Tuesday, June 5, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



10 furniture shops gutted in fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
In just over two years after goods worth crores were destroyed in Bhaderi furniture market fire, dense black smoke enveloped the area once again as 10 shops went up in flames.

Though the exact loss was yet to ascertained, fire officials believe that jute coir and foam mattresses, along with wooden frames, worth Rs 12 lakh were gutted in fire which broke out at about 6.25 pm in the New Furniture Market on the road leading to SAS Nagar.

No loss of life was reported. However, a 26-year-old shopkeeper, Mr Vinod of Bansal Furnishing House, was rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital as he reportedly suffered a heart attack after seeing the flames moving towards his shop.

Ruling out the possibility of a short circuit leading to the incident, president of the Furniture Market Association, Mr Satish Kumar, said there was no electricity connection to the market. Generators, he added, were switched on only after 7 pm.

Confirming the information, Chief Fire Officer G.S. Bajwa, when contacted, said a bidi, carelessly tossed by some labourer, could have resulted in the incident.

He added that the fire took little time to spread due to the ‘highly combustible material’ stored in tin sheds. The wooden supports also contributed to the fire which started from the last shop on the SAS Nagar side.

The flames were brought under control in less than half an hour despite the absence of streetlights in the area. The operation, however, continued for over two hours as smoke kept bellowing out of the smoldering choir, saw dust, broom sticks and hay.

The information about the fire was conveyed to the Sector 17 Fire Station at 6.56 pm. Upon receiving the message, two water browsers from Sector 17 and 32 Fire Stations, along with five fire tenders, were rushed to the spot. Two tenders from SAS Nagar were the first to reach.

Sources in the fire department said that they received the first message about the fire at 6.56 pm. The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained and the fire officials will conduct a visit to the site tomorrow morning.

Struggling to control the fire in a ‘systematic manner’, the firemen, in order to break the continuity, demolished two tin sheds with the help of wooden poles before directing the labourers to pull out the combustibles.

Two of the shops, which had caught fire and were locked, were broken open by the firemen. Directing the flow of the water towards the flames, they moved inch by inch against the thick wall of smoke.

They threw out broom sticks which were stored till the roof in a shop which was also closed and had to opened with the help of a lock-breaker. Sources in the Fire Department added that the broom sticks had aggravated the fire. The operation continued late till night with firemen struggling to douse the fire ‘which had spread to the ground’. The Station Fire Officer, Mr S.K Gosain, was also present all along.

The shops gutted in the fire include, R. J Trading Company, Aggarwal Traders, Laxmi Traders, Preet Furnitures; Bansal Furnishing House; and Bansal Brothers. In fact, names of some other shops could not be read as the boards had been destroyed in the fire. Piles of wooden furniture and other material which had been taken out on either side by the firemen and labourers was till late at night being shifted to safer places with the help of torches and candles.

Among the officials who reached the spot were the SDM ( East), Mr H.K Nagpal and the S.P, Mr Baldev Singh.

The shopkeepers were in a state of shock and were finding it hard to come to terms with the loss. ‘‘We just got foam worth Rs 2 lakh yesterday,’’ moaned Balkishan on seeing it lying damaged before him. Others who were busy trying to save all that they could lay their hands on said that the exact losses suffered by them would be calculated in the morning. The fire officials would also visit the site to ascertain the exact cause of the fire and the losses, it is learnt.

Meanwhile, there was general resentment among the furniture market shopkeepers ,who were criticising the Administration for not looking into their demands despite assurances. Mr Kulbir Singh, who owns the Fauji Dhaba said that the Administration gave compensation in case of minor fires even in jhuggis, but had no such concern for the shopkeepers in this area. Mr K.B Gupta of Bharat Steel Furniture consoled those whose shops were gutted by saying,‘‘ We are with you and will help you in reconstructing these shops.’’

On being asked if the shops were unauthorised they maintained that most of them were paying rent to the shopowners.


PEC given status of deemed university
Sector 26 polytechnic also upgraded
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Punjab Engineering College (PEC) has finally been given the status of a ‘‘deemed university’’ following a sanction given by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. A sanction to upgrade the Central Polytechnic in Sector 26 into a full-fledged engineering college has also been granted.

What upgradation means ...

* PEC will be at par with any other university.

* Better quality of education with higher level of technological inputs for students.

* The budgetary allocation from the central government will remain the same, thus no fee hikes or additional expenses for the students.

* More autonomy in functioning, with Chandigarh Administration retaining some control.

* Society to be formed for controlling the PEC in its new form.

* Service conditions for teachers and other staff will remain unchanged.

* The Central Polytechnic in Sector 26 will be upgraded into a full-fledged engineering college. 

