Sunday, July 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Major parts of city inundated with rain water
Drainage Dept efficiency goes for a six; roads become rivulets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The hype about the efficiency of the city’s underground drainage system was washed away as the monsoon unleashed its fury on the city and its vicinity yet again, inundating virtually the entire city. Roads turned into rivulets and several openspaces and parking lots appeared to be small lakes, as normal life was thrown out of gear.

In fact, an inspection note on the city’s drainage system stated that the problem of flooding is the result of old drainage points being covered up while widening or repairing of roads and parking lots. “The issue of provision of storm water drains needs to be clinched immediately,” the note states.

Also curb channels on the sides of the roads need to be cleaned so that water can flow without hinderance. “The drains also need to be cleaned. Some dressing of the road berm is also required,” the note adds. Silt and malba dumped around the pavements or open spaces also flows on to the gullies and gutters, blocking them.

While the day began by being partly cloudy, the skies became heavily overcast during mid-morning, resulting in a torrential downpour which lasted about two hours. Light showers and drizzle continued till early evening.

As much as 75 mm rain was experienced in the city today. According to the local meteorological office, the maximum temperature recorded today was 32.4 degrees Celsius, which is about three degrees below normal.

The heavy rain, which drastically reduced visibility, affected local as well as long-distance traffic, besides damaging some structures and property. Though the rain caused apparent inconvenience to many residents, it also brought a respite from the sultry summer by bringing down humidity levels.

Rain water entered the basement of Sector 19 Palika Bazar, causing hardship to the shopkeepers. Residents of Mauli Jagran, Ram Darbar, Madrasi Colony and Bapu Dham were among the worst hit, with residents having to wade through knee-deep water. Basements in the Motor Market, Mani Majra were also flooded. Several colonies and slums have cropped up in low-lying areas and as a result water flows into these pockets from the surrounding areas.

According to reports, three fire tenders were despatched to Mauli Jagran, Bapu Dham and Palika Bazar to pump out water.

Large stretches of Dakshin Marg and Madhya Marg also saw water accumulating, particularly in the vicinity of roundabouts. Even roads within a large number of sectors, particularly in the city’s southern parts, were inundated, as well open spaces and other low-lying areas. Water also accumulated in parking areas adjoining markets and shopping centres, particularly the Sector 34 city sub-centre.

Residents also complained that several recently constructed speed-breakers in various parts of the city restricted the flow of rain water. Newly constructed slip roads told a sorry tale about the government departments’ engineering skills. Trenches dug by the Telephone Department to lay cables became traps as wheels of vehicles passing over them got bogged down in the in the softened mud covering them.

Water flooding the streets also posed a traffic hazard. Vehicles, including rickshaws and cyclists, preferred to stick to the middle of undivided roads where the water was less than at the edges, adding to the woes of the drivers. Several roundabouts, including The Tribune roundabout, Survey of India chowk, Sector 32 Hospital chowk, Housing Board chowk, Bus Stand chowk and the All-India Radio chowk, Sector 34, witnessed traffic jams due to heavy water accumulation.

Water also collected near the Panjab University’s Gate No.1, Student’s Centre and the Law Department, besides the road leading to the Sarojini and Kasturba Halls.

A large number of vehicle owners were seen wading through the flooded streets, dragging two-wheelers which refused to start. Roadside mechanics did roaring business. Hawkers, rickshaw-pullers and cyclists went off the road, while bus shelters and market corridors were crowded with commuters seeking shelters from the pouring rain.

Water and slush collected around slums and several unauthorised colonies which have sprung up around the city. The straw and tarpaulin roofs of a number of jhuggies were reported to have carved in, while some mud tenements were washed away.


The ground beneath this high-voltage-transformer tower in Sector 10, Panchkula, gives way after the Saturday rain softened it.
The ground beneath this high-voltage-transformer tower in Sector 10, Panchkula, gives way after the Saturday rain softened it. — Photo Manoj Mahajan

Our Correspondent adds Lightening stuck at two electricity transformers in the Industrial area Phase II which hampered work in various industrial units for over three hours.

Apart from this, winds and heavy rain tilted an electricity transformer in Sector 10 at about 11 am following which there was no water and electricity in the sector for over five hours.

The loose high voltage cables kept on threatening the residents and the roads users for over two hours until the Electricity Department was informed.

A crane was pressed in to service to re-install the transformer but it too got struck. The employees of the department took over one and a half hours to take it out.

Residents of the sector alleged they had been informing the department about tilting of the transformer for the past four days but to no avail.

Water also destroyed the electric insulators in different electricity cables which forced the residents of Sector 19 to face long power cuts.

SAS Nagar

Children wade through a flooded street of Phase V, SAS Nagar, after a heavy rain on Saturday.
Children wade through a flooded street of Phase V, SAS Nagar, after a heavy rain on Saturday. — Photo Parvesh Chauhan

Our Correspondent adds: Heavy rain today led to flooding in several areas here resulting in inconvenience to residents.

Water entered a number of HL quarters and Kamla Market in Phase-I besides in Phases II, IV and V.

The fire brigade received calls from various areas, including Pahse-I, and spent hours rendering assistance to the affected. A large number of vehicles were stranded on roads.

Mr M.S. Batra, a resident of Phase V, said water had entered his house, creating problems for the family. He complained angrily that he had been facing this problem for the past many years. Every year complaints in this regard were made to the Municipal Council but to no avail. Sewers were also overflowing and the stinking water had entered the house making matters worse.

Mr S.S. Bedi, another resident of Pahse V, said water had entered his house too. He said that during the rainy season the family felt like selling off the house and going elsewhere. He said the pocket in which their house was located was a low-lying area and every year they had to face the same problem, which had become acute ever since the Municipal Council constructed a footpath around the park in front of their house.

