupted due to the fire.

An official of the electricity department disclosed that dry grass beneath the transformer caught fire when a jumper, connecting the transformer to the main supply line fell on it. The fire soon spread to the cable of the transformer and flared up due to the oil in the transformer, thereby damaging it completely.


Cyclist killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
A cyclist, Des Raj, was killed in a road accident late last night. According to an information available from police, the deceased was a resident of the Ambedkar Colony, Dhanas. He was reportedly hit by an unknown vehicle near the Cricket Stadium Chowk at about 11.30 p.m. last night. He was rushed to the PGI, where he was declared as brought dead. The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304- A of the IPC.

Theft cases
The police has registered three cases of theft in different parts of the city during the past 24 hours. A car (CH-01Q-9925) was stolen from parking area in Sector 17 yesterday afternoon. In another incident, a scooter ( CH- 01V- 4146), belonging to Mr Des Raj, was stolen from Sector 35 yesterday. In both the cases the police has registered an FIR under Section 379 of the IPC. The police has also arrested two teenagers — Tarun and Bikramjit Singh — yesterday and recovered a stolen motor cycle battery from them. It is alleged that the duo had stolen the battery and indicators from the motor cycle of Mr Deepinder Singh on the intervening night of May 27 and 28. Police arrested them in the wee hours of the morning yesterday from Sector 40. A case under sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 39 police station. They were today produced before the duty magistrate and later sent to a juvenile home.

A shop in Sector 10 was burgled on the intervening night of May 27 and 28. Cash worth Rs 461 was stolen from a cash box of the shop, Stop-N- Centre, after the miscreants broke open the lock.

One injured
A cyclist, Hari was injured when he fell off his scooter in Mani Majra here today. According to the information available, the injured has been admitted to the PGI.


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