Both sanctions were given by the MHRD last Friday, well-placed sources said, while confirming that a final notification to upgrade the PEC and the polytechnic would be issued after a team of the University Grants Commission (UGC) comes for inspection.

The upgradation means better quality of education, more autonomy for decision-making on academic, financial and planning matters. It will also make the PEC eligible for grants under various UGC schemes and projects which require focus. The PEC in its new status will also be eligible for a countrywide World Bank project which entails improving technical capabilities of various institutions.

The upgradation will come into force from session year commencing July 2002 and not this year as time to sort out minute details for the functioning of the deemed university is too short, sources said.

The upgradation will also mean that city students who so far enjoy 85 per cent reservation of seats in PEC, will now enjoy 50 per cent reservation, which is the minimum prescribed standard. Students and their parents can, however, heave a sigh of relief as there will be no fee hikes as the budgetary allocation will continue from the Central government on the same level as it is now for the PEC . ‘‘There is no question of a fee hike,’’ said a source, while allaying fears about autonomy. The PEC in its new status will not be asked to generate funds to survive. In any case, more funds will be made available under various special schemes.

According to sources, the Union MHRD Minister, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, had accorded sanction keeping in mind the facilities available in the PEC. It may be recollected that UT Administrator Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) had been taking personal interest in the issue and had met Dr Joshi last Friday.

The PEC will be the second institute in the region to get the status. The other one is the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala.

The Administration had made out a case that the issue of upgrading the PEC to a national-level one had been pending for the past 40 years. In January, the MHRD had rejected the idea to upgrade the PEC into an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

In case of upgradation of polytechnic into an engineering college, the Chandigarh Administration has said that the institute is spread over 34 acres and was set up in 1959 and had all facilities to handle the work of an engineering college.

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will also be involved in the upgradation. The Administration will build another polytechnic to fill in the gap when the upgradation is effected.


2 houses burgled near police post in Sector 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Two houses were burgled by unknown miscreants last night in Sector 22. Interestingly, these houses are in the vicinity of the area’s police post.

Two houses of government employees were burgled, while an attempt was made at a third house. Total value of the stolen goods from one of the two houses could not be ascertained, as the residents were away. This house belonged to Mr Chanchal Goswami.

The second burgled house belonged to the Deputy Director, Public Relations, Punjab, Mr G.S. Sodhi. He said that a few household articles had been stolen from his house. Mr Sodhi also said that this was the second time in three months that his house had been burgled, inspite of the fact that the police post was just a stone’s throw away.


Boys outshine girls in PU CET
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Most of the toppers of the Common Entrance Test (CET), 2001, conducted by Panjab University for admission to various medical and non-medical streams of graduation in Chandigarh will not be joining the colleges in the city as they have already been selected in more coveted colleges of the country.

The CET results were declared at PU here today. This time it is the boys who have taken the lead over the girls in getting the top positions.

The topper in the medical category is Rohit Singla, a resident of Panchkula and student of DAV College, Sector 10. Rohit says that he is thrilled with his position and will now not be appearing for the AFMC, Pune, interview for which he was selected. His main inspiration is his elder brother who is doing his MBBS from AIIMS, New Delhi, he adds. Rohit is still waiting for his performance in the All-India CBSE examinations and AIIMS test for admission.

The non-medical category topper who is also from DAV College, Sector 10, is Binny Bansal. He had also attained 28th position in the IIT-JEE examinations this year. Binny has decided to join computers in IIT and attributes his success to his hard work and the constant support of his parents. He had got 83 per cent marks in his class XII, which are much lower than many others. “We are focussing on the competitive examinations and not so much on the CBSE examinations. So it really does’nt matter what the score is,” he added.

Kapil Kansal, topper of the architecture group is a resident of Bathinda. He is not happy with his achievement and feels that he should have done better. Kapil is still unaware of his non-medical rank in CET but is already comfortably placed at 962 position in the IIT-JEE. Kapil will, however, will join Roorkee where he has been placed at 161.

Manik Lather, a resident of Karnal, is second in the non-medical group and very thrilled at his performance.

Kanchan Lall, a resident of Panchkula, is third in the architecture group. A student of the GMSSS, Sector 35, Kanchan is the daughter of a doctor practising in Sector 47 and has achieved 394th position in the non-medical category. She is keen in getting into one of the engineering branches but is thrilled to be among the toppers in the architecture group. She attributes her success to her parents and hardwork though she says she never had a fixed routine.

Nikhil Chawla is second in the medical category . Son of a banker from Ludhiana, Nikhil has also been selected in the written examination of AFMC, Pune, and now waiting for his performance for admission to AIIMS, New Delhi.