Mr .S. Sidhu, ADFO, said there was short-circuting on an electric pole in Mohali village leading to a fire, which was put out by fire brigade personnel.

Mrs Manmohan Kaur, municipal councillor, said the Public Health Department had not cleaned all road gullies in Phases II and IV. In many cases these gullies had not been cleaned properly. All this had led to flooding in various pockets in these areas.


Weather plays spoilsport at mango mela
Tribune News Service

The Haryana Agriculture Minister, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, appreciates a variety of mango at a stall in Yadavindra Gardens, Pinjore, on the occasion of mango mela which began on Saturday.
The Haryana Agriculture Minister, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, appreciates a variety of mango at a stall in Yadavindra Gardens, Pinjore, on the occasion of mango mela which began on Saturday. 
— Photo Madan Mehra

Panchkula, July 7
Inclement weather played spoilsport at the two-day mango mela which was scheduled to begin amid much fanfare and music, here today. In contrast, it turned out to be a low key affair with few wanting to feast their eyes on the mangoes on a wet, sultry day.

With no crowds to drool over the juiciest varieties of mango adorning the tables, the show failed to take off in the manner it was organised, proving to be a disappointment for those who had put their heart and soul into its planning.

Late evening, however, the public trickled in but the slush proved to be a dampener as they went around the tables laid out with numerous varieties of mangoes, each better than the other.

Mango growers from all over the region participated in the mango festival, by far the most elaborate mango display affair, with the fruit coming in from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and around.

As many as 2,987 entries were received in the mango fruit contest, various varieties on display being alphanso, bombay green, ramkela, totapari, dusheri among many others. Also, 168 entries were received for home-made and processed mango products while 513 varieties of mango fruit was on display.

Artistes presented a variety of colourful items to entertain the crowds but had little work on hand. However, the North Zone Cultural Centre and the West Zone Cultural Centre gave a melodious presentation as dancers of Kalbalia (Udaipur) and the singers of Magniyar (Rajasthan) entertained the crowd. Bhangra of Punjab and ghoomer of Haryana were the other highlights of the programme.

The fest was inaugurated by the Haryana Agriculture Minister, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, who appreciated the efforts of the Horticulture Department in providing a platform to mango growers to publicise their varieties.

The winners of the various contests would be awarded at the concluding function tomorrow evening though the mango fest would begin in the morning. A cultural programme to mark the concluding function would also be organised.


Rain mars music show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
But for the incessant rain, the much-hyped Voltas Nex Gen show would surely have been a fair success, with performances from stars like Joshilay threesome, Channel V’s road show champion Madhukar Malhotra and Punjabi comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi.

While the timing of the show was 7.30 pm, it had not started at least till 8.45. p.m. The organisers, who had made arrangements of the programme at the main club, were seen struggling with rearrangements in the club area opposite Gate no 6 and 7, the visitors to the show were stranded just outside the gates, with the security not allowing them an entry.

The entry had been prevented in view of the incomplete arrangements with regard to lighting, sound and other technical systems. The crowd was, however, getting frustrated with each passing minute and many a time the people also attempted to gate crash. Inside, one could hear the announcements which requested the visitors to bear with the organisers, who had been caught unawares by the heavy rain today.

The sad part apart, the show had the very familiar group Joshilay from Delhi. In the compere’s seat was Channel V’s Madhukar Malhotra, who kept cracking jokes to keep the crowd in good humour. Then there were two Russian dancers, apart from the local disc jockeys who played some good music. Also present was the Punjabi comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi.Back


Rain affects Panchkula phones
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Heavy downpour today led to the snapping of the telecom link between certain parts of Panchkula to city.

According to information available, the 56,57 and 58 level telephones could not be connected from city. Similarly, subscribers alleged that 74 level telephones here could not be connected from Panchkula.

Harassed subscribers had a harrowing time connecting the telephones with the standard reply: “All lines to this route are busy please dial after some time” greeting them.

Meanwhile, the teleprinter lines of the news agencies, served through the Industrial Area telephone exchange of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), have been lying defective for the past five days putting the local newspapers to a lot of the inconvenience.

The seepage of water into the underground cables near the Tribune Chowk is stated to be the cause of the defective teleprinter lines. Careless digging by a private telecom company and non-filling up of the area up to the required level are stated to be the reasons behind the problem.Back


MC plans to tackle flooding of low-lying areas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Even as some parts of the city were submerged following today’s heavy downpour, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), is gearing up to make special arrangements to tackle possible flooding of low-lying areas.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the MC Chief Engineer Mr Manmohanjit Singh, said a control room had been set up at the water supply booth in Sector 15, which will start functioning round the clock from July 9. The staff on duty will attend emergency calls on phone no: 781156 and take appropriate measures. Besides, two portable diesel engines which have been procured will be immediately pressed into action to pump out water in those areas which face the problem of water logging due to incessant rains.

He further pointed out that special preventive measures will be taken to avoid flooding in Madrasi colony of Bapu Dham and Mauli Jagran colony, both of which by virtue of their location face a natural downward flow of water. For instance, the latter is surrounded on two sides by high roads and on one side by a railway line. The survey conducted by MC had earlier indicated that the vacant railway land contributes to the flooding in this area.