Aashish Gupta, third in the medical category is a resident of Sector 15 of the city and student of the GMSSS, Sector 33. He had scored 88 per cent marks in the class XII. He will be joining the medical college in the city.

Surinder Pal Singh has topped the maths stream of the test while Priyanka and Jaspreet are second and third respectively.

Preet Paul Singh, Rupinder Jit Kaur, Animesh, Sachin Gupta, Sidhharth Kathpalia, Mohit Dogra and Atul Malhotra have been placed 4th to 10th respectively in the medical category. Abhishek Nagar, Sunny Dhall, Karan Dhundia, Neelam Goyal, Adish Singla, Amritpal Singh and Nitin Dhawan are the 4th to 10th position holders in the non-medical category. Gurinder Singh has stood 11th in the non-medical category and is a student of a local academy here in the city.

Jatin Kumar, Sarvnipun, Apurva, Nidhi, Neha, Smriti and Deepika have been placed at the 4th to 10th positions in the architecture group. Richa Tuli, Manjeet Singh, Harleen Kaur, Udit Sawhney, Ankur Bhatti, Mani Bansal and Simerpreet have been placed at the 4th to 10th positions in the maths category.

Manpreet Singh, a student of GMSSS, Sector 16, is 66th in the non-medical group, while Mohit Handa is 143rd in the non-medical group.

In what was a extremely mismanaged show of results by the university, the list of toppers was unavailable till late afternoon and that too after mediapersons made desperate efforts to convince the authorities that a list of toppers be made.


The risk of possessing illegal weapons
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Illegal firearms, hidden in farmhouses across Punjab by militants during the militancy days later discovered by miscreant and sold off to city residents, have become a major cause of concern for the Chandigarh police.

The realisation that these weapons, purchased cheap for “personal safety”, could be used in a fit of rage has set senior police officials thinking. The police has now decided to launch a special order to recover these weapons — safely tucked away by a number of people here.

Police sources inform that a large number of firearms — mainly .12-bore pistols, revolvers as well as country-made pistols— that were smuggled into the country from across the border during the early years of the past decade when terrorism was showing a declining trend, were allegedly hidden in farmhouses in the interior parts of Punjab.

It is learnt that the fear of being slain at the hands of the police forced a large number of militants in the state to hide the caches of weapons that they received from across the border for their clandestine operations. Sources inform that these weapons still lie hidden in areas in and around Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran, Moga, Faridkot and Ferozepur.

While the police had managed to recover a large number of these caches of arms and ammunition, hundreds of these weapons are reportedly in possession of arms dealers . Highly placed sources in the police say that a number of these caches of weapons were later discovered by certain miscreants. These people in connivance with certain local arms dealers, found a convenient way of disposing of these weapons by selling these at cheap rates to anyone willing to pay for their safety.

Since the aftershocks of the terrorist movement in Punjab were felt in the city till as late as 1999 when a bomb blast had rocked Sector 34, the fear psychosis was prevalent amongst the city residents. With legal possession of firearms being a cumbersome process requiring both time and energy, a number of residents reportedly bought firearms at throwaway prices from these arms dealers.

Though militancy is long over, not many city residents reportedly came forward to deposit their weapons in the police malkhanas despite reminders by the police. The police also contend that in case an unlicensed weapon is used in a crime, it would be very difficult to track down the owners.

Sources inform that an ever increasing crime situation in the city has also forced a number of these city residents not to deposit their weapons.

It is not just the illegal weapons that are a cause of concern for the police. During the recent months, the increase in the crime rate here has also forced a number of residents to apply for arms licences. Though the police claims to be using its discretion while issuing licences, a number of incidents have been reported here where residents have fired shots in a fit of rage or accidentally, claiming life and causing injuries. In November, 2000, a youth had committed suicide in Sector 23 by shooting himself with his father’s revolver. In four other incidents since then four persons have been injured in separate cases of accidental firing.

When contacted, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, said that they had been time and again issuing reminders to the people to deposit their unlicensed weapons. “In case anyone is found to be in possession of illegal firearms, irrespective of his source of procurement, immediate action is taken against the accused,” he said.

Mr Jain also reiterated that the police was using its discretion while giving clearance for issuing of arms licences.


SAS Nagar safe haven for old autos
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 4
The town is fast becoming a dumping yard for old autorickshaws as there is no check by the state transport authorities. Over 15-year-old autos, registered in Ludhiana and other cities of Punjab are being run by pushing the Motor Vehicle Rules under the carpet.

A stepped-up drive by the Chandigarh Administration to challan the autorickshaws without calibrated fare metres has led to further ‘migration’ of the Chandigarh registered autos to the town. By a rough estimates, over 200 autos are plying on the roads.

Investigations revealed that a majority of the autos with ‘refitted’ smoke-billowing diesel engines were registered as having petrol engines and the modifications were illegal. The registration documents of some of the autos did not mention the nature of the engine. ‘‘ We know that the authorities will not check the autos for calibrated metres and for carrying more than three passengers, as specified in Chandigarh, we do not worry about the Motor Vehicle Rules’’, said an autorickshaw driver, who had recently purchased his second-hand auto from Ludhiana for Rs 27,000.

An official of the traffic police said most of the autos carried fake pollution check certificates. When a team of the traffic police was checking autos for registration documents, this correspondent stood by its side to see the irregularities committed by the auto drivers. Most of the drivers said they were running the vehicles on a rent.

A driver of an auto, registered in 1990 in Ludhiana, produced a permit issued by the Ludhiana Transport Department, which will expire in November this year. Enquires revealed that an auto could be used to carry passenger in an area specifically for which the permit had been issued. A permit for five years was issued for Rs 850 after the vehicles was inspected by the Motor Vehicle Inspector (MVI) concerned.

An official of the traffic wing said in absence of the calibrated metres, the commuters were at the mercy of the auto rickshaw drivers. So far no fares had been fixed by the local transport authorities. Apart from the transport department, the local civic body was also losing revenue as the autos were using parking lots at unauthorised stands at different places in the town.


Restricted holiday
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Chandigarh Administration has declared Tuesday as a restricted holiday in its offices and institutions on account of Id-ul-Milad, the birthday of Prophet Mohammed .


Chhabeel water may land people in hospital
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Religious sentiments apart, a glass of sweet lassi or milk consumed at a roadside chhabeel during this season could land you in a life-threatening situation.

The PGI, the GMCH, Sector 32, and General Hospital, Sector 16, are flooded with diarrhoea cases, out of which the maximum are due to contaminated water and ice. According to doctors, in India, diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of childhood deaths. And more children die of diarrhoea than all other diseases put together, says a child specialist.

And as far as chhabeels during this season are concerned, it is the unhygienic way of handling the tumblers along with a combination of contaminated water and ice that causes health problems.

Most of these chhabeels are supplied with water by private tankers at Rs 150 to Rs 300. Doctors say that most of the time water is taken from sources other than Municipal Corporation supply. The water is stored in unhygienic conditions, its quality not assured and does not even meet the basic requirement of chlorination. “Water from the tankers should be ideally filtered and boiled before use to make it fit for drinking,” explains a doctor.

The ice used for cooling also does not meet the required standards and is not fit for human consumption and is mostly for cooling purposes. There exists a strict code, subject to the Factories Act, 1948, and the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, for hygienic conditions for manufacture and handling of ice for human consumption, which more often than not are rarely followed.

Even during the course of its manufacture, transport, storage, handling and distribution, ice is open to contamination from a variety of sources, including the water freezing equipment, containers and the persons engaged in its manufacture.

Moreover, ice is sold to the consumers through a variety of channels. Due to faulty handling, it may get contaminated by organic matter on surface. And it is absolutely necessary to wash the ice thoroughly in clean running water before consumption.

Maintaining the hygiene at the roadside is virtually impossible during and ideally disposable glasses should be used. In other case, the tumblers need to be dipped in a potassium permanganate solution for at least three to four minutes.


BSP dharna starts; to continue till June 30
Tribune News Service

BSP supremo Kanshi Ram addresses a rally at Matka Chowk in Chandigarh on Monday.
BSP supremo Kanshi Ram addresses a rally at Matka Chowk in Chandigarh on Monday. — Photo Pankaj Sharma

Chandigarh, June 4
With a view to pressurise the Punjab Government to end the bonded labour system in Punjab, the Bahaujan Samaj Party (BSP) today started a dharna near the Matka Chowk here.

Announcing the agitational schedule while addressing a rally here, the BSP supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, said 100 cyclists from all 13 constituencies of Punjab would join the dharna in two phases, which will continue till June 30.

Accusing the successive Congress governments and the Parkash Singh Badal government of making false promises to the Dalits to get their votes, Mr Kanshi Ram regretted that the Dalits had not been transformed into a ‘bahujan samaj’ despite efforts by the BSP in the past 15 years. Power was always a product of the struggle and the ‘bahujan samaj’ must fight to the finish to achieve the political power which alone could uplift them socially and economically, he asserted.

He said in a short time the party would be able to emerge as a major player in several states like it had emerged in UP. The party base was being strengthened in several states so that the governments in these states were formed with support from the BSP.