Further, special teams comprising the beat staff and beldars under the charge of junior engineer of the areas will do round-the-clock patrolling of their respective areas so as to take immediate action. In case of any major emergency, they shall report to the SDOs and Xens concerned. One of the portable engines will be fitted in Bapu Dham on a permanent basis, which is more prone to flooding due to rise in the level of Sukhna choe.The ready availability of the pump will ensure that the water does not accumulate near the Madrasi colony. The officials concerned have also been directed to clean the kerb channels on the side of the main road passing through Transport area, Sector 26 regularly so that the water flows without any hindrance and road gullies/drains built are able to tap rain water.

Special attention will also be paid to other low-lying slum areas in Dadu Majra, parking area near the Transport chowk, Mani Majra and the rehabilitation colony in Karsan. The staff has been asked to clear the silt and malba removed from the open drains so that it does not flow back into the nullah. Even in Ram Durbar, the kerb channels are to be cleaned regularly so that drain points are able to catch surface rain water.

Mr Singh disclosed that taking cognisance of the complaints pertaining to stagnation of water and flooding of low-lying areas, the storm water drainage system is being further augmented to take care of the problem pockets, besides strengthening the existing ones. The MC has in its last meeting of the Finance and Contract Committee passed proposals to the tune of Rs 43.15 lakh for providing storm water drainage ( SWD) systems, surface drains and storm water drainage lines in the trouble pockets. As per this, Rs 10.95 lakh has been passed for providing surface drains in rehabilitation colony of Maloya; another Rs 8.15 lakh for providing storm water drainage scheme from police station to old Mansa Devi Road, Mani Majra. Similarly, Rs 12.18 lakh and Rs 6.25 lakh will be spent on providing additional storm water drainage lines for Sector 15-C and the railway station road, whereas Rs 3.73 lakh has been passed for the storm water drain in rehabilitation colony, Khuda Lahora. The storm water drainage will also be strengthened on the slip roads on Madhya Marg, which are more prone to flooding.

Mr Singh attributed the flooding of certain areas in the city to choked and damaged road gullies. However, with the new design road gullies, the situation would improve. The old gullies made of reinforced concrete cement used to break easily, but now the ones made of cemocrete fibre are more effective.

According to figures available, an outlay of Rs 3 crore has been approved for storm water drainage in the ninth five year plan ( 1997-2001). Though the city has been provided with underground storm water drainage system, the existing drainage system is inadequate to take discharge due to heavy downpour. Sources revealed that the existing storm water drainage can sustain only half an inch of rainfall, with a retention period of half an hour, but the rain recorded in the city during monsoons is between one and a half to two inches, almost three times in excess. So, whenever it pours heavily for two-three hours, the water does not drain off. MC officials further revealed that the ground topography of the city is such that it slants from north to south-east and each sector from one round about to another has a level difference of 10 feet or more. This is another reason why rain water does not drain off for hours.

Special remedial measures will also be taken to ensure that water does not enter shops in various markets of the city whenever there is heavy downpour. The authorities in collaboration with the local Administration intend to take corrective measures to ensure that water does not inundate the basement of the Sector 19 Palika Bazar, as has been happening quite frequently in the past.

MC Commissioner, M.P Singh following an inspection of the city’s drainage system had recently directed the SE ( B and R ) and the XENs concerned to remove grass from the kerb channels on the roads.

It is pertinent to mention that the MCC had earlier laid a storm water trunk drain from the Press chowk to the N-choe area near the SAS barrier to check frequent water-logging and flooding from the Hotel South end area in Sector 35 and the residences behind it. Another trunk drain laid on the road dividing Sectors 24 and 25 and 37 and 38 has also proved successful as no incidence of flooding has taken place in the judges, houses. However, most other low-lying areas continue to remain flooded. 


Siau case: victims’ kin fear denial of justice
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 7
The fathers of the two children murdered in Siau village, near here, said today that they feared that political pressure might be exerted in the case leading to the denial of justice to them.

Addressing mediapersons this evening, Mr Dhani Ram and Mr Jarnail Singh, father of victims Vikram Preet (9) and Raman Preet (5), respectively, said political parties had organised a dharna in Ropar yesterday in connection with the murder case. 

They said they saw Meeha Singh, one of the brothers of the suspects in the murder case, sitting along with police personnel in a park near the dharna venue for more than four hours.

He was in judicial custody in a case relating to an attack on the mother of Mr Dhani Ram and Mr Jarnail Singh. He was sitting without handcuffs, they said.

The two fathers said they were satisfied so far with the police action in arresting the suspects in the murder case.

However, they also sought the arrest of Mr Kirandeep Singh Kang, a leader of the youth wing of the SAD, in connection with the murders. 

They threatened to go to court if the police failed to take action against Mr Kang.


Is Sukhna dying? Yes, say experts; no,
claims Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Is the pride of the City Beautiful, Sukhna Lake, dying? 
Yes, say the experts and the environmentalists unanimously. Not really, asserts the UT Administration, a trifle unconvincingly. But there is little doubt about the fact that the Sukhna Lake, a man-made reservoir created in 1958, has been silting up rapidly and that something needs to be done quickly.

The average annual rate of silting, based on a five-year data relating to the period 1988-92 works out to 6.484 lakh cubic metres. Over the years, the maximum depth of the lake has come down from 35 feet to just eight feet. Does it not clearly indicate that the Sukhna is slowly but surely dying? question the experts.

The UT Administration, on its part, asserts that it has been doing everything possible to reverse the silting up process of the lake. Lakhs of cubic metres of silt has been removed from the lake through voluntary manual labour and machinery. But there is a growing realisation in the Administration that desilting operations carried out over the years through shramdaan and removal of silt with the help of machinery have not achieved the desired results. The desilting operations have remained confined to a small portion opposite the spillway regular structure which has four decantation tanks. Even they are not cleared of silt properly.