Coming down heavily on the Badal government for ignoring the plight of the weaker sections of society, he expressed the hope that the BSP would form a government after Assembly elections in Punjab. However, it would not allow any party to form the government in the state if majority eluded the BSP, he said without elaborating.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion were Mr Mohan Singh Phallianwala, president of the Punjab unit of the party and Mr Man Singh Manherra, president of the Ropar district unit of the party.


Sector scan
Chandigarh’s ‘legal’ sector
Tribune News Service

One of the smallest sectors of the city — Sector 4 — can easily be described as the “legal sector”. This sector houses several eminent personalities from different walks of the life, but most of them are from the legal profession. It boasts of better civic amenities than the other sectors, but lacks the hustle and bustle, usually associated with the southern sectors.

Prominent citizens of the sector include the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, several judges of the High Court, the Director-General of Police, Punjab, the Director of the PGI and a former Chief Minister of Punjab.

But what gives this sector a “legal look” is the concentration of several senior lawyers. Close proximity to the High Court was the main reason why lawyers settled in the sector during the early years of its formation.

The sprawling sector is a driver’s delight as the roads have only been recarpeted recently. Since the roads do not have to bear a heavy load of traffic, these are in much better condition than roads in other sectors. Yet these are recarpeted after a couple of years, according to a resident.

As the vehicular movement is not much, the sector is virtually pollution-free. Large-scale greenery only adds to the fresh air, thus making the sector a better place to live in.

Water and power supply and sanitation present no problem in this sector. However, the condition of the parks is not as good. In fact, the sprawling lawns inside bungalows present a contrast to the parks maintained by the MCC. Those maintained by the MCC do not have much to boast about.

Another negative feature of the sector is pitching of tents by the security personnel, which gives the area a shabby look. Though militancy in Punjab is a thing of the past and security threat to the VIPs had become minimal, the posting of a large number of security personnel is a debatable point. On the positive side, the sector has access to major tourists and recreational sites. The world-famous Rock Garden lies on the one side of the sector.

The Chandigarh Club, the Sukhna Lake and the Rose Garden are not far-off. These spots make the area an ideal place for the strollers. However, the sector does not have a market putting the residents to difficulty at time. But a petrol station in the sector is a public utility which its neighbouring sectors do not have.


Rainwater floods shops
Nishikant Dwivedi

Nayagaon (Kharar), June 4
For the second time in less than 48 hours, rainwater flooded over 50 shops along the main road of the village this morning. The plinth level of the shops had become low after the Building and Road (B&R) branch of the Punjab Public Works Department relaid the road. There is no storm water drainage in the area.

The recent showers has caused panic among the shopkeepers as they fear the coming monsoon will only aggravate their problems. In the May 22 edition of Chandigarh Tribune, the apprehension of the shopkeepers was highlighted. The shopkeepers had to spend hours in draining off the water.

The shopkeepers and their family members were seen flushing out the water with the help of buckets and mugs. In some of the shops, the rainwater had collected up to about 1-foot. The shopkeepers complained that they suffered a huge loss because the water damaged goods. On Saturday evening also rain had flooded their shops.

Not only the shopkeepers but the customers and commuters also faced inconvenience because of water along the roadside. It is worth mentioning here that the road from the Nayagaon barrier to Khuda Ali Sher village is on a higher level than the village’s main road.

Some of the shopkeepers here had started raising the plinth level of their shops but the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) sent them notices for raising unauthorised constructions. The level of the road had been raised by about 2 feet making over 100 shops on the either side of the road vulnerable to flooding.

A parallel drainage system was planned along the road but the B and R abandoned the work midway.

Officials of the B and R, however, maintain that a drain system will be built along the road and the shopkeepers should not panic. The officials claim that since there is no place to empty the drains, the work was temporarily stopped.

Mr Manjeet Singh Kamboj, President of the Residents and Shopkeepers Joint Action Committee, blamed the B and R officials for the mess. He said the drain system should have been constructed side by side. A shopkeeper, in whose shop about 1-foot deep water had collected, said: “On Saturday evening it took me about three hours to drain out the water and today again it took me the same time.”


Campaign against use of polythene bags
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
With a view to discourage the use of non-biodegradable polythene bags and encourage plantation of more and more saplings in the city, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh will celebrate World Environment Day tomorrow in a befitting manner.

The campaign against the use of plastic carry bags and create awareness against their harmful effects, will be started by Mayor, Raj Kumar Goyal, from Sector 17 piazza at 11.00 a.m. tomorrow. Subsequently, Mr Goyal will also inaugurate the awareness drive against the plastic bags at 11.30 a.m. in Sector 26 Market Committee office.

Later in the day, the Mayor, by planting saplings, will also start a sapling plantation drive at 12.00 noon from Shivalik Enclave which would be further extended to Mauli Jagran, Sectors 22, 23, 40 and 44 and Dhanas Colony. In the drive the councillors will also initiate plantation drive in their respective areas.

For plantation, the corporation would provide hardy, sustainable and suitable saplings of medicinal values such as neem and bahera.

June 5 of every year is observed as the World Environment Day. This day is marked by organising various activities that focus on a particular theme given by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) every year. The UNEP’s theme for this year is “Connect with the world wide web of life.” Thus the objective is to connect people and motivate them to express their environmental way of living and thinking through the medium of sound and culture.

It has been recognised all over the world that the global life support system is under severe pressure and the need of the hour is conservation and sustainable use of all the resources for not only long-term socio-economic benefits but also for the very survival of mankind.

Keeping in view the immense pressure on the environment, the corporation is organising several programmes to highlight preventive measures for control of land based resources from pollution ecological restoration of degraded habitats, afforestation and regeneration of degraded lands in general and sustainable use and conservation of earth resources in particular.


Move to make students aware of environment
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 4
In a bid to make the schools “greener” and students “more aware about the environment”, the UT Education Department is launching “Grow more trees” movement in the city.

According to a circular issued by the Education Secretary to the heads of all schools, 10 schools in rural and slum areas have been identified for planting 200 saplings of medicinal trees in each school.

The exercise will be carried out in collaboration with the Forest Department before the onset of monsoons. For the purpose, the Education Department is also considering the proposal of setting up eco-clubs in the school. After plantation work is over, respective eco-club in each school will ensure proper care of the saplings.

Sources in the Education Department said teachers and students would be encouraged to adopt plants through the various houses in the schools so as to ensure healthy growth.

They added that the students in all the government schools were being sensitized for over a year now. The students were being informed during the morning assembly that protection and improvement of the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife was their fundamental duty.

Sources added that functions would also be organised in schools during “Van Mahotsav week”. Local dignitaries will be a part of these functions. The functions will include speaking out on conservation of trees, water and soil. Stress will be laid on greening of the area.

The schools are Government High School, Mauli Colony, Government Primary School, Maloya Colony, Government Model Middle School, Mani Majra, Government Middle School, Karsan, Government Model High School, Badheri, Government Girls High School, Sector 25, Government Middle School, Sector 26, Government High School, Sector 26, Government Primary School, Indira Colony, Mani Majra and Government Primary School, Sector 26.


166 challaned for overspeeding
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The traffic police has launched a special drive to check overspeeding of vehicles on the city roads.

On the second day of this drive, wherein police personnel in plain clothes were deployed at various lightpoints to keep track of not only the overspeeding vehicles but also the other traffic violators.

It is learnt that 166 vehicles were challaned in different parts of the city. Of these, 93 drivers were challaned for overspeeding.


Panchkula to spend Rs 50.55 lakh on flood control
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, June 4
The district administration will spend Rs 50.55 lakh on different flood control measures to prevent soil erosion in various flood-prone areas in the district. To protect the abadi and agriculture land in different villages, the administration has come up with 14 flood-control steps.

Ms Jyoti Arora, Deputy Commissioner, said that a number of seasonal rivulets flow through the district and wash away agriculture and other land every year. These seasonal rivulets are the tributaries of the Ghaggar, the Tangri, the Kaushalya and the Omla, and cause great soil erosion.

For the protection of the agriculture land in villages, including Charaniyan, Kiratpur Payarewala, Barona, Madanwala, Rajipur, Bhud, Batour, Narainpur, Kona Shahpur, Nayanagar, Girddan, Kidarpur and Natwal, 14 measures of flood control were under way, said Ms Arora.

After her visit to the flood-prone areas, the DC said that the district administration had identified flood sensitive villages — Naya Naagar, Naggal, Lehrendi, Johluwal, Maranwala, Rajipur and Rampur Suri — in Kalka tehsil; Jallaha, Talwanwali, Kazampur, Taprian, Bhud, Narainpur, Kheri, Barwala, Tibbi Majra, Parwala, Roorkee and Shampur in Raipur Rani subtehsil; Dhandarru, Bataru, Sultanpur, Jalauli and Natwal in Barwala subtehsil and Chowki, Rajiv Colony, Indira Colony, Oustees Colony, Nada and Khetparali in Panchkula tehsil.

She said that separate control rooms had been set up at the block, tehsil, subdivision and district level in case of floods during the ensuing monsoon. A separate police control room would also be set up at the office of Superintendent of Police, Panchkula.

Besides this, control rooms of the revenue and Development and Drainage Departments would be set up at different key points. For Tangri river, the key point would be at Barwala-Bataur bridge. Walkie-talkie sets will also be provided by the Drainage Department, she added.