In 1994, 55.46 lakh cubic feet (lcf) of silt was removed. In 1995, it was 40.26 lcf, 1996 — 35.74 lcf, 1997 — 40.60 lcf, 1998 — 18.60 lcf, 1999 — 19.65 lcf, 2000 — 28.60 lcf and 2001 — 31 lcf.

No desilting is carried out in the main body of the Sukhna Lake. As a result, the bed has been rising year after year. At one time, the bed of the lake was rising by one foot every year. But now, due to a series of measures taken by the Administration, including afforestation, construction of check dams and decantation tanks, it is officially claimed that the silting in the bed has come down to just three to four inches in a year.

However, the silt has already done serious damage to the lake. Its bed has already risen to El 1152 feet as against the maximum storage level of El 1160.

The lake came up in 1958. It then had a water spread at El 1160, the maximum storage level of the lake, of 228.7 hectares. The maximum depth of water was measured 35 feet in 1958. The total storage created for building the dam was 10.74 million cubic metres.

But the rapid rate of silting at the Sukhna lake buried the gates of the intake structure provided for making water releases from the dam. The structure stands today as an “observation tower” or “suicide point”. By 1991, the storage capacity came down from 3.5 million cubic metres and the average annual rate of silting worked out to be 64, 340 million cubic metres. The water spread at El.1160 has been reduced to 150 hectares.

This is what has forced the Administration to think in terms of undertaking wet-dredging of the lake. Some time ago, the the Engineering Department of the Administration floated a tender for wet-dredging of the lake and invited bids. Unfortunately, the tender was floated at a time when the Engineering Department was being rocked by one scam after the other. The Engineering Department, therefore, decided to soft-pedal the proposal lest it was misconstrued as yet another bid to make quick money by the unscrupulous in the department.

The proposal to undertake wet-dredging of the lake, even though a costly proposition, is regarded as necessary. 


Where is Major Walia ?
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Mystery continues to shroud the disappearance of Major Sudhneet Singh Walia, reportedly working with the military intelligence. Even after a lapse of nine years, the police has failed to trace him. Though a case of abduction was registered on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court under Section 365 of the Indian Penal Code on February 19, 1999, at a police station in SAS Nagar, his whereabouts are yet to be ascertained.

In an attempt to solve the mystery, Mr Justice V.M. Jain of the High Court, while taking up a petition seeking a CBI probe into the disappearance, has now directed Ropar’s Senior Superintendent of Police to be present in the court with the relevant files, along with the Investigating Officer, on July 18. Pronouncing the directions, the Judge observed that the investigations had failed to make any headway.

In his petition before the High Court, Major Walia’s father, Dr Tarlochan Singh of Batala in Gurdaspur district, had earlier claimed that his son had unofficially been asked to work for the intelligence wing after his pre-mature retirement from service. “He was often sent on secret missions by the intelligence wing and used to remain away from the family,” Dr Tarlochan Singh had stated.

He added that on May 26, 1992, the Major had informed them about his proposed visit to Bangkok on an official mission. He was to contact the Army authorities on the evening of May 28, 1992, for collecting his baggage and other documents for the mission, but had failed to turn up at the appointed hour, the petitioner had asserted.

Going into the background, Dr Tarlochan Singh had stated that Major Walia had instructed them to contact Colonel S.T. Manimala in case of any problem.

The Colonel had initially assured them of his early return but later, in an affidavit, had denied that the victim was ever working under his supervision, the petitioner had stated. Colonel Manimala, now a Major General, is currently Commandant of the Military Intelligence School and Depot at Pune.

Claiming to have forwarded a representation to the country’s Prime Minister, besides contacting the Army authorities several times, Dr Tarlochan Singh had concluded that they were still clueless about his whereabouts. 


Court orders winding up of PMCL
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Mr Justice R.L. Anand in a petition moved by Titan Industries ordered the winding up of Punwire Mobile Communication Limited and appointed an official liquidator to take over the company. Earlier, by orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dated March 1, 2001, the official liquidator was appointed provisional liquidator to forthwith take charge of all the properties and assets of Punwire Mobile Communication Limited during the pendency of the winding up proceedings pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had been ordered to be admitted and advertised according to law.

Mr Anil Malhotra and Mr Ranjit Malhotra, counsel for Titan Industries Limited contended that cheques worth Rs. 43 lakh issued by Punwire Mobile Communication to Titan Industries had been dishonoured and the admitted liability accruing interest remained undischarged till date. The watches so purchased from Titan Industries were given away by Punwire in consumer offers to new paging subscribers and the proceeds received were not reimbursed to Titan Industries despite repeated reminders and consistent follow up and there was no hope of any payment.

In response to the winding up petition earlier moved by Titan Industries, despite being duly served and having sought seven adjournments from March, 2000, onwards, Punwire Mobile had neither settled the claim nor furnished a formal written reply in court to contest, deny or rebut the claim made. In respect of the main company — Punjab Wireless Systems Limited — in view of the mounting losses and absolutely no possibility for revival, the High Court had already appointed the official liquidator to take over the company which had been finally ordered to be wound up on February 1, 2001.

By earlier orders dated March 1, 2001, the court had observed that Punwire Mobile was not in an effective position to discharge its debts. The court had however permitted Punwire Mobile to file an effective reply on or before July 6, 2001 to oppose the winding up orders and affirm that it was in a position of profitability and that it should not be wound up. Regardless of the same and despite advertisement of the petition in two newspapers and the Punjab Government gazette, no creditor, contibutory or other person appeared or objected to the proposed winding up.