She further said that the wireless network of the Forest Department would also be used for passing information regarding rainfall in the Morni Hills. The Divisional Forest Officer, Morni, at Pinjore will depute forest officials of Morni block to inform about landsliding or other destruction caused by natural calamities to the public.


Lok Adalat held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 4
Mr Justice N.K Sodhi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Executive Chairman of the UT Legal Services Authority held a special Lok Adalat here.

Mr Justice Sodhi said that system of the Lok Adalats had came to stay. It provided convenient, inexpensive and litigant-friendly alternative forum for redressal of disputes. Initially people had started restoring to this forum, without knowing its merits, more as a reaction and disenchantment with the regular court system full of delays and procedural hassles. But now more and more people wanted to avail of this forum for its benefits of quick and hassles-free rendition of justice.

He said that in earlier Lok Adalats primarily focussed on accidental claims, matrimonial matters, landlord-tenants disputes.

The cases decided in Lok Adalat entails refund of court fee, there was quick implementation of settlements.

The awards of Lok Adalats were beyond challenge, there was no appeal. The litigation ends finally. Even cases decided at pre-litigative stage, could not be taken to courts later by the parties. There were no technicalities of procedure, no formal petition, no stamp duty, no court fee, he added.

Applications on simple paper were entertainable for pre-litigative matters. The aggrieved persons could file such applications all by themselves, without any help of representatives or attorneys. Even illiterate, rustic and ignorant people having some litigative cause could approach the UT State Legal Services Authority at pre-litigative stage.

In addition to providing of quick settlement of pending matters in permanent Lok Adalats and by holding special large scale Lok Adalats, Mr Justice Sodhi added that the State Legal Services Authority also provided legal assistance to the needy and neglected lot and to make the justice delivery system readily accessible to them equally, irrespective of their caste, creed, sex, religion and despite existence of their social disabilities and economic disadvantaged position.

He added that the approach was to socialise the legal system, to make it more viable for the people at large by providing them legal services of all types envisaged in the legal services authority Act.


Id message from Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today called upon the people to follow the path of truth, equality and kindness shown by Prophet Mohammad.

Congratulating the people on the eve of Milad-ul-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, the Governor said that His message of universal brotherhood and love was more relevant now than ever before.


Mechanic dies of heart attack
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 4
A motor mechanic of the Sector 28 motor market died after he suffered a heart attack near Tribune Chowk this afternoon. According to information, Tika Ram (32) was driving a scooter at the time of attack. His body has been sent to the General Hospital, Sector 16 for a post-mortem.


Villagers’ day at shramdan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Chairman of the Zila Parishad and several Sarpanches of UT villages participated in the shramdan at the Regulator-end of the Sukhna Lake here this morning.

The Sarpanches, who participated in the shramdan, included Mr Bhag Singh (Dadu Majra), Mr Bhupinder Singh (Sarangpur), Mr Manmohan Singh (Lahora), Mr Kuldeep Singh (Kajheri), Mr Dyal Singh (Dhanas) and Ms Surjit Kaur (Maloya).

Till date, 15.5 lakh cubic feet of silt has been removed from the lake bed.


Have a solid door to your home

Feng Shui recommends solid doors for one’s home. The main door should be solid and made of wood. According to Feng Shui, the front entrance is where Chi first enters and it is considered the “mouth” of the home. If the main door has to made auspicious, it should be made of solid wood.

Glass doors are not good for main doors. In olden days, all the main doors of Chinese family mansions would not only be made of solid wood but also look big, strong and imposing.

The door is said to be the mouth of the home and therefore needs to be strong and secure. Two doors directly facing each other cause Chi to move in a straight line and create “killing energy”. Another important point to keep in mind is that the door should open inward and never outward. This is because luck should flow in and not out.

According to my personal experience the ideal situation is when a main door opens in an open space, both inside and outside one’s home. Harshna

Address your Feng Shui queries to:
E-mail: fengshui@tribuneindia.com

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



Taxi driver drugged, car taken away
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Two persons reportedly drugged a taxi operator in the PGI complex and fled away with his car.

According to an FIR registered at the Sector 11 police station under Sections 328 and 379 of the IPC, the taxi driver, Mr Ishwar Singh, has alleged that his car (HR-06G-6116) was stolen by the police.

He has alleged that two unidentified persons had hired his car from Panipat on the pretext of bringing a patient to the PGI on May 29. The accused allegedly gave him a drink mixed with intoxicated stuff and after he became unconscious, they stole the car from the parking lot in the hospital.

Theft cases: Two cases of theft were registered from different parts of the city during the past 24 hours.