The High Court by earlier orders dated March 1, 2001, had appointed the official liquidator as provisional liquidator of Punwire Mobile with directions to provide effective management to run the company and to ascertain the profitability and ability/inability of the company to discharge its detbs.

The official liquidator filed a compliance report dated July 6, 2001, in court stating that of the 135 branches of Punwire Mobile all over India in nine states providing pagers and paging systems, only 55 were operational and that with their present income, the company would not be able to make payment of even the interest liability accruing on secured and unsecured loans reported to be Rs 130 crore. It was further reported that Punwire Mobile was not having sufficient funds even to pay the licence fee to the Department of Telecommunications which at present was stated to be to the tune of Rs. 58.62 crore. The official liquidator further stated that the company’s Directors, top employees and administrative heads at the Centre had already left the services of Punwire Mobile and therefore the company could not be run. Thus, the official liquidator reported the conclusion that he had no sufficient ground to oppose the present winding up petition.

The court there upon ordered that in view of no effective written statement having been filed to contest the petition and keeping in view the report of the official liquidator, Punwire Mobile Communication Limited be finally wound up. 


Dhawan prepares to ‘leave’ Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Mr Harmohan Dhawan, a member of the All-India Congress Committee and a former Union Minister, launched a sharp attack today on the Congress leadership, including the party chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, indicating that he was preparing to leave the party.

“It was a mistake on my part to join the Congress”, said Mr Dhawan at a press conference here. He said he had already received a show-cause notice and, in politics, such notices were served before expulsions. “I am neither seeking a review nor should my letter be considered a mercy petition because I am convinced that persons like me have no place in the Congress of today”, he has said in a letter addressed to Ms Sonia Gandhi, in reply to the show-cause notice, which was shown to the Press here today.

Mr Dhawan said he and his colleagues had been, to a large extent, responsible for the victory of the Congress candidate, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, in the Lok Sabha elections here when the Congress had lost everywhere in Haryana, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, including Shimla, where it had never lost since Independence.

The letter says, “I know that my expulsion from the Congress is a foregone conclusion. However, I should like to tell you that the kind of persons that are you today want only to exploit you. Their self-interests are more important to them than the party. These persons have neither won nor contested any election to even a gram panchayat. All of them, somehow, want to remain members of the Rajya Sabha”.


A tasteless dream
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Rani Mukherjee and Abhishek Bachchan in ‘Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai’ Chandigarh
‘Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai’ (Nirman), an average presentation, which will do little to boost the career of Abhishek Bachchan.

The story about a simple man’s ‘dreams and aspirations’ fails to make an impact. Jackie Shroff , in a negative role, also fails, and so does the musical score.

The film is about desires of Abhishek Bachchan and his ‘tumultuous journey to achieve them’. He wants to achieve ‘all’ that he sees in Jackie Shroff, a media baron. On the path to success Abhishek changes stances.

Fellow travellers are Rani Mukherjee whom he loves and Sushmita Sen who lends a helping hand. Sushmita fills the bill of a glamdoll.

Success continues till Abhishek’s conscience sleeps, it slips away as it wakes up.

Gulshan Grover has given an appreciable performance. Also featuring in the film are Sharad Saxena and Smita Behl. Produced by Ramesh Behl ‘Bas Itna Sa Khwab Hai’ is directed by Goldie Behl. Aadesh Srivastava has given the music to the lyrics by Goldie Behl, Nida Fazli, Dev Kohli, Mona Alvi and Shyam Raj.

The script is of a typical ‘masala’ film — love, politics, friendship, family, street fights etc.


A piece of tame horror
Rajiv Kaplish

Brendan Fraser in ‘The Mummy Returns’.Chandigarh
Hollywood has a passion for the cemetery. Corpses springing back to life from graves, skeletons tumbling out of closets and vampires with blood dripping from their fangs have been the staple of countless eerie blockbusters. “The Exorcist” gave a new definition to horror. “Omen” was an odyssey of terror you could never forget. The “Dracula” series was an extraordinary adrenalin rush.

“The Mummy Returns” (Kiran), however, proves how tame horror can be. As director Stephen Sommers who tasted blood with the unprecedented success of “The Mummy” in 1999 moves in for the kill again, you too return to a world of farcical sequences.

Adventurer Rick O’ Connell (Brendan Fraser) is on an excursion to Egypt with archaeologist wife Evie (Rachel Weisz) and eight-year-old son Alex (Freddie Boath) who uncovers the Bracelet of Anubis — an eye-catching bangle with mysterious powers. They return home to London where the remains of Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) are on display in the British Museum. Soon, Imhotep is resurrected and his forces descend on the O’Connells, and kidnap their son who has the bracelet. Rick and Evie pursue them back to Egypt where yet another supernatural power, the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson, a. k. a. The Rock of WWF fame), waits to be unleashed.

Propelled by regular doses of a shootout, a car chase and a sword fight, the vehicle leaps from one misadventure to another. We have a mummys’ underworld (till now we had the Mumbai underworld and the Italian mafia) whose spooky members arouse laughter instead of fear. The London-based archaeologist, it turns out, is the reincarnated daughter of a slain Egyptian King. If you still think the film fails to scale new heights of stupidity, the director throws in a pigeon who carries messages across the border, a la “Kabootar Jaa Ja”.

Brendan Fraser who had a broken rib, a crushed disc and a blown-out knee during the filming is not called upon to act. He is only required to show muscle and steel which he does in ample measure. WWF star, The Rock, who suffered a heat stroke during the shooting, makes a howling and shrieking debut as the Sorpion King.

Rachel Weisz walks trance-like through the film. She is busy either remembering her previous birth or having sword fights with Imhotep’s mummy bride (Patricia Velasquez).

Arnold Vosloo with rippling muscles looks more like a wrestler than a warrior. Freedie Boath, the eight-year-old son of Fraser, however, does provide some comic relief. An army of pygmy skeletons is another highlight of the film.

Shot extensively in Morocco, Jordan and England, the film with an awesome (or, should we say gruesome) array of special effects provided by Industrial Light and Magic makes an attempt to deliver at the spectacle level but in the process gets reduced to a caricature.Back


MQM chief-in-exile to visit India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The MQM chief, Mr Altaf Hussain, currently in exile in London, will visit India soon, reports reaching here said today.

Reports said during his visit to India, Mr Altaf Hussain would visit Agra, his birh place. The purpose of the visit, the reports said, was to apprise Muslims of the plight of those who had migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and thereafter. The way for Mr Altaf Hussain’s visit to India was cleared by an MQM delegation which had come to India towards the end of last year.


Panel hails MCC efforts to keep city clean
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Members of the Chandigarh Social Reformation and Development Foundation have hailed the efforts by the Medical Officer Health of the Municipal Corporation to keep the city clean.

A statement issued here yesterday said that it was probably for the first time that the Health Department had shown so much concern about the sanitation in the city as well as the health of the cleanliness staff.

The statement added that inspite of being exposed to modern lifestyle, the residents still basically retained primitive habits of spitting, urinating in public and throwing garbage in the open.

The committee has also suggested the formation of sector-level sanitary committees to maintain and improve the state of cleanliness in the city.


Gone are the easy days
Tribune News Service

His hand gently rotates the computer mouse on the pad as Branch Manager Deepak Jotshi sits before the monitor in his Sector 8 office trying to finish the day’s work. Glancing at the clock on the wall, he gets perturbed. Eight o’clock, and still there is so much to do. “When will I be able to reach the neighbour’s birthday party?” he mutters.

He draws a deep breath and continues to key in the information, but cannot help recalling the days when life was easy for all.

“In the late 80’s, or even the early 90’s, the situation was not so bad,” says Deepak. “After a hard day’s work, we would leave the office at five. For 10 or 15 minutes, we would stand in front of the office, and crack jokes”.

On weekends, there were get-togethers, almost always. “If we were not munching pizzas or burgers in a fast food joint, we would be in a nice pub, cheerfully sipping the cool golden elixir,” he remembers. “We would discuss everything under the sun, everything except work. The get-togethers would usually continue till late in the night. We would leave the place contented, all set to face the not-so-competitive world in the coming week”.

When did the things change? Deepak does not know for certain. “All of a sudden in the mid-90’s, the work environment changed drastically”, he asserts. “Pressures increased as cut-throat competition took all of us in its grip. More and more people started selling the same product. For many of them honesty was not the best policy. They started making false commitments to their customers”.

Even the expectations increased. “Each one of us in the industry is now supposed to sell more in less time,” he claims. “Growth is there, but the expectations of the company are even higher. From 9 am to 8 pm you work every day, trying to meet the ever increasing, always out-of-reach, targets”. In the process, caring and considerate friends have disappeared. “They have been replaced by colleagues,” says Deepak. “We have contemporaries who have no time for one another. You go to the office and they will say hello only if time permits. Otherwise, they will remain busy on their computers. Beyond the office, there is no interaction. You do not even know whether the person is single, or lives with his family”.

The weekend parties have vanished. “There is neither time nor inclination for merriment”, Deepak asserts. “At the most, the executives today have official get-togethers where dealers and targets are the only subjects of discussion”. He concludes, “In the days that are gone, and will, perhaps, never come back, selling even a single machine was an achievement and everyone in the office used to be happy for you. Today, procuring a bulk order is no cause for celebration. And, believe me, no one appreciates it”. Back


Harmony of Yin and Yang

The basic element of Jeng is balance. This balance is related to the complementarity of opposites expressed in terms of the Yin and Yang.

According to the Chinese, all things in the universe are either the female Yin or the male Yang. Yin and Yang together make up the wholeness of the universe. This universe means not only the earth but also heaven.

Yin and Yang mingle into each other. Without the Yin of darkness, there cannot be the light of Yang. It is known that with the cold temperature of Yin, there cannot possibly be Yang, and vice versa.

So when there is a balance between Yin and Yang, the wholeness of the universe is represented. This practice — and the balance of Yin and Yang — is done in one’s home also.

Rooms should have a balance of sunlight and shade. Yin rooms are not auspicious because life energies, being prosperity, are insufficient.

Likewise, if rooms are too Yang, there is too much energy, causing accidents and losses. I suggest that if you want prosperity, health, wellbeing and happiness, have a good balance of Yin and Yang in your home.


Address your Feng Shui queries to:
E-mail: [email protected]
Postal address: C/o F.S. TIPS
The Tribune, Sector-29, Chandigarh-160020.Back


IYC poll kicks off on July 16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The election process of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) will begin on July 16. The IYC president, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, has appointed observers for all state units to collect the necessary information. The IYC observer for Chandigarh, Mr Dinesh Kumar, visited the city today and interacted with the party leaders here.

According to a press note issued here today, a meeting of the national executive bodies and the state chiefs of the party will be held in New Delhi on July 16, where membership forms will be given to the state heads of the party.

Besides, a countrywide membership drive will also be launched on the occasion.

The elections to the unit committtees will be held from September 15 to 21, while the elections to the panchayat-level committees will be held from September 22 to 30. The elections to the block committees will be held from October 1 to 15.


Baby found abandoned
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 7
An infant girl was found abandoned in front of the premises of a trust in Palsora village, near here. The baby was later sent to the local centre of the trust.