While a stereo was stolen from a car (CH-03C-5706) parked in the Sector 37 market on June 2, another stereo was stolen from a car (DL-1CC-7596) parked outside a house in Sector 38-West.

In both cases the police has registered an FIR under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Burglary: The Sector 21 house of Mr Sunil Arora was burgled between June 2 and 3 when the residents were out of station. Though the value of the stolen goods could not be ascertained, the police has registered a case under section 457 and 380 of the IPC.

Liquor smuggling: The Sector 39 police has arrested Gurmel Singh, Jummi Devi and Bajinder and seized 100 pouches of whisky from their possession.


New tax on cable operators in the offing
Tribune News Service

To generate revenue, the SAS Nagar Municipal Council is seriously contemplating to charge a certain amount of monthly fee from cable operators in the town. The fee structure of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (CMC) was being studied before the issue was put for approval before the house.

Officials of the civic body said it had been observed that local cable operators were using the streetlight poles to carry their transmission cables. In the town there were three major cable operators who had further sublet the facility.

Another four Chandigarh-based cable operators, including one owned by a national-level satellite channel, were transmitting their programmes by subletting the lines. Around 15,000 subscribers were spread throughout the town.

Enquires reveal that a monthly fee of Rs 1,000 per month per sector was being charged from cable operators in Chandigarh. The Chandigarh civic body is reported to have decided to impose monthly fee on multi-system operators (MSOs) who give signals to 2 to 3 small time cable operators.

Once the local civic body fixed the fee, the cable operators would be able to erect poles to carry transmission cables in a legal manner. Recently the local civic body had issued notices to the cable operators to remove the overhead wires from streetlight poles being maintained by it.


Traders object to Bhabhat’s merger in nagar panchayat
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, June 3
The Bhabhat Commercial Association has objected to the proposal of the Department of Local Government, Punjab, to include the village into the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat.

In a representation to the Principal Secretary of the Local Government, the association alleged today that the government has planed to merge the village with the Nagar Panchayat with the intention of generating revenue for the civic body.

The association also said that as the village shared its boundaries with the Chandigarh Air Force Station, as per rules, there should not be any kind of construction within 900 metres from the station.

As various multinational companies have stored their goods in Bhabhat-based godowns paying octroi on the goods to the civic body, if the Government merges the village with the civic body, the companies will have to shift the godowns to other places. This will cause a revenue loss to the Government as well as to the civic body.

After the shifting of the godowns from the area, a number of young people, who were directly or indirectly earning their livelihood from the godowns, will lose their employment.

The government had issued a notification on May 3 seeking objections from the inhabitants and the affected parties in writing (addressed to the Principal Secretary to the Government of Punjab, a Department of Local Government, within 30 days from the publication of the notification).

The proposed notification states that the Governor was willing to include Bhabhat, which at present falls within the jurisdiction of SAS Nagar tehsil of Ropar district, within the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat limits.

Keeping in view the density of the population, revenue generation for the local administration, the percentage of employment in non-agricultural activities, the economic importance and the overall development of the area in a planned manner, the government has planned to keep the village within the limits of the civic body.

It may be recalled that the Bhabhat panchayat was excluded from the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, when the civic body was formed in 1999, seeking merger with other seven villages — Zirakpur, Lohgarh, Himmatgarh, Bishanpura, Bishangarh, Bartana and Dhakauli — into the civic body.

The Bhabhat panchayat had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court saying that the village had a population of over 10,000 and shared major facilities with other villages which were merged to constitute the Nagar Panchayat.

Later, the notification for the constitution of the Nagar Panchayat was quashed by the High Court. The Punjab government then reissued a notification for the constitution of the civic body in June last year and the civic body restarted functioning.


Licences mandatory for traders
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, June 4
The newly formed Panchkula Municipal Council has made it mandatory for all traders and business professionals functioning within the limits of the civic body to get licences by depositing professional tax and licence fee. Apart from this, the rickshaw-owners and rickshaw-pullers operating from the township have also been asked to get licence from the Municipal Council.

Mr O.P. Sihag, Executive Officer, said that professionals who were running industries, factories, petrol pumps, theatres, workshops, show-rooms, tent houses, dhabas, hotels, marriage palaces, nursing homes, clinics, laboratories, chemist shops, gas agencies, vehicle agencies, property dealers, private schools, builders, contractors, coaching centres, general stores and other traders, have been asked to deposit professional tax and license fee in the office of the Panchkula Municipal council under the Haryana Municipal Council Act 1973.

Under Section 50 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 traders dealing in eatables and milk products such as milk, ice cream, ice, fruit, vegetables and other items have been asked to get licence from the civic body after depositing licence fee till June 30.

Those who don’t deposit the fee by the due date would be penalised under the Act, Mr Sihag warned. 

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