It is reported that the seven-day-old infant was abandoned in front of Guru Asra Trust in the village. Three sets of clothes and Rs 20 were also found near the infant by inmates of the trust premises. Mr Kanwar Pal Singh Dhami of the trust and his wife are now looking after the baby. They said they planned to adopt the bady and had already named her Amrit Kaur.

BSNL’s punishment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
A subscriber reported strange harassment by BSNL on Saturday night. The telephone number 605841, was “partially dead”, mentioning occasionally “the information” that the connection had been cut “ due to non-payment of dues”.

The latest bill was paid on June 7; the authorities were shown the receipt. Saturday was a “holiday”. Sunday will be another holiday. BSNL’s reputation and the subscriber’s health are in jeopardy. But “there was and is no help”, adds the subscriber.Back


2 injured in collision
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 7
Two persons were seriously injured in a collision involving a Jeep and a tractor-trailer on the Zirakpur-Panchkula highway near Sector 21 here late last night.

Sources said that Gopal and his companion, Sandeep sustained severe injuries and were rushed to the General Hospital in Sector 6. Gopal broke his leg while Sandeep sustained head injuries.

The duo were travelling in the Jeep (PB-11-3115) when the vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer (PB-03A-1395).

The collision was so forceful that the Jeep overturned after the collision.

Shopkeepers and other passersby rescued the injured. A case has been registered. 

Shivalinga & Shravana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
In his discourse in a Sector 30-A Temple, Pandit Shayam Sundar explained the importance of “Shiv Poojan” in the current month. He highlighted Shravana’s worshipful tradition.


Man abducts sister-in-law
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 7
A 21-year-old youth is alleged to have abducted his own sister-in-law, three nieces and one nephew in order to settle score with his brother.

A mason, Mr Naib Singh (38), a resident of Burail, has alleged that his brother Ramesh abducted his 36-year-old wife Laboo and four kids Billa (8), Kala (6), Sapna (3) and Laddi (2). Naib Singh, father of nine children, alleged that his brother abducted his family members on May 24. A complaint was lodged in on July 4.

Niab Singh said that on the day of abduction, he had gone out for work. He said, “When I returned home, my eldest daughter Manju told me that her mother and other kids had gone somewhere with Ramesh”. When asked why he took so long to approach the police, Naib Singh said, “This was a family matter and I was hopeful that my brother will return with my wife and kids”.

He said for the first few days he was under the impression that his wife had gone with his brother because of a “certain dispute”. “After about 20 days Ramesh made a phone call to one of my acquaintances and said that my wife and kids were in his custody,” said Naib Singh. Ramesh is a carpenter by profession.

According to Naib Singh, Ramesh’s marriage was fixed to a Ambala-based girl but he did not want to marry the girl. Mr Naib said, ‘‘When he refused to marry the girl, I asked him to get out of the house and he started living in a separate room in Burail’’.

According to Naib Singh, his brother wanted to avenge the separation. “He had once threatened my wife that he would ruin my family”, claims Naib Singh. He claimed that his wife had no illicit relationships with his brother.

Naib Singh said that he had searched at all possible places where his brother could have taken his family.

Naib Singh said that he did not want any police action against his brother. ‘‘I only want that my family returns to me”, said Naib Singh. Back


Octroi clerk killed, 2 hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, July 7
An octroi collecting clerk died and his two colleagues were seriously injured when a speeding truck hit the Gypsy from behind in which they were travelling on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, near Singhpura Bhudda village, here today.

Parwinder Singh, a resident of Banur, died on the spot while Dilbagh Singh and Deep Singh were rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 and the PGI in Chandigarh in a critical condition, respectively.

According to sources the trio were accompanying an inspection team which was inspecting all octroi posts of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat. The victims were on octroi post No. 3 and signalled a truck which was evading rahdari.

The driver allegedly tried to flee from the spot but the trio chased him for a long distance. They stopped their Gypsy (PB0-11Q-4218) before the truck. Without caring for the vehicle parked on the road, the truck driver rammed into the Gypsy which led to the death of Parwinder Singh and injured Dilbagh Singh of Sarseeni village and Deep Singh of Singhpura village.

The truck driver has absconded and a case has been registered with the Lohgarh police post.


Bharelie firing: another man dies
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 7
Mr Gurdev Singh another victim of the Bharelie village firing victim, succumbed to his bullet injuries at his resident after he was discharged by the PGI authorities on Wednesday.

His family members said Gurdev complained of chest pain and his condition started deteriorating. He was rushed to the General Hospital in Sector 6 where he breathed his last.

Another victim of the firing incident, Mr Amar Singh, had also succumbed to his injuries in the PGI in Chandigarh on June 2. It may be recalled that three victims - Gurdev Singh, Amar Singh and Nirmala Devi - of the firing incident in Bharelie village near Barwala were seriously injured and were admitted in the PGI with bullet injuries. 


Scooterist hit by van
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 7
A scooterist, Mukul, resident of Pabhat village (Ropar), was injured after he was hit by a Maruti van near traffic light points of Sectors 20 and 30 here yesterday. He was admitted to the PGI.

The driver of the van, Karan, a resident of Naya Gaon village (Kharar), was arrested and later released on bail. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the Indian Penal Code was registered.

The local police has arrested Sanay Khan, a resident of Indira Colony, on a complaint of Ms Laxmi Devi, a resident of the same colony. The complainant had alleged that Sanjay and others assaulted and threatened Ms Raj Wanti and her daughter Meena. The mother and daughter reportedly sustained injuries. A case under Sections 147, 148, 323 and 506 of the IPC was registered.

The local police arrested Vijay Kumar, a resident of Nepal, for stealing a wristwatch from the residence of Mr Lal Chand, a Sector 16 resident, here on Friday. The accused was reportedly caught red handed.

A case under Sections 457, 380 and 411 of the IPC was registered.

Mr R.S. Kanwar, a resident of Sector 29, reported with the police that his house was burgled on Friday. The thieves reportedly took away gold and silver ornaments worth Rs 7,000. A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC was registered.

Four held
The police has arrested four persons under the Excise Act and claimed to have recovered 72 bottles and 131 pouches of liquor from their possession. Those arrested were Ashwani Mehra (Naya Gaon village), Sohan Singh (Patiala), Rahul (Dadu Majra Colony) and Amrik Singh (Maloya Colony).


Market Pulse
Seminar on ‘Companies Act Amendment’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The new Companies Amendment Act 2000 lays thrust on investor protection, corporate governance and deterrence punishment, said Mr D C Kwatra, Registrar of Companies, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. He was addressing a seminar on “Companies Act Amendment and newly issued Accounting Standards” organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) here today.

Mr Kwatra, who was the chief guest, spoke on the amendments in the new Act which officially came into force from December 14, 2000 . Important changes have been made in provisions relating to minimum authorised and paid-up capital of private as well as public limited companies, acceptance of deposits, shifting of the registered office etc.

A private company can now accept deposits only from the directors and their relatives and members and there will be no deemed public limited companies from now as per the new amendments.

Mr Amarjit Chopra, Central Council member of the ICAI, discussed the amendments in Companies Act with special emphasis on corporate governance and institute’s accounting standards for reporting requirements for true and fair view of the balance sheets.

Accounting Standards specified by the ICAI would play a significant role in better corporate governance, reliability and uniform disclosures, he said. To encourage the principles of corporate governance, the Board of Directors of the companies are also required to include a director’s responsibility statement in their report, stating that the accounting standards have been followed, said he.

Others who spoke on the occasion were Mr S.P. Babuta, Vice-Chairman, Chandigarh Branch, ICAI, Mr Baldev K. Garg, Chairman, and Dr P.T. Giridharan, Deputy Director Board of Studies, ICAI, India. 


Cashing in on lost keys
Nishikant Dwivedi

Her intense eyes look around apprehensively for the lost scooter keys. Nisha, a Panjab University student, does not know what to do. How will she get back home? As she stands nonplussed, a youngster in a dirty kurta and crumpled pyjamas riding a rickety cycle comes to her rescue. Within minutes, she has a duplicate key.

This can happen to anyone, and to solve such problems, there are a number of roadside key-makers in the city who are making a living, cashing in on such situations. Interestingly, they are doing good business. Their customers are not only vehicle drives who have lost their keys, but also people who lose the keys of their doors or lockers. People also approach them for making extra keys. These key-makers are also sought after by those who want to install inter-locks on their doors.

With the advancement in technology, the roadside key-makers have also gone hi-tech. They have procured machines which can make duplicates of original keys. People go to them for getting duplicate keys of their locks. And it comes at an affordable price. One has to pay just between Rs 50 and Rs 100 for a duplicate of the original. And you could not tell the duplicate from the original.

The price of the job depends upon the type of the lock and, of course, the customer. If the customer happens to be rich, they will charge more. And what if one losses the key of one’s locker or door? In that case, one has to pay extra.

There are also key-makers who provide their services on your doorstep. They move around on cycles. But the problem is that you may not find them when you need them. In an emergency, one has to rush to a regular roadside key-maker.

These key-makers can be spotted in certain city markets including Sector 15, 19 and 22, and they can be recognised easily. They sit on the roadside with their tools which include pliers, screw-drivers and a heap of old keys. A key-maker said that he bought old keys from scrap dealers. Apart from making keys, they also sharpen knives and scissors etc. But their main business is making duplicate keys. They also repair locks. some also sell new hand-made locks but these are priced higher than the common locks sold in the market. A key-maker claimed that these locks are stronger and safer than the normal ones.Back


Mechanics hold rally
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 7
Hundreds of members of the Auto Mechanics Federation held a massive rally in Sector 21 here today. They observed a half-day tool-down strike and burnt an effigy of the Chandigarh Administration.

The President of the federation, Mr Mohinder Singh Kadion, said, though some members of the federation were on a fast-unto-death for the past 11 days, the authorities had not done anything to solve their problem.


Plea to abolish octroi
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 6
Mr Vinod Bhushan Jain, member, Punjab Pharmacy Council, and a patron of the Ropar District Association, has demanded that the Punjab Government should abolish octroi in the state as was promised by the SAD-BJP combine in its election manifesto.

Mr Jain said that resentment prevails among traders of Punjab because of octroi. He said although there was no octroi in Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana, the Punjab Government was not abolishing this in the state. The traders should change the mode of recovery and octroi should be merged in sales tax and exise on power supply. He said that excess staff of the municipal committees could be deployed on other works of the committees.

Mr Jain said the Punjab Government should exempt life-saving drugs from all types of taxes. He said that, at present, about 30 per cent of the sale price of medicines goes in the shape of various taxes.



WEBSITE: Cinegoers in Chandigarh will soon have the comfort of booking their cinema tickets sitting at home. Batra Theatre in association with Emmtel Internet Service is set to launch a website Customers will be required to become a member of batracineplex club by paying a fee and will be issued a membership card, which will enable them to make their bookings on the net. — TNS

LAUNCHED: Double Diamond strong tea, the flagship brand of Duncans Industries Limited, was launched in Chandigarh with a new look and flavour, according to a press release of the company. — TNS

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |